Actor Billy Crudup admits his real-life romance with Stage Beauty co-star Claire Danes was initially "painful", because they were both in longterm relationships.

Crudup, 36, and 25-year-old Danes were settled in seven-year relationships - with actress Mary-Louise Parker and Australian rocker Ben Lee respectively - when shooting started, but an intense chemistry between the pair was soon sparked.

And after working on the movie in London, both left their partners and set up home together in New York.

Crudup says, "It was the last thing that I expected to happen.

"It took us completely by surprise and its been a difficult and painful process."

Mary-Louise gave birth to their first child in January this year (04) and named him WILLIAM, after his father.

13/09/2004 17:35