Daily Insider for January 22, 2004

updated 04/21/2004 at 12:00 AM EDT

originally published 01/21/2004 5:34PM

January 22, 2004
SIMON'S SOFT SIDE
"You know, the sign of how much I like Paula is the fact that I will argue with her," tart-tongued American Idol judge Simon Cowell tells PEOPLE.com about fellow arbiter Paula Abdul. "If I'm comfortable with somebody, like my girlfriend (model Terri Seymour) is an example, I'll argue. If I'm not comfortable, (I) become icily polite. And that's not a great place to be. So, in a weird way, it shows how much I do like her. The fact that I can argue with her openly and she does with me." So, will their friendship be going strong 10 years from now? Says Simon: "Let's not get too optimistic. I take it week on week with Paula."

VARTAN SITTING OUT GLOBES
Alias star Michael Vartan will not attend Sunday's Golden Globe Awards, despite costar – and girlfriend – Jennifer Garner's nomination for best actress in a television drama. "I am one of those people that if I am not nominated, there is really no sense in going down the red carpet," he told us at the Stars with Sticks celebrity ice hockey event in L.A., which raised more than $50,000 for the Starlight Children's Foundation. "The red carpet is a true nightmare. There is nothing normal about it," he said, adding that he is planning to watch the festivities on TV: "I gotta root for my girl!"

AND THE WINNER IS ...
Ashton Kutcher, dressed for a harsh New York winter day in head-to-toe Gucci, was flanked not by his sweetie, Demi Moore, but rather by Amy Smart, costar of his new movie The Butterfly Effect, as the two announced the nominees for the ninth annual AOL Moviegoer Awards. Kutcher, who earlier had Punk'd Katie Couric by pretending to walk out of his Today show interview when she asked about Moore, gave his pick for best picture. "Finding Nemo was a big winner on my ballot," he said. "If there was a sweeper, it would have swept." Of the Moviegoer Awards, where ordinary people are invited to vote online for their favorite movies and actors, Smart said: "It's exciting to see what people think. The people who actually pay to see (the movies)."

THAT '70s CARD GAME
Speaking of Ashton, after Friday night tapings of his hit FOX sitcom That '70s Show, cast and crew members have been gathering at the home of costar Laura Prepon for a weekly poker game. "We are big poker players," says the red-haired actress, whose conservative play last weekend turned $40 into $400. "I don't usually like to bluff. If I don't have the cards, I fold 'em."

CAUGHT IN THE ACT
Recently spotted:
Martha Stewart, getting a facial and buying $200 worth of products at New York's Mario Badescu salon, where she's a regular.

Macy Gray, in the beauty store L'Occitane in Georgetown. She walked out with several purchases, including a candied fruit candle.

Brittany Snow (of NBC's American Dreams), at New York's Greenhouse Day Spa in Manhattan.

• Designer Giorgio Armani, shopping at the Jurlique boutique in SoHo.

Reported by: PETE NORMAN, REBECCA PALEY, SEAN DALY, WILL KECK, ELIZABETH MCNEIL and MARK DAGOSTINO

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MORE ON: Simon Cowell

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