Bar and Leo fend off photographers

By the time violence broke out between DiCaprio's bodyguards and the paparazzi, it was clear the excitement had gone too far.

By MIRIAM SHAVIV
March 13, 2007 10:45
2 minute read.
bar rafaeli leo dicaprio 88

bar rafaeli leo dicaprio. (photo credit: )

 
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It's unlikely that Bar Rafaeli ever expected the kind of homecoming she received this week. The 21-year-old Israeli supermodel has been romantically linked with Oscar-nominated movie star Leonardo DiCaprio, 32, for the past year and a half, and has been hounded by paparazzi ever since she landed in Israel with her famous boyfriend on Sunday. Rafaeli took DiCaprio home to Hod HaSharon, where, unsurprisingly, photographers awaited them at every corner. The couple was spotted by the media before they even landed, due to the unfortunate coincidence of being on the same flight from Frankfurt as a group of Israeli reporters returning from a "Mamma Mia" musical junket in Ireland. Local photographers saw dollar signs all over the twosome's visit and weren't about to allow a single shot escape them. There is no question that the media were out in full force. Entertainment talk show host Guy Pines went so far as to rent a helicopter to acquire the perfect picture. But by the time violence broke out between DiCaprio's bodyguards and the paparazzi, it was clear the excitement had gone too far. Rafaeli just wanted DiCaprio to get a taste of her country and heritage, first taking him (along with her close family) to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. Yad Vashem opened its doors Monday especially to give then a tour in English, and Leo was reportedly moved by his visit. The trouble only began later that evening, when they made their way to the Western Wall's Kotel tunnels. Groups of photographers awaited them at both tunnel exits, and when their private tour ended, DiCaprio's bodyguards and several photographers clashed violently. How exactly the fisticuffs started is still a source of contention. An Associated Press reporter allegedly had his nose broken and others were mildly injured. Eli Mendelbaum, a Yediot Aharonot photographer, said he was innocently awaiting the couple in an effort to do his job "without bothering anyone" when the muscle-bound bodyguards brutally pushed him to the ground. The moment the couple exited the tunnels, he said, the bodyguards began beating people. A number of journalists claimed they were punched and their equipment was damaged. Others say Bar Rafaeli's father was actually the source of the trouble, provoking and bullying the photographers. Following the fracas, police detained the bodyguards for questioning and took testimonies from the photographers. However, Bar and Leo were ostensibly unfazed by the hubbub, and they attended her brother Neal's 31st birthday that same night at a Tel Aviv club. Traveling alternately in a dark blue Jeep Pajero and a white van, the drivers were apparently instructed to drive directly to the club's entrance to sneak them in as easily as possible. Steel gates had already been prepared at the club to maintain a barrier between the couple and the trailing paparazzi.

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