A friend of the 30-year-old actor - thought to be his personal assistant BEN JACKSON - pretended to be him so Jude could visit the US on the sly.
The decoy, who looks uncannily like the actor, moved into Jude's London mansion disguised in a woolly hat and sunglasses.
But, when confronted, he said, "You thought I was Jude, didn't you? Well, I'm not.
"I'm acting as his decoy. You won't see him for a while as he is away for a few days."
Jude flew to New York this week to be with friends, including rumoured girlfriend, Nicole Kidman.
Heartbroken wife Sadie Frost is at home with the couple's three children.
A family friend says, "He's only going away for a few days, but he wanted to keep it secret because he realised the fuss it would cause once everyone realised he was off to New York.
"Nicole Kidman is there at the moment."04/05/2003 15:05