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Odd Hollywood hook-ups

There is no accounting for sexual chemistr y, and this is obvious in celebrity land where stars form what appear to be odd couples

Scarlett Johansson and Sean Penn were first described as “undercover lovers” by Us Weekly magazine in Februar y. Immediately following Vicky Cristina Barcelona star Johansson’s split from actor Ryan Reynolds in December, she and Penn began seeing each other, according to the mag.

Their first hook-up was reportedly in Scarlett’s bungalow at the Chateau Marmont hotel in LA at the beginning of January.

It was a photograph which finally confirmed that Johansson (26) is indeed enjoying an intimate relationship with 50-year-old craggy-faced Penn, who most famously was married to Madonna, and for years seemed to have settled with his second wife, the actress Robin Wright. They divorced last year.

Johansson was photographed resting her foot on Penn’s lap during a lunch at Cuban restaurant Versailles in LA at the beginning of this month. Meanwhile, it’s reported that Johansson has been telling friends that she thinks Penn is an incredible actor and “an amazing human being who cares about politics and the world”.

The 24-year gap in their ages, along with the discrepancy in their images — blonde bombshell who last year GQ magazine named Babe of the Year versus the rugged hellraiser — have left many people surprised by this Hollywood hook-up.

Rebound

Rumours kicked off that Welsh actor Rhys Ifans and Anna Friel, who rose to fame as Beth Jordache in Channel 4 soap Brookside before going to Hollywood, were dating when he was spotted outside her London home wearing nothing but a dressing gown.

The 43-year-old Welsh actor, who is getting a bit of a reputation as a rebound guy after dating Sienna Miller and Kimberly Stewart when they also came out of long-term relationships, is thought to have grown close to Friel (34) when they were filming the Sky TV movie Neverland late last year.

It was shortly after Anna confirmed her split from actor David Thewlis, who she had been with for nine years and is the father of her five-year-old daughter Gracie.

Pushing Daisies actress Friel, who once dated Robbie Williams, is noted for her penchant for scruffily attractive men who don’t always match up to her looks.

She has admitted that she and Thewlis did not have a conventional partnership, saying, “He’s 13 years older than me. We have our own properties and we’re not married.”

Ifans and Friel were photographed together outside the actress's Hollywood home earlier this month. Stylish Friel was wearing a short, striped dress, cream coat and ballet flats, while Ifans was attired in a black leather biker jacket, jeans and a black cap.

Meanwhile, Mama Mia! star Amanda Seyfried and actor Ryan Phillippe have been rumoured to be on and off since they met at Kate Hudson’s Hallowe’en party last October. Seyfried (26) recently admitted to Elle magazine that she is having a relationship with Phillippe (35). “Um, yeah. I’ve been ‘seen’ with him,” Seyfried said about their relationship.

Now it’s reported that Phillippe’s former girlfriend Alexis Knapp is pregnant with his child. The model and actress (26) split from the Cruel Intentions star Phillippe six months ago before he started dating Seyfried.

Amanda, who is considered one of the most beautiful and promising stars of her generation, and who has had a fairly uncomplicated personal life to date, also has to contend with Phillippe having two children with his ex-wife Reese Witherspoon. He has said he will take a DNA test to find out whether he is the father of Knapp’s baby.