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Private Sydney: What a week for Packer!

The past seven days have been a gossip columnists dream. All thanks to the James Packer and David Gyngell punchup. Andrew Hornery explains.

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Billionaire bruiser James Packer has shot down rumours claiming it was he who shelled out the $250,000 to buy the 50-plus photos and video of his street brawl with his former best man David Gyngell and ''gifted'' them to his friend Lachlan Murdoch's News Corp in return for being portrayed in a positive light.

A spokesman for Packer told PS the claim ''was absolutely untrue and ridiculous''.

When PS approached Murdoch with the same question, it was passed on to the powers that be at News Corp, which declined to provide an on-the-record comment.

James Packer was said to be "looking very pleased" after a trip to the News Corp offices.

James Packer was said to be "looking very pleased" after a trip to the News Corp offices. Photo: Rob Homer

However, PS was informed the company was still awaiting an ''invoice'' from the paparazzo who sold the images. All 54 photos purchased were published and it was the company's editors who chose how the images were used - no one else - the company said.

It was Murdoch and Packer's trusted lieutenant, former Herald editor-in-chief and current executive deputy chairman of Packer's Crown Resorts, John Alexander, who spent an hour with Packer on Monday just before it became public that News Corp would publish the images. A few hours later Murdoch made a rare appearance at News Corp's Holt Street bunker, and was said to be ''looking very pleased''.

Considerable commentary has been given to the somewhat favourable coverage Packer has been given in the News Corp press, compared with its treatment of Gyngell.

Blessed: Jessica Hart appears in <i>Harper's Bazaar Australia.</i>

Blessed: Jessica Hart appears in Harper's Bazaar Australia. Photo: Harper's Bazaar Australia

PS hears Gyngell was particularly underwhelmed by his treatment on Wednesday's front page of The Daily Telegraph, featuring an image of the Nine Entertainment chief executive under the headline ''I'm the Thug''.

Gyngell has denied saying any such words, while Telegraph editor Paul Whittaker is yet to return PS's calls on the matter.

However, Gyngell has also told his closest associates that since Sunday's bust-up on the streets of Bondi Beach, he has had more contact with Packer than he has in months. Indeed Gyngell's wife, Leila McKinnon, has kept close contact with Packer's former wife, Erica, throughout her ''difficult'' divorce with the businessman.

In touch: Roxy Jacenko leaving the delivery room after the birth of Hunter Curtis, from her Instagram feed.

In touch: Roxy Jacenko leaving the delivery room after the birth of Hunter Curtis, from her Instagram feed.

While Packer and Gyngell's friendship is far from fully recovered, the recent dialogue is considered - on both sides - as something of a ''breakthrough''.

Gyngell has been absent from Packer's ''circle of influence'' for some time, the former opting for a more domestic life in Sydney with his wife and their growing family, while Packer has travelled the world spruiking his casinos and launching himself as a self-styled Hollywood mogul-playboy with business partner Brett Ratner. Packer and showbiz party boy Ratner have taken up Frank Sinatra's former offices on the Warner Bros lot.

Along with Ratner, Murdoch and Alexander, others who are said to have Packer's ear these days include television presenter Karl Stefanovic, who was among those who slipped through the media pack on Monday to visit the billionaire at Bondi, former Labor power player Mark Arbib, Kerry Packer's old poker buddy Ben Tilley and Deutsche Bank high-flyer

Rob Rankin.

But perhaps it was the presence of Packer's much-loved mother Ros at his Bondi home on Tuesday morning that was the most telling, given what an emotional roller-coaster the week had been for the billionaire (topped off on Thursday with the arrival of Erica with their youngest daughter Emmanuelle).

No doubt Ros had sage words for her son.

Roxy Jacenko announces birth of baby boy with new Instagram hashtag

Tireless publicist Roxy Jacenko welcomed a new hashtag into the world this week, uploading #HunterCurtis on to her social media feed moments after being wheeled out of the delivery room at Randwick's Prince of Wales Hospital.

