Rising Above the Rumors

updated 09/11/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/11/2006 01:00AM

On Aug. 25 shoppers at the Antique Center of Red Bank in Red Bank, N.J., stumbled across a choice find: Bruce Springsteen and his wife, Patti Scialfa, were trolling through collectibles when they spotted an old guitar and mandolin. Without hesitation, the Boss and his backup singer performed an impromptu set. "They were jamming and laughing," says center manager Judy Barnaby, adding that the couple were kissing and holding hands. "I told Patti, 'I'm so happy to see you guys together,' and she said, 'I really appreciate that.' She gave me a hug and Bruce giggled."

It was quite a show of harmony for Springsteen and Scialfa, particularly in light of a published report that Springsteen had an affair with a 9/11 widow he reportedly met at a 2001 charity event. Calling those reports "unfounded and ugly," the famously private singer dismissed them on his Web site Aug. 28. "Patti and I have been together for 18 years—the best 18 years of my life," wrote Springsteen, 56, who wed Scialfa, 53, in 1991. "Our commitment to one another remains as strong as the day we were married."

As does their devotion to their three kids. In July Springsteen and Scialfa cheered for daughter Jessica, 14, at her five-day equestrian competition in Saugerties, N.Y., and shared quiet dinners out at several area restaurants. Back in Jersey, Bruce strolled the shore with sons Evan, 16, and Sam, 12, Aug. 22. The proud parents are still set to tour Europe together for two months starting Oct. 1 to promote Springsteen's latest album, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. Till then, look out for more duets by the vintage vases. "They have been coming here for almost 20 years," says Barnaby, "and they seemed as happy as they've always been."

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