Supermodel Heidi Klum, 29, is getting some work done. But it’s not what you’re thinking. The Victoria’s Secret pin-up, who recently ended a short-term fling with Red Hot Chili Peppers front man Anthony Kiedis, is in the midst of an extensive renovation of her new bachelorette pad, a $2.495 million penthouse on Bank Street in the West Village, just blocks away from where Jodie Foster, Nicole Kidman, and Calvin Klein have recently bought new places. “It was a dump!” said one broker who saw the sprawling apartment. “It needed a lot of work.” The 3,200-square-foot apartment includes two fireplaces, a sauna, a steam shower, and 1,800 square feet of outdoor space with river views. A broker for the Corcoran Group, which handled the deal, didn’t return calls.
Serves Them Right: Joe Millionaire Pays
Joe Millionaire almost lost its butler. Paul Hogan, the Aussie manservant who has become a star in his own right since the show debuted on Fox, recently sat next to a high-powered entertainment executive on a flight to L.A. They started chatting about Hogan’s contract, and the exec couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Paul said he had no perks or anything,” our tipster reports. “They wouldn’t even put him up in hotels.” Incredibly, Hogan was only getting a few hundred dollars a week, the standard fee set by the butler-employment agency where producers discovered him. Well, that all changed just a day before Hogan was to do his final four shows. The exec hooked him up with a Hollywood attorney, who warned producers that they’d better cut Hogan a deal. “He basically called them and said, ‘You can’t do this. You’re earning millions, and you’re making him send in gas receipts for his car rentals,’ ” says our tipster. “ ‘Well, guess what? He’s not coming in tomorrow.’ ” After the attorney declined one offer from producers, we’re told, they came back with more money, and Hogan accepted. Since then, things have only gotten better. We hear Hogan is working on a deal to become a celebrity spokesman for a major hotel chain.
Jennifer Connelly: Baby Makes
When we called Jennifer Connelly’s rep a couple of weeks ago to ask if it was true that the Academy Award–winning actress was pregnant, the rep insisted she wasn’t and laughed, “Are people just saying that because her boobs looked big at the Golden Globes?” Well, just days later, Connelly’s rep called back to confirm that yes, Connelly is expecting. She declined to give us the due date, but the daddy is definitely Connelly’s hubby of just under two months, Paul Bettany, 31, one of Connelly’s co-stars in A Beautiful Mind. Connelly, 32, has a 5-year-old son, Kai, with former long-term love, photographer David Dugan.
Patricia Field Slides Into Fashion
Patricia Field’s Fashion Week strategy is really below the belt. Her show on Friday will be sponsored by none other than K-Y Liquid—yes, that K-Y. “If we can give K-Y some of our glamour and they can give us some corporate strings, that will be a wonderful outcome,” she told us. Free samples will be handed out at her after-party at Lotus, where Field and partner David Dalrymple will unveil the new bottle that they designed for Courvoisier. Keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme, folks from the Astro-to-Go astrology Website will provide sex and love readings in the VIP room. But it doesn’t stop there. Field will also curate “101 Alternative Uses for K-Y Liquid,” a traveling exhibition.
Bridget LeRoy: Over the Rainbow?
Bridget LeRoy, eldest daughter of the late Warner LeRoy, the famed restaurateur behind the Russian Tea Room and Tavern on the Green, is eager to cash in her inheritance—a house on her father’s 50-acre estate in Amagansett. She and her hubby, Eric Johnson, headed north to Warner, New Hampshire, in August with their three kids to live in a house they bought for $342,000 with money given to them by another LeRoy family member, who has asked not to be identified. Now Bridget could really use the money from an estate sale for her newest project, Tend and Befriend, a retreat for up to sixteen women that LeRoy will open in October with business partner Jane Björk. The retreat will occupy a converted 5,000-square-foot barn on her new property. LeRoy, 39, whose mom is Warner’s first wife, writer Gen LeRoy-Walton, has also become an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church after taking a course taught via the Internet, and the property’s icehouse is being converted into a nondenominational chapel, where LeRoy will be able to marry people. “This just came to me,” she told us. “I have chills just talking about it.”