Apparently she had a baby boy too - but he was tucked inside a blanket and is yet to make an appearance in Jacenko's extraordinary Instagram feed.

But he better get ready, his big sister, two-year-old Pixie Rose, has been a prolific blogger since she left her mother's womb. When she was just eight months old, Pixie Rose (P-R, get it?) was busy updating her own fashion blog, including one memorable entry about sitting front row at a Dora the Explorer show. Seriously.

Never one to let childbirth get in the way of a busy schedule, mum Roxy was doing radio interviews from her hospital bed, even telling Fitzy and Wippa on Nova that she would have to evict her old Celebrity Apprentice chum Stephanie Rice if she dared to visit.

From what PS hears, she need not worry about any such visit taking place … ever.

Meanwhile Roxy's husband, stockbroker Oliver Curtis, is set to have a busy few months ahead, standing trial on November 3 over charges of insider trading.

Last month Curtis entered a plea of not guilty at an arraignment hearing on charges he traded illegally to make a $1 million profit. He is now on bail.

Don't dare raise affair of Hart

She was photographed wearing a diamond ring on her engagement finger last year, but don't expect Australian model Jessica Hart to spill the beans on her money bags boyfriend, Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos III.

The model, who has graced the pages of Sports Illustrated and appeared in the coveted Victoria's Secret runway shows, appears in next week's edition of Harper's Bazaar magazine.

But it is not her wealthy boyfriend who she is keen to talk about, but rather her dietary and exercise routine that she thanks for her much photographed curves.

In fact, PS hears the topic of Niarchos is strictly ''off limits'', though he certainly is an interesting character, worth a reported $100 million and romantically linked to such leading ladies as Lindsay LohanMary-Kate Olsen and, for many years, Paris Hilton.

Quite a catch, right?

But no, Hart only wants to talk about fruit juices and workout programs, apparently oblivious to the genetic lottery that has blessed both her and her sister, fellow model Ashley, and helped them earn millions of dollars as international models.

According to Hart: ''After so many years of learning to look after myself, I was forced to get to know my body.''

Judging by the accompanying photos, the two have clearly become great friends.

Meanwhile, from what scant details exist on her relationship with Niarchos, PS hears the three-year relationship is still going strong, the pair most recently attending the fairytale wedding of minor Euro royal Andrea Casiraghi and Tatiana Santo Domingo in Gstaad, Switzerland.

 

NIC'S OTHER NAME

Well, it's a greater mouthful than simply ''Nic''. Our Nicole Kidman has told the US InStyle magazine that her husband Keith Urban calls her by her Hawaiian name: Hokulani. Born on the island of Oahu, Kidman says her mother, Janelle, gave her the name, which, according to the Oscar winner means ''heavenly star''. Indeed Hokulani is the name the actor gave to the multimillion-dollar cruiser she has been seen zipping about on in Sydney Harbour when she is home for a visit.

MAKING HEADLINES

It was not the first time Sydney paparazzo Brendan Beirne, the photographer who sold 54 photos (though police later seized 300 ) of the Packer-Gyngell barney for nearly $250,000, has been in the headlines. Back in 2012 PS revealed it was Beirne who caused some grief in Bali at Jodi Gordon and Braith Anasta's wedding - the couple had sold the rights to Woman's Day magazine. Gordon and Anasta had no less than 16 SAS-level private guards stationed at the resort in Uluwatu, where the wedding took place, and they discovered Beirne in the bush adjacent to the cliff-top Itsana resort taking photos. The security guards had been particularly heavy-handed with the photographer, demanding that camera memory cards be handed over. But only two cards were actually confiscated. A third card was unaccounted for, causing some angst - the Woman's Day representative was overheard demanding a ''cavity search''. Luckily for Beirne, the guards ignored the request.

TANNER TO LEAVE FIRM

Respected Sydney architect Howard Tanner has announced he is leaving his practice - TKD - after more than 40 years. Tanner has ranked as one of Sydney's top heritage architects, having worked on the restoration of notable properties such as the Potts Point landmark Rockwall House.