04-14-2004: "The Punisher" New York Premiere

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The stars of Hollywood's latest comic book movie, The Punisher, were upset to wake up Monday morning to news that their castmate, movie star Rebecca Romijn, had split from her TV star hubby, John Stamos. Amazingly, word hadn't reached co-star Samantha Mathis until she was en route in her limo to the Cinerama Dome premiere Monday evening. "I just heard that getting here, and I'm completely shocked," Mathis said.

"I'm a little surprised," echoed the film's villain, John Travolta. "But you can't judge until you know the situation. ... I've known John for a few years, but I just met Rebecca for the first time on this film."

Romijn-Stamos (and that's what she still wishes to be called - at least for now, says her publicist, Lewis Kay) was heavily guarded throughout the evening. She was the last to arrive at "the Dome," accompanied by her closest girlfriends, and first to exit the after-party.

The press had been alerted that Romijn-Stamos would be doing no interviews, and the 5-foot-11 actress stuck to the script. She smiled her way down the red carpet, looking bright and upbeat in a silvery Lanvin dress. Once safely inside the theater lobby, she was escorted behind a roped-off holding pen, where select castmates were allowed inside to offer brief condolences.

"I just said to her, 'Are you all right?' " reported Mathis. "And she said, 'It's a weird night.' I mean, what do you say?"

Perhaps inadvertently adding salt to Romijn-Stamos' wounds were the film's blissfully married leading men, Travolta (accompanied by wife Kelly Preston) and the Punisher himself, Thomas Jane (with spouse Patricia Arquette).

It's been rumored that children were a contributing cause in the Stamos breakup - he was ready for them; she wasn't. Both Jane and Arquette agreed that the addition of their 14-month-old daughter, Harlow, has helped seal their union.

"When you have a baby there's a great level of commitment," said Jane. "I fell in love with my wife all over again - and on a much deeper level - when I witnessed the birth of my daughter. There was something magical that made me realize, in order to make this thing work, you have to strike a balance between your personal and professional lives. Otherwise, you'll never stop working and Hollywood will suck you dry."

If the film, opening Friday, proves a hit, Jane's been signed for two more, and the villain for Punisher 2 has already been set: Jigsaw. "He's this rageful guy who had his face horribly mutilated by The Punisher," said Jane. "He's all stitched up back together, but his whole shredded, scarred body looks like a jigsaw."

Jane and Arquette spent the Easter holiday with her pregnant sister-in-law, Courteney Cox-Arquette, while brother David Arquette was out of town working on a movie. "She's a glowing goddess ... but not that big," said Patricia. "She carries the baby well. Much more graceful than I was."

Travolta's black suit and Preston's off-the-rack red dress perfectly matched the color scheme of the Punisher posters. Pure coincidence, he claimed: "Kelly was standing in these red (Manolo Blahnik) shoes - naked - and I said, 'That looks really fabulous, Honey, but we need to find you something else.' " That's when he pulled the (gasp!) $19.95 red dress from Kelly's closet.

Married almost 13 years, Travolta and Preston are one of Hollywood's few success stories. Their secret? "Every year we re-evaluate what we need and want from each other," he confided. "You have to keep working on it. And kids help. You fall in love with your kids (they have two) so deeply that you want to be together for them, too."

Original article: USA Today

"It's a premiere! Why aren't you posing?" one of the photographers yelled at Rebecca Romijn on Wednesday at the Loews Astor Plaza, when she refused to turn around for photographs. Oh, goodness, here we go again.

The screening of "The Punisher" was light on the A-listers, but with Ms. Romijn having just announced her separation from John Stamos, her husband of five years, it was a natural draw for the likes of - cough, cough - celebrity journalists.

Correspondent One of our Boldface team, from her perch at the foot of the escalator, watched Ms. Romijn walk briskly through the upstairs lobby without stopping. The photographers immediately sprung into action, some leaping over the velvet rope, dashing to the place where she was waiting for the elevator. For the next few seconds, she stood with her back to a barrage of flashes and loud cursing, and, from one photographer, a suggestion that her husband had left her for good reason.

Then the door opened, and her publicist whisked her inside, leaving the photographers to look desolately at their digital pictures of Ms. Romijn' back.

Suddenly we saw Peter Cuneo, the vice-chairman of Marvel Comics, looking for her. "She's disappeared," he said, and it was soon to be true: minutes later, before the screening, she would leave by a rear exit.

"I don't know," Mr. Cuneo said later. "She just told me she felt ill and she had to leave."

Meanwhile, on the red carpet, Boldface Correspondent Two was chatting with Thomas Jane, who plays the Punisher himself.

"I'll tell you what I think," he said in response to a question about stardom. "I think that in a society where it is hard enough to make human connections, we often use celebrities and find out about their personal lives and follow their sort of trials and tribulations and we relate to them sometimes closer than we do our own neighbors or people in our extended families. We have an easier time having a relationship with someone from a magazine or a television screen than we do from the dinner table."

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