Actor Alec Baldwin has declared he's a changed man following his acrimonious divorce - but maintains "99 per cent" of what is written about him is a "lie".

The PEARL HARBOR star is bracing himself for a bitter court battle next month (23FEB04) with ex-wife Kim Basinger over custody of their eight-year-old daughter IRELAND - but claims his 2002 divorce has led to a new maturity.

He says, "I am changed as a human being as a result of this.

"I don't want any unnecessary conflict, I don't want to take any risks. You wind up living a very cautious lifestyle after something like this happens to you."

However, Baldwin is still furious over media reports claiming he verbally and physically abused his OSCAR winning ex-wife.

He counters, "I consider myself a big softie. To the people who know me personally and privately, it's absolutely understood that 99 per cent of what's said about me is a lie.

"The problem is, when you're a performer, a public figure, there are the people who know the real you and there's the stuff that's made up about you. It's very tough.

"And when you make a movie like The Cooler, and you have to physically abuse a woman (in the film) and THE ENQUIRER (magazine) has a front-page story alleging you're a spousal abuser - that's a very, very tough bridge to cross."

14/01/2004 17:14