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Like Mother, Like Daughter * Zeta-Jones’ Not-So-Private Life * Cage’s New Catch?

Less than a month after Athina Onassis turned 18 and inherited her first billion dollars, she is demonstrating the kind of independence her maternal ancestors were famous for. She has been spending a lot less time in school and in her penthouse in Brussels, which some have compared to a gilded cage with armed guards, and a lot more time with her Brazilian lover, Olympic showjumper Alvaro Alfonso de Miranda Neto. To make her father, Thierry Roussel, even more nervous, she is in Brazil this week meeting her boyfriend’s family. His parents threw a big fat Brazilian birthday party in honor of his 30th in São Paulo last weekend, where Athina met his childhood friends and — how about this? — his three-year-old daughter, Viviana, by his estranged wife, Sibele Dorsa, a Brazilian model and actress.

This story first appeared in the February 28, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Athina and Alvaro are going to Rio for Carnivale this weekend and will be staying with friends at an island paradise in the Atlantic off Ipanema. Love, your magic spell is everywhere.

Nicole Kidman and Brad Pitt will try to kill each other next year. This is not a psychic prediction but hot casting news. The two box office champions will pair for the first time in a movie called “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” in which they will play a couple at war with each other. It’s not a totally new cinematic concept, but in this case they are undercover assassins, each hired to liquidate the other. Nicole will reportedly get $15 million and Brad an undisclosed amount. The story has been described as “The War of the Roses” meets “True Lies.” No screwball comedy here.

Talk about dramatic marriage problems. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, this era’s Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (sort of), are said to be tossing Noel Coward’s whips at each other in Wales, Bermuda and on the way to various awards ceremonies. Backstage gossip has them being offered $3 million to star in a London production of “Private Lives” to open in the spring of 2004. That would probably put them on Broadway in 2005, just in time for the 75th anniversary of the play’s premiere performance starring Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence. Elizabeth and Richard did this exact turn on Broadway in 1983. How time flies when you’re having a good time in the theater.

Valentina Pedroni, the wife of Elizabeth Hurley’s latest catch, is in New York licking her wounds. She’s saying she and Hurley were friends until she saw pictures of her holding hands at a Christian Dior fashion show in Paris with her husband, Arun Nayar, last month. Now she’s seeing pictures of them kissing in London and is ruing the day she introduced Hurley to him in St. Moritz last winter. Is the moral of this story never introduce your husband to a supermodel?

Nicolas Cage was whispering over dinner in London with Angelina Jolie but try as they might, no one overheard exactly what they were saying. Some guessed they might be comparing war stories from their respective marriages. Who doesn’t remember that Cage’s marriage to Lisa Marie last year lasted less than four months? And we all know about Angelina.

Henry Street Settlement held its preview party for the Art Show at the Seventh Regiment Armory last week and they all swept in to check out works by Vincent van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Lucien Freud, Alexander Calder and others of that brush and stroke. Among the 2,000 guests were Deeda Blair, looking over the Matisse drawing up for silent auction; Laura Slatkin; Howard Slatkin; Anne Bass; Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis; Muffie Potter Aston and Dr. Sherrell Aston, who said they were off to Aspen to take advantage of all the new powder; Evelyn and Leonard Lauder; Ronald Lauder; Pilar Crespi; Marcia and Richard Mishaan, who took home a Robert Indiana numerical, and Dale Burch, the chairman of the night, who is thrilled to report that $750,000 was raised.

Many of the same troops will be marching to the Armory next week for the Wendy International Antiques Show to benefit Kids of NYU on March 6. The chairmen of the show are Vera Wang, Alice Tisch, Julie Minskoff and Ian Cohn, and the design committee includes such decorating icons as Albert Hadley, Mario Buatta, Bunny Williams, Joanne de Guardiola, Charlotte Moss and Jamie Drake, who will be among the throngs wandering through the European garden setting as they check out the art and furniture from as long ago as the 16th century in Italy, France and Argentina.

Deborah Norville is the mistress of ceremonies at the School of American Ballet’s dinner and awards ceremony at the New York State Theater on Monday. Everyone will be there — Gov. and Mrs. Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg, Anne Bass, Duane Hampton, the Tony Randalls and Wendy Wasserstein will all be there in black tie watching Larry Herbert, chairman and ceo of Pantone, receive the School of American Ballet’s award for corporate leadership, and Violette Verdi, the legendary ballerina, receive hers for artistic achievement.

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