GLADIATOR star Russell Crowe would have proposed to new wife DANIELLE SPENCER long before he actually did - but the Australian beauty kept giving off negative marriage vibes.

The Antipodean hunk had an on/off relationship with Spencer for 12 years after meeting her on the set of the 1990 film THE CROSSING and finally made her his wife in April this year (03).

But according to the Master And Commander: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD actor, it was Spencer - not him - who was reluctant to make a lifetime commitment.

He says, "We had discussed marriage in the past and I'd always felt a certain resistance from her - not necessarily in terms of marriage to me, but as a concept.

"But then, the last few times we talked, I noticed that she's seemed to have softened her stance, not only towards marriage but also in her preparedness to be a mother."

The newlyweds are now excitedly preparing for the arrival of their first baby - a son - in January next year (04).

01/12/2003 02:13