BRAND NEW ON E!
It's official: Russell Crowe's nesting.
The Gladiator has said goodbye to his former belligerent bachelorhood and is now a happily married man following Monday's nuptials hitching him to fiancée Danielle Spencer.
On Saturday, friends, family and paparazzi descended upon Crowe's 800-acre estate, near the coastal resort of Coffs Harbor, some 300 miles north of Sydney, for three days of pre-ceremony festivities, consisting of poetry, music and a cricket match (those wacky Aussies!).
Finally, on Monday--also Crowe's 39th birthday (handy for not forgetting those anniversaries)--they watched as the couple swapped vows in a specially designed domed chapel. Being on the other side of the International Date Line explains why guests in Australia were already partying just as Americans were waking up Monday morning.
While the guest list had been the subject of intense speculation, in the end, fellow Aussie pals Nicole Kidman, Heath Ledger and Naomi Watts were not in attendance. Instead, the 80-member strong guest list was relatively low-profile, with the exception of Crowe's Gladiator director Ridley Scott and Texas Governor Rick Perry.
The lady of the hour arrived at Crowe's cattle ranch at Nana Glen on Monday in a limo escorted by three black Harley Davidsons and a pickup truck. Spencer stuck to tradition for the ceremony as she was escorted down the aisle by her father.
The bride wore an ivory-colored Armani gown (personally delivered by the designer himself), the rings were from Cartier, and the groom sported a rarely seen smile.
Officiating at the ceremony was Anglican Bishop Phillip Huggins.
Hoping to snap shots of the newly minted couple were approximately 20 photographers and cameramen who camped outside Crowe's property. Last week, aviation authorities nixed the actor's request to make his property a no-fly zone, citing that the wedding did not qualify as an emergency situation. In a bid to keep ground-treading paparazzi from trespassing, Crowe had a guardhouse built at the foot of his driveway and erected tents on his property to shield guests from hovering helicopters.
Crowe also had a handyman's approach to his nuptials. The thesp swapped vows with Spencer in a customized, renovated $240,000 chapel--first used for the wedding of Crowe's brother Terry last year. Locals have dubbed the actor's chapel "St. Russell's Basilica," while the missus refers to it as "Sacre Crowe."
With his legendary reputation for boozing and brawling, Crowe may not strike some as the spiritual type, but the Oscar winner incorporated symbols from various religions in the nondenominational chapel, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Celtic, Catholicism, Orthodox, Nordic and Maori.
Crowe also included a nod to his Gladiator alter ego General Maximus with a Roman mosaic on the chapel floor that dates back to the third century and features two fish caught on a hook.
This was a first trip down the aisle for both Crowe and Spencer.
The New Zealand-born Beautiful Mind star popped the question to his longtime gal-pal last November amidst reports of an ultimatum: starlets or Spencer. Crowe made his choice and sealed the deal with a $100,000 diamond ring and the blessings of the lucky lady's father.
In addition, Crowe released a sentimental statement last fall thanking Spencer for putting up with his bad-boy ways: "Dani has been very patient with all of the speculations of the past year or so, which I thank her for. I feel a great need to wake up with her as many days of my life as I can."
The winsome twosome first met more than a decade ago, starring as steamy lovers in the Australian film The Crossing. After dating throughout the '90s, the couple split up when Crowe's Hollywood career took off with L.A. Confidential, while Spencer chose to remain Down Under.
Spencer, 32, spent her post-Russell time working on her solo debut album, White Monkey. Her beau, meanwhile, became the catalyst for at least one high-profile Hollywood breakup--hooking up with Meg Ryan (helping to sink their professional collaboration Proof of Life and her marriage to Dennis Quaid) and palling around with "good friend" Kidman (during her breakup with Tom Cruise).
Crowe also toured with his band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, before reuniting with Spencer. (Coincidentally, Crowe's band is slated to release their next album on Tuesday.)
Between picking china patterns and building his own chapel, Crowe's been busy shooting two films--the boxing saga Cinderella Man and the World War II drama The Long Green Shore, which also marks his directorial debut. Upon returning from his honeymoon, Crowe will also be making promotional rounds in May for the June release of the 18th-century naval actioner The Far Side of the World.