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Has Russell Crowe been hiding a gentlemanly side? The ornery Oscar winner leaped to defend the honor of Dita Von Teese amid rumblings that they recently shared an early morning rubdown-a-deux at a luxury hotel.

It all began when the New York Post claimed Crowe, who reportedly parted ways with wife Danielle Spencer in October after nine years and two sons together, was spied with the burlesque queen last month at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York. They supposedly indulged in a "romantic couple's massage" at 6:30 a.m.

The sighting followed a few flirtatious tweets from Russell, 48, who apparently reposted some of Dita's more titillating messages referencing her Hermes riding crop and her garter belts.

But Crowe, who earlier denied reports of a hotel rendezvous with Billy Joel's foodie ex-wife Katie Lee (he called the whispers "false and cruel"), once again insists nothing untoward is going on.

Dita "is brave, smart, sweet and elegant," he tweeted. "She is a friend of mine. Who wouldn't want friends like that? Friends, not lovers."

So, to recap: The newly single famous actor is just pals with the beautiful pin-up known for rolling around mostly naked in a supersized martini glass. Got it.

For her part, Von Teese, 40, doesn't appear to have a type, although her last two romances were with significantly younger men. The former missus of Marilyn Manson split with easy-on-the-eyes French aristocrat Louis-Marie de Castelbajac in early 2012. She was last linked to British pop singer Theo Hutchcraft.

Crowe, meanwhile, skipped Sunday's Golden Globes to spend time in Australia with his sons, Charles, 9, and Tennyson, 6.


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