Russell Crowe's new wife has ordered her husband to turn down a lucrative movie offer - because it would see him teaming up with one-time love MEG RYAN.

Australian Danielle Spencer, who is pregnant with the couple's first child, has banned her Gladiator husband from taking up the staggering $24 million (GBP15 million) paycheque for new film MIDLIFE CRISIS, despite his being offered a percentage of the profits as well.

Hollywood duo Meg and Russell had a high-profile romance on the set of 2000 drama Proof of Life. Meg's marriage to Dennis Quaid collapsed and the affair soon fizzled out - but Spencer, who dated Crowe before he hit Hollywood, is still keen to keep her man away from the When Harry Met Sally beauty.

A source tells British tabloid THE DAILY STAR, "The film's a drama but is also extremely funny. That's why they wanted to team up Russell and Meg - he's the king of drama and she's the queen of comedy.

"Danielle just wasn't comfortable with the idea of Russell working with Meg. She obviously didn't want history repeating itself. She still feels a bit raw where Meg's concerned. She may have forgiven what went on but she hasn't forgotten.

"Russell bowed to her wishes and turned the studio honchos down. It's a sign that he is growing up and is trying to put his wildman ways behind him.

"Danielle's been good for him and he doesn't want to do anything to hurt her."

12/09/2003 02:11