Why Crowe's marriage crumbled: As he faces a 15m divorce payout, how 'Prattus Maximus' Russell Crowe's king-sized ego has cost him the love of his life
08:27 GMT, 26 October 2012
Divorcing: Actor Russell Crowe and his wife Danielle Spencer have separated
Connoisseurs of unfortunate marital beginnings might like to note that only seven months after Russell Crowe married his petite sweetheart Danielle Spencer, he was snapped enjoying a night out in a German strip bar.
The Dollhouse, Hamburg’s premium lap-dancing club, was the seedy destination of choice for the film star and his pals who were ‘letting off steam’ after the premiere of his film Master And Commander in 2003.
At the time, his wife Danielle was at their home in Australia, and heavily pregnant with their first child, Charles, now eight.
After realising he had been spotted, his people tried to make the photographer delete the pictures. Apparently money was offered, and there was such a fuss police were called to the club.
Later attempts by his legal team to obtain an injunction against the publication of the pictures failed.
His publicist Wendy Day claimed — rather unconvincingly given the circumstances —that no one in Crowe’s camp was in the slightest bit perturbed.
She even said Danielle would have joined him if she had been in town herself. That hardly seems likely, but by that point poor Ms Day had weathered numerous storms, caused by Crowe’s erratic behaviour.
So what has really been going on in the nine-year marriage of Crowe and Spencer
One thing is for sure. It is over, as was revealed earlier this month, even though there has been no official announcement.
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Wedding day: Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe and bride Danielle Spencer walk together after their wedding ceremony at Crowe's cattle farm at Nana Glen in 2003
Russell Crowe declines to authorise one, it is understood, but Danielle Spencer is pleased the truth is out at last.
Spencer, 43, who is trying to carve a path as a singer and songwriter, had been keeping their split a secret for some time.
People who mingled with the couple at the reopening of a Sydney casino in October 2011 noted they were ‘frosty’ towards each other.
Earlier that year, Danielle settled into a new 6 million house in the eastern Sydney suburb of Rose Bay. Locals insist she moved in as a single mother with Charles and her younger son Tennyson, six. Crowe has apparently preferred to stay alone in the penthouse waterside apartment in nearby Woolloomooloo, which used to be their marital home.
The bare facts are that Russell Crowe has spent the past 18 months separated from his family due to work, and he is living in luxury hotel in New York, while making the 80 million biblical epic, Noah, to be released in 2014.
Russell Crowe sported a full grey beard and bushy hair on the set of his latest film – the Biblical blockbuster Noah
Visits to Australia have been fleeting and his priority seems to have been to see his children and watch football, rather than spend time with his wife. She has made a few trips to New York to see him, but has been busy touring with her music and raising the boys, who are at school in Sydney.
The suggestion is the marriage broke down three years ago, and Crowe agreed to make back-to-back films over the past year in order to build up a ‘war chest’ so he can fund the looming divorce.
Roles in Man Of Steel, Noah, Les Miserables and The Man With The Iron Fists are thought to have earned him a hefty 20 million.
In any case, he and Danielle were unromantic enough to have a pre-nuptial agreement. After nine years together, she is in line for 15.5 million, with any division of property on top of that amount.
Given that Crowe is thought to be worth 50 million and has numerous assets including a farm, pub and even a museum about himself, it’s a fair settlement, but not a generous one.
Some people suggest the union was in trouble prior to 2009. The infamous phone-throwing incident in 2005 — when Crowe ripped a telephone off a wall and threw it at a hotel concierge in New York — is now rumoured to be connected to some kind of lurking infidelity.
Crowe has always said he threw the telephone because he was jet-lagged and wanted to speak to his wife. She said only that she understood why he might have been frustrated, but didn’t condone the violence. (He admitted the offence of assault and was fined.)
As they were: Russell met Danielle 22 years ago but they walked down the aisle nine years ago and have two children together
However, in that same year, patrons of a bar in Toronto — where he was filming Cinderella Man — reported an apparently inebriated Crowe asking women to give him a kiss and complaining they were ‘bitches’ when they refused.
