Untrue Romance

updated 05/15/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/15/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

CALL IT A SIGN THAT SOMETHING explosive was about to happen. In December, Christian Slater was stopped at New York City's Kennedy Airport, where authorities found in his carry-on bag a 6.5-mm handgun and a diamond engagement ring. Hollywood's romantic rebel spent the night in jail—and was later sentenced to three days of community service—since he didn't have a permit to travel with the gun. Then he headed to the Hollywood Hills home he shared with his lover of five years, Nina Huang. A few weeks later, he proposed.

Next thing you know—kabang!

No, the gun didn't go off. But there was an emotional blowout. According to papers Huang filed in a Los Angeles court, Slater, 25, and Huang, 32, ceased to cohabit on April 13. A Slater pal says the actor could no longer tolerate Huang's attempts to control him.

Then, too, there seems to have been a problem with the Ghosts of Romances Past. "It's hard not to fall in love with the women I've worked with," Slater told PEOPLE in 1993. Pre-Huang dalliances include Winona Ryder. And as Slater has said, his scenes with True Romance costar Patricia Arquette (who just wed Nicolas Cage) were not routine acting: "We got very close—it's one of those unavoidable things."

Huang was apparently less philosophical. Last year, when the couple briefly split, Slater took up with model Christy Turlington. Huang then reportedly pressed Slater to sell his Manhattan duplex—the scene of the Turlington trysts. He did. Says a friend: "They were trying to get over his past affairs."

But the memories lingered. According to a friend of Slater's, the couple, on the day of their breakup, was perusing a magazine featuring pictures of several Slater ex-loves. Huang got mad, then headed for Hollywood's Chateau Marmont hotel. After six days—and a $1,864 bill charged to Slater—Huang slapped him with a palimony suit. She is seeking $100,000, plus cash and possessions worth about $2 million, in compensation for giving up her screenwriting career to perform such services as "preparing meals and cleaning residences."

Neither Huang nor her lawyers would discuss the breakup or the suit, which the Slater camp—no surprise—views skeptically. "He gave her anything she wanted," says Slater's mom, casting director Mary Jo. "Nothing was enough."

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