He was never really a contender

Vince Vaughn spills all about the mysterious brawl; Britney gets grabby with Madonna; Keri Russell denies Red Hot love; and Cruz blubbers about Cruise!

Published October 25, 2001 4:54PM (EDT)

Remember that bar fight Vince Vaughn and Steve Buscemi got into down in North Carolina while they were shooting "Domestic Disturbance" a few months back? Vaughn was jailed. Buscemi was stabbed. There were reports that Vaughn had tried to steal someone's girl ...

Well, Vaughn will have you know that the whole brouhaha was blown way, way-hay-hay out of proportion. And now that the fellow they tangled with has landed in the clink, the actor feels it's time to make a clean breast of it.

"It's really nice that the truth can finally come out," Vaughn tells the Toronto Sun. "We were asked by the prosecutors not to talk while they were trying this kid for what he did. But justice has been served and he's doing time. It came out that he was medicated and drinking and threatening different groups of people that night."

OK? So don't go blaming the "Psycho"/"Swingers" star.

"These entertainment shows need to produce a story," Vaughn says. "And the only ones talking were kids looking to spin it their way."

And as for those reports that he tried to hit on someone else's bunny? "It was never true."

Case closed.

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When Britney met Madonna

"So I walked in -- I'm so embarrassed at what I said, I'm such a retard -- and I said, 'I feel like I should hug you.' Afterwards I was like, 'Why did I say that?' She probably thinks I'm the biggest dork in the world."

-- Britney Spears on the wave of nerves that hit her when she was introduced to Madonna and her mortifying request for a Material embrace, in the U.K.'s Star magazine.

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Innocent dippers

Vaughn isn't the only one who's in the mood to clear up pesky misconceptions perpetrated by the press. Keri Russell is, too.

The "Felicity" star says all that nudging and winking that accompanied reports that she and Anthony Kiedis, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, were rescued off the San Diego coast last summer was completely uncalled for. Not only are she and Kiedis not an item, she says, they weren't even in that much distress.

"There was no drowning. I'm actually a fabulous swimmer," Russell tells TV Guide Online. True, a lifeguard did help them escape a riptide, but the actress insists that she absolutely, positively "could have swam back in" on her own.

What's more, she says, she and Kiedis were with a whole group of people at the time. "He was just a friend of someone who was there," she says. "He's not my friend ... I think he has a girlfriend."

Got that?

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It's just a jump to the left

"There's not much difference between the characters in the show and the characters on my show."

-- Jerry Springer on making his Broadway debut as the narrator in "The Rocky Horror Show," a role he's taking over from Dick Cavett.

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Cruz on Cruise

Just in case this messy divorce business and flash of litigiousness has led you to conclude that Tom Cruise isn't such a sweetheart, Penelope Cruz would like to say a few words on her boyfriend's behalf.

"Tom is one of the most generous people I know. He has an enormous heart, is very intelligent and has a great sense of humor," the actress tells the British magazine Hello. "One thing he has never lost sight of is his humility. In fact, he lives to help others."

Unless he happens to have been married to those others, of course.

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Miss something? Read yesterday's Nothing Personal.

By Amy Reiter

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Celebrity Tom Cruise