Certainly, Crowe’s response to his marital troubles hardly suggests a man with a broken heart. In the week that the end of his marriage was announced (by his wife’s friends in an Australian newspaper) he took to Twitter to talk about his fitness regime. He wrote: ‘18km stat bike, 25 mins weights, now for yoga.’
It’s not much of an epitaph for a nine-year marriage, is it No wonder he has been labelled ‘Prattus Maximus’ in headlines.
Indeed, Crowe seems incapable of acknowledging the failure of the marriage. He has been cycling around New York looking cheerful, wearing his white beard, grown to play the part of Noah.
Last week, there was a hint of sentiment when he remarked on Twitter that all of the musicians he played with in a band at the weekend missed Danielle, ‘the girl from Rose Bay’. One former colleague — who worked with him on Master And Commander — sighs by way of explanation: ‘The guy is a full-on ******.’
For while his performances, in films such as LA Confidential, have been spell-binding, the talent seems to have gone hand in hand with an intense feeling of superiority, and with some truly abominable behaviour.
Take the night in the restaurant Zuma in London in 2002 where he was apparently intoxicated and offensive. Fellow diner Georgie Calder said he tried to kiss her, licked her face and invited her to his hotel room. She found him ‘utterly revolting’.
And who could forget the violent finger-jabbing outburst against TV producer Malcolm Gerrie at the Baftas that year after Crowe’s speech was cut. Witnesses recall the actor pinned Gerrie to the wall and shouted: ‘You ******* piece of ****.’
Hectic schedule: It's thought Crowe's busy movie filming schedule meant they grew apart as he spent a lot of his time in London shooting Les Miserables while his wife remained in Australia
Although in recent years Crowe, 48, has managed to largely keep himself out of trouble, you will struggle to find anyone who thinks he has mellowed. Indeed, although Danielle is the one who has been pictured with another possible love interest — dancer Damian Whitewood, with whom she competed in Australia’s Dancing With The Stars this year, Australia’s media are pursuing lines of inquiry to do with Crowe being the straying partner.
For the star has long been said to have ‘over-active eyeballs’ when it comes to women. He dated numerous stars, including Courtney Love, during breaks in his on-off romance with Danielle before their marriage.
They met in 1990 on the set of Australian film The Crossing. He and Danielle were a couple for a year, but then Crowe chose to go to America to try to make it. Danielle never wanted to join him, so they split up.
He went on to date Sharon Stone. In 2000 came an intense romance with his Proof Of Life co-star Meg Ryan. That liaison finished over Christmas 2000, and within a few weeks he and Danielle were back together.
They were married in April 2003 at a chapel which he had built for the purpose on his 500-acre farm in Nana Glen, New South Wales. She was soon pregnant with their son Charles and Tennyson followed in 2006.
Although Crowe was at the peak of his film career, Danielle was never willing to relocate to America to be near him while he filmed. Crowe said he preferred to prepare for filming alone.
The breakdown of the marriage seems to have been a considerable strain to Danielle. Insiders on Dancing With The Stars noticed she never mentioned Crowe, and that he came only once to see her perform.
He sent her a Mother’s Day bouquet of red roses, but Danielle reportedly gave it away to a friend.
A source told the Chicago Sun-Times that, during the making of Noah, Crowe ‘never mentioned his wife once’ but talked about his two sons all of the time.
Dancing With The Stars partner Damian Whitewood said last week: ‘Once we’d wrapped and finished she said things (in the marriage) weren’t great.’
He has denied speculation of an affair, and his friends say she was just lonely. But while it’s easy to feel sorry for Danielle, friends say not to underestimate her.
One says: ‘She is not at all the pushover she might physically seem. She is quiet, acerbic, reserved, sarcastic and serious.’
That much is clear from her website, which ruthlessly has no references to her famous husband.
In an interview last year, Danielle said her past year had been ‘busy, challenging and gratifying’.
And what of 2012 — the year which she must have known would probably see the end of her marriage
She offered three, significant words: ‘Hopeful, excited and ready.’
It seems Russell Crowe isn’t the only one who is looking on the bright side.
VIDEO: They looked so happy on their wedding day…