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New & Noteworthy: You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger . . .

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Eileen Murphy

Don’t let all that peace and love and spirituality stuff fool you. U2 singer Bono Hewson is one tough li’l hombre. Bullies and troublemakers in particular will want to beware of getting too close to that famous forehead. But wait, we’re getting ahead of the story.

In the latest issue of British GQ magazine, the 41-year-old singer admits to getting into the occasional alcohol-fueled brawl.

“I wouldn’t like to go into the details,” he told the magazine. “But if I am drinking and someone is being an arsehole, then it’s likely.

“I mean, it’s not cool and it’s not something I’m proud of, but sometimes it just happens,” he said. “It’s probably little-guy syndrome.”

Bono admits that his fighting has “cost him a few bob along the way,” but said he feels that it’s a small price to pay for butting bullies in their place. And just in case you were wondering, his favorite move is the forehead slam.

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“That’s the specialty,” he admitted proudly. “I’m famous for it.” Probably because, being vertically challenged, he either leaps two feet into the air before delivering the blow, or he just head butts his opponent in the gut rather than in the face. Either way, we’re sure he’s quite ferocious.

And just in case you thought that all of Bono’s brawls take place outside the warm cocoon of the band — Nuh-uhh-uhh. Apparently, the U2 boys have been known to throw a punch or two at one another. Hey — after 20-odd years of togetherness, even a saint would get on your nerves, right?

“Edge has attempted to take me out on a couple of occasions,” Bono said. “But [Edge, Larry and Adam] are generally very peaceable, non-violent people.” Most of them have learned to avoid Bono’s forehead like they would a recording session for “Passengers: Part Two.”

Have case, will travel

It seems that everyone, no matter how famous, is feeling the after-effects of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers — best remembered for his performances in “Gormenghast” and as the spy in “Michael Collins,” was detained for questioning while at an Italian airport last week. Rhys Meyers, who maintains an apartment in Morocco, was waiting to board a Royal Air Morocco flight when security guards at the Milan airport got suspicious.

“I guess they just saw a guy on his own with a steel case,” the actor told the Sunday Independent, “and [they] thought they should check me out.”

They took me off and questioned me for three hours,” he continued.

“Finally, they let me go when they realized I was Irish and not one of Bin Laden’s boys.”

In happier news, we hear that Jonathan is arse over tete in love with Sasha Singh, an anthropology student.

“We are madly in love and got engaged ages ago,” the actor said. “[But] we kept it quiet, as we just like to keep things to ourselves.” The pair plans to marry “soon,” since, as Jon purred in the “Gormenghast” commercials, “The time has come.”

‘Bridget’ snares ‘Swooney’

Looks like George “Swooney” Clooney’s days as a singleton are numbered — at least if “Bridget Jones” star Renee Zellweger’s has her way.

We hear that the hunky actor — really, the only person on earth who actually looked good in that Cesar haircut — and the perky actress have been holed up in his California pad. Friends say that Bridge . . . er, Renee, hopes to join the ranks of the Smug Marrieds sometime soon, but some fear she’ll have a hard time convincing the swinging bachelor.

Clooney’s best pal, Tommy Hinkley, told People.com, “Renee has been up at the house with George loads of times recently.” (The lucky cow!)

“They are definitely hanging out a lot and seeing each other,” said Hinkley. “I like Renee loads — she is such fun, a charming person.”

Unfortunately for Renee, “George has said that he won’t get married,” Hinkley revealed. But the star’s pal is definitely in Renee’s corner.

“I hope he settles down with her because I know how wonderful it is to be loved,” said the pal a bit wistfully. “But that is George’s choice.”

Well, for what it’s worth, we think that Renee might want to cozy up to George’s real love — Max, his pot-bellied pig, since they say the way to a man’s heart is through his chubby pets. Or, come Christmas, she might find herself back at the turkey curry buffet, looking for a man in a reindeer vest.

Breifings

Big-hearted talk-show titan Rosie O’Donnell, who was the first big-name celeb to donate $1 million to the Red Cross in the aftermath of the terrorist attack, has quietly donated another $1 million to the organization.

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