Insider

updated 07/26/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/26/2004 01:00AM

BREAK WITH REALITY
"I wish them a long life of happiness," says Estella Gardinier of her former beau, The Bachelor's Bob Guiney, and his new wife, soap star Rebecca Budig (see page 17). "He wasn't the one for me, and obviously I'm not the one for him." In June, Gardinier auctioned off the $45,000 diamond ring Guiney gave her on The Bachelor finale for $22,300. She plans to use the money to help her mother buy a house. Gardinier's own happily-ever-after is still on hold: She just broke up with country singer Steve Holy, whom she met in May. "It just wasn't the right time for us," says Gardinier. "We're both really busy and live in separate places [she's in Beverly Hills; he's in Dallas]." Despite the split, Gardinier will still appear in Holy's new video "Put Your Best Dress On." Says Holy: "I have nothing but positive things to say about her. She's wonderful."

BRANDO'S LAST ROLE
Three weeks before he passed away on July 1, Marlon Brando proved there was still a Method to his madness when he agreed to voice the character of Mrs. Sour (above) in the upcoming animated feature Big Bug Man. Unable to travel to the recording studio because of declining health, Brando nevertheless immersed himself in the role as the matriarch of a corrupt candy company by dressing in full drag. When writer-director Bob Bendetson and a sound engineer arrived at Brando's home on June 10, they found the acting legend decked out in a blonde wig, ladies' gloves, jewelry, a flower-print dress and makeup. The dolled-up Brando sat on a couch in his bedroom to voice his three scenes, taking hits from an oxygen tank between takes. Reports Bendetson: "He said, 'This is the most fun I've had since shooting [1953's] Julius Caesar.' "

FAST TAKES

Ben Affleck visited his 6-week-old nephew Indiana, son of his younger brother Casey and his fiancée, actress Summer Phoenix, at their Beverly Hills home on July 9...

Spotted: Rebecca Romijn-Stamos buying $4,000 in housewares at Ma Maison in Los Angeles. She paid the tab in $100 bills....

Though Chelsea Clinton has been dating Ian Klaus for more than two years, she's not planning on marriage any time soon. Says the former First Daughter: "Wedding bells? No, no, no. I've got plenty of years left."

KEEPING UP WITH THE SMITHS
A rare sighting in Santa Monica on July 9: Tom Cruise rocking out by himself at the Temple, an urban world-beat hot spot. Cruise was there to groove to the soul-fusion sounds of Jada Pinkett Smith's band Wicked Wisdom. The two have become fast friends since costarring in the thriller Collateral, due Aug. 6. Not only has Cruise turned up at several of her L.A. gigs, he also dined with Jada and husband Will Smith in New York City, where Will is filming Last First Kiss, and went to the July 7 premiere of Will's sci-fi thriller I, Robot.

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