08/01/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT
No one could blame actress Sienna Miller
for missing work on July 19. The day before, the star had gamely turned up—though conspicuously without her $35,000 diamond engagement ring from actor Jude Law
—at Wyndham's Theatre in London, where she is performing in Shakespeare's As You Like It
. But the following evening, as the fallout continued from Law's bombshell public acknowledgment of an affair earlier this year with his children's nanny, Miller was a no-show for her performance. "We made the decision to give her the night off," says company stage manager Adrian Storey. "A bit of R & R."
It's unlikely that Miller, 23, was enjoying much quality time in the wake of embarrassingly graphic allegations of her fiancé's infidelity that first surfaced in Britain's Sunday Mirror
on July 17. In a breathless tell-all interview that she sold to the newspaper, former nanny Daisy Wright, 26, detailed her liaisons with Law, which she says occurred in March and April while the 32-year-old actor was shooting the upcoming drama All the King's Men
in New Orleans. She told the paper that they shared their first tryst on March 20 after attending a Robert Plant concert together, and that Law made the first move. "He is a great lover and knows how to satisfy a woman," she said. "We couldn't get enough of each other."
Nearly as shocking as Wright's claims—among other things, she says that one of Law's children caught them in bed together—was the star's mea culpa, which he prepared the same day as the Sunday Mirror story (see box). Why confess so publicly? "He wanted Sienna to know how sorry he was," says a friend of the Oscar-nominated actor and father of Rafferty, 8, Iris, 4, and Rudy, 2, with ex-wife Sadie Frost. "He wanted to say, 'Hey, I did wrong, and I want Sienna to know I did wrong.' "
Whether Miller will accept the apology remains in doubt. The actress, who met Law when the pair costarred in last fall's Alfie
remake and was engaged to him last Christmas, has left the couple's Maida Vale home for an undisclosed countryside locale; Law also is staying elsewhere and is "devastated," says a source. Meanwhile, Miller's furious mother, Josephine, publicly called Law a "a bloody idiot" and told the Daily Mail that Sienna had learned of the alleged indiscretion via the Sunday Mirror story.
The scandal isn't Law's first brush with tabloid drama. His 2003 split from Frost, 40, came amid reports of infidelity. (Law never commented on the rumors.) And during the King's Men shoot, Law raised eyebrows when he turned up at Larry Flynt's Hustler Club in New Orleans last December. Frost, whose divorce from Law was finalized in June, told PEOPLE of the current brouhaha, "It's all very sad really, if if s true." Knowing Law, does the news come as a surprise? "Yes, actually it does."
Currently shooting the drama Breaking and Entering in London, Law "is a professional and he has a job to do," says a friend, adding that he and Miller "have met" since the revelations came to light. Despite reports that the wedding has been called off, sources say no decision has been made. As for Miller, she must now turn from choosing flowers and gowns to weighing whether to forgive her fiancé. "She really doesn't know where she's at right now," says a friend. "She needs some time to sort all this out."
By Michelle Tauber. Bryan Alexander, Laura Hahn and Pete Norman in London and Mark Lambert in New Orleans