British actor Paul Bettany has defended his A Beautiful Mind co-star Russell Crowe, insisting his notorious temper is merely a sign he is a "real human".

The star was horrified by the backlash following Crowe's November (05) conviction of third-degree assault against Mercer Hotel employee NESTOR ESTRADA.

Bettany says, "He's a movie star in a time of very asinine pretty boys. He's not that.

"People sense when they watch him on-screen that he's a real human being.

"And then they're surprised when he does human things."