Crowe isn't the only celeb to turn up in the 32-year-old O'Neal's peripatetic life. At 10, while touring in the States with singer parents Jimmy Murphy, now 50, and Julie, 56, and sister Samantha, 30, also a Nashville warbler, O'Neal opened for Dolly Parton. Later, living in L.A. with her dad (her parents divorced when she was 14), she went to Beverly Hills High School with future Friend David Schwimmer. And at 19, back in Australia with her mom in 1988, she dated Crowe for two months while both were in a play. "It was more like a fling," she says. Just as well: After Julie sent a demo tape of her daughter's songs to a Nashville music executive in 1996, O'Neal (who took an Irish stage name) saw her career take off. "Both my parents have always said, 'Go for it!' " says O'Neal, who wed singer and recording engineer Rodney Good, 34, last August. "That's why I moved to Nashville on my own. I was scared, but I knew it was what I had to do."
Jamie O'Neal was singing country at Nashville's Wildhorse Saloon last month, when who should walk in but her old boyfriend, fellow Aussie Russell Crowe. "I hadn't seen him in eight years or so. It was amazing," says O'Neal, who recently scored a hit with her debut single, "There Is No Arizona." "I said, 'Do you want to get up and sing?' He said, ' "Folsom Prison Blues." ' "