Pitt and Paltrow they weren't. Quentin Tarantino and Mira Sorvino didn't do the public gush-fest thing a lot. The director and the actress didn't profess undying love for every popping flashbulb. Heck, half the time it was hard to remember if they were really dating.

But they were. As news of their breakup confirms.

"It was very, very amicable," a publicist for Tarantino said in a statement Wednesday. "They had a lovely talk about the whole thing."

Sorvino's people back-up the use of the term, "amicable."

Tarantino, 34, and Sorvino, 30, hooked up in early 1996. He was her escort to her golden night at the Oscars that spring when she won Best Supporting Actress for Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite.

Academy Awards were one thing the couple had in common: Tarantino won his, for Best Original Screenplay, for Pulp Fiction.

But other than being young and successful and sporting matching Italian surnames, the couple didn't seem a matched set--on paper, at least.

He was the high-school drop-out who majored in film at a surburban Los Angeles video store; she was the Harvard grad who majored in Asian Studies and studied a year abroad in Beijing.

Cracks in the coupledom surfaced last November, when New York tabloids had a blast snapping photos of Sorvino getting chummy with Val Kilmer, her onscreen love interest in the upcoming, Sight Unseen.

Officially, Sorvino and Tarantino's people said there nothing to the story. QT's publicist was even eager to note to reporters--apropos of nothing--that the Reservoir Dog planned to spend Turkey Day with the Sorvino family.

And as recently as a couple weeks ago, the very same New York tabs were running items about the couple making public kissy-face at a restaurant.

The split comes as Tarantino is ensconced in Boston for a trial run of his Broadway stage vehicle, a revival of Wait Until Dark. The play opens in previews in New York on March 27--Tarantino's 35th birthday.

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