Liz Hurley: Diamonds Aren’t Forever
Even Liz Hurley can’t always get what she wants. Harry Winston arranged for a security man to pick up the $3.5 million worth of diamond jewelry that Hurley borrowed for last week’s AMFAR benefit as soon as the gala ended. Hurley, however, had other plans. “Come with us to a Burger King in Times Square,” she cooed when the guard arrived at Cipriani 42nd Street. No thanks, said the guard. “Come on,” Hurley pleaded. “It would be so much fun to walk through Burger King in all these diamonds.” But apparently that didn’t sound like fun to the guard, and he insisted she hand over the 33-carat earrings and 20-carat ring. Hurley did, but no word on whether she got her fast-food fix. Speaking of Harry Winston, we thought we recognized the $6 million, 80-carat yellow diamond dangling from the Isadora necklace that Kate Hudson wears in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. It’s the same one we reported on after last year’s Oscars, when host Whoopi Goldberg lost it for a short time after it dropped into her cleavage.
Gandolfini Takes a Whack at Botany
Carter Coleman, founder of the African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC), has made James Gandolfini an offer he couldn’t refuse: the opportunity to name a flower recently discovered in Tanzania. Coleman first got in touch with the Sopranos star last year when the actor agreed to co-host ARC’s annual fund-raiser. Unfortunately, Gandolfini got caught up shooting an episode in a Pennsylvania quarry and couldn’t make it. Months later, Coleman approached Gandolfini and asked him not only to host this year’s benefit on April 5 at 24/Fifth, but to name a yellow-petaled weedlike flower. Gandolfini hasn’t divulged any of the names he’s thinking about. (The Bada bingus?) ARC’s become very good at getting stars in touch with nature. Last year, Harrison Ford named a rare subspecies of butterfly.
Hamptons Update: Waksal Sits Tight, Zellweger
It seems like the East End hasn’t seen the last of insider-trading poster boy Sam Waksal. The former CEO of ImClone and friend of Martha Stewart has decided not to sell his Wainscott hideaway. We hear that about six weeks ago, a woman made an offer to buy the house not far below the asking price of $5.9 million, but she backed out just before signing the contract. Shortly thereafter, another buyer came along and offered the full asking price, but Waksal apparently changed his mind. However, Waksal still wants to unload his other house, on Potato Road in Sagaponack. That one’s listed for $6.5 million. (In October, he sold the adjacent lot for $3.125 million to his music-industry-mogul neighbor, Peter Mensch.) Meanwhile, it’s official—Renée Zellweger is bi-coastal. As we recently reported, the Chicago starlet was looking for a house in the Hamptons. We hear she signed papers for a manse in East Hampton. She already has a Bel Air home that she bought in October for $6.8 million.
THE WAY IT IS: He turned 86 in November, but Walter Cronkite isn’t slowing down. We ran into him at Blue Smoke during the recent party celebrating the release of CBS newsman Bob Schieffer’s memoir, This Just In: What I Couldn’t Tell You on TV. He was asked to join Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, and Schieffer for a group photo across the room. “Could you bring them to me?,” Cronkite asked. “I don’t want to lose my place at the bar.” Naturally, they complied. Meanwhile, Cronkite is appearing Off Broadway—sort of—in Classic Stage’s modern telling of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale. He has an uncredited role as the Oracle of Delphi. But don’t look for him onstage. The Oracle appears as a voice played on a tape recorder wheeled onstage at the show’s climax.
IN THE RAW: First, Lizzie Grubman says she wants to open a bakery; now her lawyer, Ed Burke Jr., is getting into the food business. Burke and restaurateur Jeff Resnick are opening Jeff and Eddie’s Seafood in the Sag Harbor space that used to house Phao, Resnick’s Thai place on Main Street. Manager Tora Matsuoka told us, “It will be New England clam chowder mixed with a raw bar.”
SWIM FAN: Hogan, the high-end leather-goods company, is thinking about starting a swimwear line. We hear execs are in talks wtih bikini designer Maria Buccellati about creating swimsuits that will match with a variety of Hogan bags. Buccellati thought of the idea during the opening of Hogan’s new store in Miami.