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Country's Royal Couple at the CMAs

Country's Royal Couple at the CMAs
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw
Laura Farr/ZUMA

11/11/2004 06:00AM

It was a big night for Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, but country music's royal couple seemed pretty relaxed at Tuesday's CMA Awards in Nashville. "It's home and everyone is so nice," says Hill, who performed the country classic "Help Me Make It Through the Night." "Being a fan of music, I love just watching the performers I love so much and seeing some exciting surprises. (The CMAs were) one of the things I watched growing up." Hill was beside her husband in the audience at the Grand Ole Opry to see him claim single of the year for "Live Like You Were Dying" (which also won song of the year), a bittersweet experience for him. "The song came to me around Thanksgiving and that's kind of when we started knowing for sure that Tug didn't have much of a chance, so it meant a lot to me," says McGraw of his father, baseball great Tug McGraw, who died in January. "I never played the song for him – he never heard the song – because I didn't think it was appropriate."

On a lighter note, Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Kris Kristofferson may be 68, but he's still got it as far as the ladies are concerned. At the CMAs, CSI: Miami's Emily Procter told us she couldn't wait to meet her lifetime heartthrob. "My all-time crush, No. 1 on my list, is Kris Kristofferson," she told us, noting that also on it are actor Sam Elliott (Hulk) and LL Cool J. But Procter had to stand in line behind LeAnn Rimes to talk to him. Kristofferson had previously told Rimes that his daughter preferred her version of his song "Me and Bobby McGee," and "This year he grabbed me again and said, 'I just wanted to say thank you so much for recording that song,' " Rimes told us. "I punched my husband and said, 'Oh my God! He said it again.' "

But I Really Want to Direct...
If you want to see Blue Crush star Michelle Rodriguez, look for her on the L.A. party scene, but not on the big screen for a while, she says. "I've been working on the production end – that's why you haven't seen me for about two years," she told us at an L.A. party sponsored by Corzo Tequila, Millennium/Nu Image and Emmett-Furla Films. "I got into this business to write, so that's what I'm focused on now. But give me about a good 10 years and you'll see me in that director's chair." Also at the party: CSI's Gary Dourdan with his current squeeze, lingerie model Shakara Ledard.

Caught in the Act
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• By BEVERLY KEEL, MARISA LAUDADIO and JON WARECH
MORE ON: Faith Hill , Tim McGraw

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