Russell Crowe gets married in Australia

Monday, April 7th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NANA GLEN, Australia (AP) _ ``Gladiator'' star Russell Crowe married girlfriend Danielle Spencer in a lavish ceremony in the family chapel at his country ranch on Monday, his 39th birthday.

Spencer, in a gown custom-made for her by Italian fashion supremo and wedding guest Giorgio Armani, was whisked to the ceremony in a motorcade of two black Mercedes, a black pick-up truck, and two police cars, led by three burly motorcyclists in their wedding best. Armani had dressed the bridal party, including Crowe.

The nuptials capped an event-filled weekend Crowe had planned for his guests, which included a cricket match starring Australian cricketer Shane Warne, as well as musical performances.

Despite the couple's best efforts, a swarm of media clambered to cover the nuptials, hiring out all available local helicopters and staking out the entrance to Nana Glen, Crowe's property in the lush hills near Coffs Harbor, a resort town halfway between major east coast cities Sydney and Brisbane.

Prior to the wedding Crowe's publicist warned news crews' against outdoing each other to get the scoop, and promised to release pictures of the event for free afterwards. Tents and marquees were erected to protect guests from the prying eyes of the media and security guards stood at the ranch's entrance to block any uninvited visitors.

Crowe's publicist Wendy Day said the wedding would include about 80 close friends and family members, but no Hollywood stars.

Australia's media was abuzz in the leadup to the wedding. Pictures of a friendly cricket match between the Crowes and the Spencers and their friends were splashed across the pages of the daily newspapers, as were snapshots of guests arriving, including Hollywood director Ridley Scott, who directed Crowe in the swords and sandals epic Gladiator, for which Crowe won the Oscar for best actor in 2001. Some media reports had put the cost of the wedding at $600,000.