08/30/2004 at 01:00 PM EDT
Russell Crowe, no stranger to brawls, has 'fessed up to fighting with his own bodyguard, saying it was caused by a misunderstanding at a cocktail party for the cast and crew of the movie The Cinderella Man, now shooting in Toronto.
The New Zealand-born Gladiator Oscar winner, 40, made headlines Down Under by scuffling with Mark "Spud" Carroll, a former rugby league star who is now his bodyguard.
According to stories published around the globe, Crowe went so far as to bite Carroll's ear during the fight.
But in a letter to Australia's Sunday Herald Sun tabloid, Crowe said the fight was caused by a misunderstanding and that the pair made up the following day. Carroll also wrote to paper to say that nobody bit his ear.
Crowe said he had been talking to a young woman, who was an extra on the film and a friend of both men – and then Carroll approached Crowe and told him what he thought people might be imagining the pair's conversation was about.
"I thought he was accusing me specifically of something and I took offense to it," Crowe said in the letter. "That never happened, simple as that. He did take a nip at my chest – I was trying to smother him at the time, so I can understand the move."
Crowe admitted they "called each other a few ripe names, had a hug and got on with the job."