Tom Cruise is prepared to take the witness stand in Los Angeles Superior Court and swear under oath that he isn't gay--not that there's anything wrong with that.
Cruise filed a $100-million defamation suit Wednesday against porn actor Chad Slater, who told a French magazine he had an affair with Cruise that broke up the actor's 10-year marriage to "Moulin Rouge" star Nicole Kidman. Cruise's lawyer Bert Fields said the actor knows that "he's going to have to get up on the stand and testify under oath." He added, "We look forward to taking this guy's deposition."
Cruise's suit charges that Slater, also known as gay porn wrestler Kyle Bradford, "concocted and spread the completely false story" to boost his career. "There is not a germ of truth in this vicious, self-promoting story," says the suit, which reads at times like a news release. To wit: "While Cruise thoroughly respects others' rights to follow their own sexual preference, he is not a homosexual, had no relationship of any kind with Kyle Bradford, and does not even know him." Slater/Bradford could not be reached.
Meanwhile, Cruise's divorce lawyer Dennis Wasser said his client is prepared to split the couple's property down the middle. "Tom will provide Nicole with one-half of the community property, consisting of tens of millions of dollars," said Wasser in a statement. "Tom said to me, 'She's the mother of our children, and I will always wish her well.' " Cruise filed papers in February to end his 10-year marriage to Kidman. His reasons remain a mystery.
Producer Jack Haley Jr. knew exactly what he was doing when he changed his will and named his bookkeeper as executor, Haley's lawyer tells us.
Haley, who was 67, died two weeks ago and relatives and two "household servants" sued in Los Angeles Superior Court to enforce an earlier will that favors them. The suit also seeks to remove the bookkeeper, Kelly Brandt, as executor. Court papers claim Brandt coerced Haley into signing legal documents while he was of unsound mind.
Haley's lawyer Michael Steiniger said he met several times with the "That's Entertainment!" producer during 1998 and 1999, and changed the will according to Haley's instructions. "Every time I met with him, he was lucid, and he was coherent, and he was sober. He did not appear to be in physical or emotional distress," Steiniger said. "He wasn't under anybody's influence."
Report From Sick Bay
Does cancer, like other bad things, come in threes? First Eddie Van Halen, 46, confirmed he was battling the disease. Then Ryan O'Neal, 60, announced he was being treated for leukemia. Now comes word that former Beatle George Harrison, 58, underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic to remove a cancerous growth from one of his lungs. Harrison is said to be recuperating in Tuscany, and the prognosis is excellent. An official statement by one of his lawyers in Britain was cheery in tone: "Although All Things Must Pass Away, George has no plans right now and is still Living in the Material World . . . God Bless and not to worry."
Supermodel Niki Taylor, critically injured in a car accident Sunday, underwent several hours of surgery Thursday at an Atlanta hospital to repair internal injuries. Earlier, the 26-year-old Taylor spoke for the first time since the crash, asking a nurse for some water, said the New York Post, quoting a family source.
In Her Dreams
Hugh Hefner will appear Tuesday on the 100th episode of "Just Shoot Me," playing himself in a dream sequence. In the episode, Maya Gallo, played by Laura San Giacomo, dreams that Hef, 75, becomes the new publisher of Blush, the fashion magazine that employs the show's characters.
"Just Shoot Me" producers courted Hefner, suggesting different story lines, said Playboy spokesman Bill Farley. "He's not an actor," Farley added. "The only person he plays is himself."
Hefner, by the way, has a breed of rabbit named after him. It's called sylvilagus palustris hefneri, from the Latin for "pajama-clad party animal."
Charlize Theron and Laura Linney, celebrating their "Le Prix Cristal" awards from 20th Century Fox at the St. Regis Hotel's Encore restaurant . . . Annette Bening, pushing a stroller at the farmer's market on Beverly Glen Boulevard near Mulholland Drive . . . Harry Hamlin and a very pregnant Lisa Rinna, buying rosebushes in Malibu.
Times staff writers Gina Piccalo and Louise Roug contributed to this report.