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Penélope Cruz seems to have developed a bad taste of red carpetitis. She keeps telling her friends that those bloody walkways make her so nervous she’s threatening not to go to the Oscars. Oh no, not that!

The Spanish beauty also says that she can’t stand seeing herself on the big screen — and that goes for pictures of any kind, too. Her Valentine, Tom Cruise, is just the opposite. Once he hits the red carpet he comes alive. At the London premiere of his most recent movie “The Last Samurai,” the couple arrived together but although Penélope looked stunning in a red Valentino gown she ducked out of the spotlight and into the theater like a disturbed gazelle. Tom, on the other hand, stayed on the red carpet for almost two hours entertaining fans, signing autographs and posing for every camera in sight. He did the same thing when the movie opened in Madrid.

This story first appeared in the February 13, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Penélope is going ahead with the excruciating task of picking the right gown and jewelry to wear on the big Academy Awards’ night, but will she sneak in a back door while Tom winds up hitting the carpet with his mom? I can wait if you can.

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Speaking of Valentines, over New York Fashion Week, Jade Jagger has rekindled her romance with an ex-boyfriend, music producer Pharrell Williams. They had a short affair of the heart last year at exactly this time but of course it was too hot not to cool down. When they broke up Jade picked up where she had left off with her then-former boyfriend, musician Dan Williams. She and Dan have been together for 10 months this time around after a two-year run the first time.

Jade and Pharrell are having such a nice time together in Manhattan. According to pals, they spent an entire day this week at his penthouse suite at the Four Seasons Hotel with the do-not-disturb sign on the door and you know what a nice time that is. What will Dan think of all this — well, who cares? Apparently not Jade, who has made it clear she thinks monogamy is for swans.

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Samantha Morton, nominated for an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actress category in 1999, has been nominated again this year in the Best Actress category for her role as the quiet and introspective Sarah in “In America.” Samantha shoots from the hip and this might cause her a little trouble at a celebrity party or two at Oscar time. She’s been quoted saying of Elizabeth Hurley, “She’s not an actress. I wouldn’t think she’d do street theater in Poland, would you?” Next she takes on Madonna saying, “Madonna is good at seeing what’s happening and then snatching it.” Samantha also says that a lot of people she’s met just want to be famous and they don’t care how they do it. She calls it “death by association.” Ms. Morton better learn to bob and weave fast.

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Fergie, Duchess of York, wants to live in New York. She has her friends and agents looking for the perfect place for her in the city. Ben Elliot, Camilla Parker Bowles’ nephew, is hand-carrying back to London the plans of a spectacular three-bedroom, eight-room penthouse with stunning views of Central Park at One Beacon Court on East 58th Street. Cesar Pelli designed the shimmering tower with floor plans, kitchens and bathrooms by the renowned French interior designer Jacques Range. Ben’s company, Quintessentially, will be providing the concierge services. Fergie would like to be an actress, which she thinks is a “genuinely good idea.” She says she would consider TV acting because “film may be a bit ambitious.” Really? If her acting career does not take off, the Duchess has plan B in the works. She’s thinking over an offer to become a television advice columnist, which is particularly good news for all those hundreds of thousands having mother-in-law problems with queens.

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After living together for five years, Gerard Depardieu and the beautiful French actress, Carole Bouquet, are no longer together. Depardieu, never at a loss for women, is now dating the famous French actress Fanny Ardant. This all started when they made the movie “Nathalie,” although they had been in several movies together before that. It took a little while for them to heat up.

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Proof that true love never dies is at the Art Dealers Association of America’s annual art show, opening to the public on Thursday at the Park Avenue Armory. There will be two rare portraits on view that have given even romance skeptics something to toast about this Valentine’s Day. Self-portraits, by the famous lovers Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera commissioned separately the year they divorced after knocking each other around for years, will be on view at the booth of Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art. That is, until they disappear into the home of the next lucky private collector to buy them.

Another offering at this year’s art show is a rare Winslow Homer called “Flirting on the Sea Shore,” depicting two lovers having a moonlight picnic, a painting that for the last 125 years was presumed lost. Die-hard romantics will have to get in line to see this found work at the Kennedy Galleries booth.

These paintings and many more will be previewed at the Art Show’s Gala to benefit the Henry Street Settlement on Feb. 18. The chairmen of the gala are Agnes Gund and Kitty Carlisle Hart and among the expected guests are Karenna Gore Schiff and Drew Schiff, Veronica Hearst, Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis and hordes of others just like them.

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The American Academy in Rome’s annual dinner will take place on March 30 at Cipriani 42nd Street, with cocktails at 7:30 and dinner at 8:15. As always, the beautiful and fun occasion will be chaired by Mercedes and Sid Bass. This year, the American Academy will honor a brilliant individual, a unique institution, and an exceptional American corporation. The brilliant individual is Michael Graves, the distinguished architect who will be saluted for his creativity in product design, interior design and the decorative arts. The unique institution is the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, which holds some of the greatest-designed artifacts ever produced by mankind. The exceptional American corporation is Tiffany & Co., which is being recognized as the great American originator of design that has influenced artists and craftsmen all over the world. It’s hard to see how the American Academy could have made more brilliant choices.

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