Nicole's big panic room

Who will loosen Kidman's corset when she panics at the Oscars? Elton gets nasty; Jolie on going to bush; Bono on going to Bush. Plus: Hasselhoff dusts off K.I.T.T.

By Amy Reiter

Published March 20, 2002 11:14PM (EST)

If you notice a strange look on Nicole Kidman's face at the Oscars on Sunday, it could be that she's stopped breathing.

Kidman has just admitted to Vogue that she has a fear of red carpets. Or rather, the ravenous crowds of photographers, journalists and fans surrounding them.

"I panic in front of all the cameras," Kidman says. "My hands start shaking and I have trouble breathing."

In the olden days, she could always lean on husband Tom Cruise, sometimes literally.

"Tom would always whisper to me that everything was all right," she tells the magazine.

And since the split, she's found comfort in other places. At the Cannes Film Festival, for instance, when she was attending the "Moulin Rouge" premiere, her sister Antonia stepped up to the panic-dispelling plate.

"I came out of the cinema and I was wearing this Yves Saint Laurent corset dress. Suddenly there were all these people bearing down on me and lots of lights. I was so panicked I just couldn't breathe," she recalls. "I heard myself say, 'I need my sister, I need my sister.' Suddenly, there she was -- right in front of me, looking into my eyes.

"She took my hand, turned me around and led me back inside to the ladies' loo. There she undid my corset, took off my shoes, held me in her arms and told me that everything was going to be OK.

"So I got up, got dressed and got out there. Tom was always so good at that kind of thing."

It may comfort her to know that, though he won't be by her side at the Oscars and will instead have Penelope Cruz on his arm, Cruise has sent word through his representative that he'll still be sending words of encouragement her way.

"He'll be up onstage, and he'll be cheering for Nicole to win the Best Actress Oscar," Cruise's rep told the press.

But I think she might have to find someone else to undo her corset ...

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Elton gets nasty

"A heterosexual husband."

-- Elton John on the perfect wedding present for Liza Minnelli, who just married David Gest, in the New York Post.

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Now what will her brother do for a date?

Here's hoping Kidman isn't so nervous she has an Angelina Jolie "I love my sister so much right now" moment.

Jolie, for her part, will be far from the red carpet madness this year -- hanging out with her new adopted son in Africa, where she's filming a movie.

"I don't have to put a dress on; I'm not going to be putting on any make-up, walking down the red carpet," she tells the World Entertainment News Network. "I'm going to be in the middle of Africa -- watching giraffes run across the field -- and couldn't be happier."

We're not too broken up about it either.

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Well, he already lunched with Jesse Helms ...

"I said I'd have lunch with Satan if there was so much at stake."

-- Bono on his response to the Edge's objection to his recent tête-à-tête with President Bush to discuss efforts to relieve poverty and disease throughout the world, in the Scottish Daily Record.

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Juicy bits

Quality programming for the big screen No 1: A remake of "Barbarella" starring Drew Barrymore in the Jane Fonda role. Barrymore is currently developing the script with John August, who wrote "Charlie's Angels" the movie. "It's going to be light, but it's got to have some depth," Barrymore tells "We like to balance it."

Quality programming for the big screen No. 2: "Knight Rider," the movie. David Hasselhoff has told Variety he's planning to make good on his threats to bring K.I.T.T., the talking car, to theater audiences everywhere ... and soon. Hasselhoff will serve as the film's executive producer, but, mercifully, he's decided not to star in it.

Still, "Barbarella" and "Knight Rider"? Will someone please loosen my corset?

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Miss something? Read yesterday's Nothing Personal.

Amy Reiter

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