Madonna is said to have cajoled husband Guy Ritchie into attending the Brits to silence speculation over the state of their marriage. But at a recent pre-Oscars dinner hosted by Jamie Oliver in LA's Soho House the shoe was very much on the other foot, with Guy making it clear to anyone watching that the Ritchies are very much together.
As other celebs such as Helena Christensen and the Hilton sisters looked on, the film director nestled up to his wife of five years, putting an affectionate arm around her and then planting a kiss on her sleek blonde locks.
With everything from Kabbalah to Madonna's career blamed for tensions between the couple, Guy, who has something of a macho reputation, appeared to be underlining that the singer is still the lady for him.
The pair and their family are in America for months of rehearsals before Madonna's Confessions tour. And those close to her, including father Silvio Ciccone, are confident they will ride out any difficulties. "I think she's trying to be a good wife," he declared. "I'm proud she's been able to keep the marriage going, and she's a good mother, too."
Despite the clashes of two strong personalities, the Material Girl also regards her English husband as essential to her happiness. "Guy and I are happy," she told an American chum. "Yes, we have our problems, but we have so much more."