Natalie Portman felt sorry for CLOSER co-star JUDE LAW - because he was romantically linked to her throughout filming.

The actress insists the pair were merely lovers in front of the cameras, despite desperate paparazzi attempts to make them a real-life couple.

The scrutiny allowed her a glimpse at what it must be like to be a megastar like Law, who is now dating ALFIE so-star Sienna Miller after divorcing British actress Sadie Frost.

Portman says, "I feel for him. He's got so much on his plate. It's so mean what they do.

"I mean we were shooting a scene. It was so clearly a scene. I mean, literally, there were 400 people watching - cameras, lights, the entire street was lit up. And they published it (the picture) as if it was a secret rendezvous."

But Portman, 23, insists 31-year-old Law is a little too old for her, anyway.

She adds, "I always find something a little creepy about older men and young girls."

09/08/2004 02:31