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No Beating Around the Bush * Charlize Cracks Wise * J. Lo the Homecoming Queen?

Thursday in Houston, Neil Bush and his estranged wife, Sharon, met at their lawyer’s office for what they call in Texas, “mediations.” During a six-hour session, they hammered out the settlement and divorce. Sharon will not — that’s 100 percent will not — be writing a tell-all book — this is very much part of the agreement — but she will write a book on life after divorce, which she’s planning to spin off into a TV show. The family home in Houston will be sold and the proceeds split, along with family heirlooms, silver, china and furniture. Sharon and Neil’s children, Ashley, 13, and Pierce, 16, will live in Houston until they reach age 18. Lauren, an Elite model, will continue with her modeling as well as her studies at Princeton. Sharon and the younger kids are taking a house in the Hamptons this summer, which sounds as though Sharon can afford it. Maybe she can, but not on the $1,000-a-month that was originally offered to her. So, having to go to work, hence, the book, the TV show and a jewelry line she plans to design. Joint custody of the kids has been granted but they will live with Sharon, which is as it should be.

This story first appeared in the April 18, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The end of the week has brought the end to two other marriages, those of Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison, and Michael and Anne-Marie Crichton. Here are the details: Harrison and Melissa have now finalized the particulars and the distribution of the $300 million fortune they accumulated in their 18-year marriage. They separated in August of 2001 and their lawyers have been working on the settlement for more than a year. Relations are cordial between them and the children are spending time with both parents.

The divorce will clear the way for Ford to marry Calista Flockhart, who has been his love for the past 15 months. They had planned a Christmas wedding but had postponed the big day until the divorce was signed off on by a judge, which is now imminent.

Two weeks ago, they were dining together at the Coloniera restaurant in Los Angeles with his parents and her mother after Calista’s performance in a one-night-only reading of “All About Eve” at the Ahmanson Theater. The next performance will be all about Calista and Harrison.

Michael Crichton and his fourth wife, Anne-Marie, have settled their divorce, which she filed last year, after 13 years of marriage. The creator of TV’s “ER” and the author of such bestsellers as “Jurassic Park” and “The Andromeda Strain” gave his wife more than $30 million, the art collection, the big New York estate and their 20 horses. They will have joint custody of their 15-year-old daughter, Taylor.

He is keeping the balance of his fortune, which is estimated to be worth more than $200 million, the Hawaiian estate and very importantly to him, some of his favorite things, including two rugs from the New York house and a pair of rusting trucks. Rusting trucks? That’s right.

Charlize Theron, who plays Donald Sutherland’s daughter in “The Italian Job,” learned how to crack a safe for her role in the movie. “It’s simple,” she laughs. That’s easy for her to say. Forget cracking anything. She can “have” the combination to my safe any day, says a frothing fan. Male, as in fan male.

Isabella Rossellini’s 18-year-old daughter, Elettra Wiedemann, her child with ex-husband John Wiedemann, has made her modeling debut in the new Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. The dark-haired beauty bears a striking resemblance to her mother and grandmother, Ingrid Bergman, and was handpicked by photographer Bruce Weber to pose for the campaign, which features her in a number of sexy but tasteful shots, whatever that means. Everyone knows by now that the catalog is filled with oodles of scantily dressed models, including the odd nude, but Elettra has kept her clothes on because her mother told her to. None of this taking it all off for her little girl. None of this going too far, too fast.

Elettra plans both a modeling and an acting career but has promised her family she’ll stay in school while she’s pursuing her goals. I think we are seeing a smart mother in all this.

Christopher Reeves’ good-looking six-foot-tall daughter, Alexandra, has turned down offers to become a model and will concentrate on her studies at Yale and on her writing. She resembles both her father and her mother, Gae Exton, who was a successful model in her day, and is also a member of the Ivy League Princeton’s polo team. Her father, now in negotiations to take a regular role on “Smallville” — the TV show about Superman’s teen years — has encouraged her to make the most of her studies and her equestrian team. I think we’re seeing a smart daddy in all this.

Heidi Klum, everybody’s supermodel, is getting serious with Naomi Campbell’s ex, Flavio Briatore, who made his fortune with the Benetton family and their American stores. The two are planning an extended cruise on Flavio’s yacht this summer to Saint-Tropez and Forte dei Marmi, where Flavio owns nightclubs. At least they won’t have any trouble getting a table.

Don’t faint if you see Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck on the Upper East Side next week. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re moving into the neighborhood. Lopez, who is the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club’s most famous alumnus and one of their staunchest supporters, maybe, might, who knows, drop into their 31st annual decorator showhouse at 18 East 74th Street when it holds its preview party on Monday. Recently, Lopez even dropped by its center in the Bronx and gave a concert to an auditorium full of screaming kids.

Whether she makes it or not, 26 of the world’s top decorators, designers and florists, who have worked their magic on the seven-story Neo-Italian Renaissance limestone town house, built in 1871 and first restored in 1921, are expected to take their bows and kiss the air at the opening. Matthew David, who’s done the show house’s facade three times, has created a towering grapevine arch to enter through, bedecked with tropical leaves and Plexiglas windows painted with birds and bees by the children in Kips Bay after-school program.

Once inside, you’ll find a rosy pink sitting room by Charlotte Moss and David Easton, a bubble-gum pink retro-meets-modern dining room by Larry Laslo and a smart beige and white library with French Forties furniture centered around a Kenneth Noland Target painting, all by Richard Mishaan. Bentley Meeker will do much of the lighting.

The house itself is on sale for $12.5 million with proceeds going to enhance the lives of 9,000 underprivileged children in the Bronx, one of whom was once J. Lo.

Maybe she and Ben should buy the place.

This year’s PEN Literary Gala is all set for the Pierre next Tuesday and everybody with his/her hen will be there — Arthur Miller, Arthur Schlesinger, Bartan Gregorian, Gay Talese, E.L. Doctorow, A.M. Homes, Madeleine Albright. They are gathering to advance literature, promote literacy and defend free expression.

They also plan to have a fun time.

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