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Sean Penn scared off by Scarlett Johansson’s ‘intensity’

Sean Penn fresh from divorce lasted only five months romance with “very emotionally needy” Scarlett Johansson. | Andreas Rentz~Getty Images

Sean Penn, fresh from a divorce, lasted only five months in a romance with the “very emotionally needy” Scarlett Johansson. | Andreas Rentz~Getty Images

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Updated: August 3, 2011 6:07PM

Those who should know say that Scarlett Johansson came on a bit too strongly with Sean Penn — essentially scaring off the two-time Oscar winner, who initially was understandably attracted to the beautiful actress.

A source close to Penn said Thursday that the actor started to “totally freak out” when “a very emotionally needy” Johansson started moving in too quickly on the edgy actor and political activist.

A second source, explaining why Penn called off the affair after five months, said, “Sean is simply not ready for a long-term or very serious relationship, given it’s too soon since he and Robin [Wright] divorced. . . . Scarlett’s intensity just scared him — which is kind of funny, given how intense Sean is.”

THE CAGE CASE: The charges are flying back and forth regarding that very public brawl in a Los Angeles restaurant between Weston Cage and his former personal trainer, onetime wrestling coach Kevin Villegas, who also is a martial-arts expert. The son of Oscar winner Nicolas Cage has indicated he will press charges against Villegas, who beat the younger Cage badly before the cops arrived and Cage was taken to a local hospital for a “mental evaluation.”

† According to a couple of sources, there are indications that steroids may have been part of the problem — quickly fueling hot tempers.

† Friends of Weston Cage report the heavy metal musician has recently exhibited frequent angry outbursts — without any warning — plus bizarre behavior that indicated a disjointed thought process.

† At this point, L.A. police will say only they are investigating the situation and the possibility of charges against both Cage and Villegas.

SAFETY IN NUMBERS? Former “American Idol” contestant Chris Medina — who won huge admiration for his devotion to brain-injured fiancée Juliana Ramos — is teaming up with the Metropolis Ballroom in Arlington Heights for a special group wedding project. Medina and his band, the Able Body, will perform at a Sept. 9 ceremony for 25 couples — featuring Medina’s famous love song, “What Are Words.” For details on the complete wedding package and how to sign up, go to and click the entertainment tab.

WILD WORDS: Lupe Fiasco’s comments on CBS about President Obama being a “terrorist” have led to a significant increase in the size of the Chicago rapper’s security detail, to protect him from people upset by his accusations.

While some Fiasco supporters are concerned the anti-Obama rant may lead to him losing gigs, a source close to the rapper told me, “This will blow over. . . . Plus, Lupe’s fans don’t care about politics.”

AGENDA ACTION: According to Vince Vaughn’s mom, Sharon, the actor loved watching Garfield Goose while growing up on the North Shore — so it’s too bad Vince is busy shooting a film and can’t check out Garfield Goose and his TV friends at the open house/preview Thursday of the new Museum of Broadcast Communications, where other childhood favorites like Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd will be on display.

SPECIAL PEOPLE: Four Chicagoans who have made immeasurable contributions to Our Town — broadcasters Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra, philanthropist Renee Crown and early childhood development pioneer Barbara Bowman — were honored Wednesday with “Making History” awards, presented annually by the Chicago Historical Society. Also honored was ITW, represented by company CEO David Speer, who wisely toasted his firm’s huge work force by bringing Holocaust survivor Larry Shelton — a 63-year ITW employee — with him to the dinner.

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett was clearly thrilled to have a one-night break from the nation’s problems to come home to present an award to Bowman, who happens to be her mom. Noting her mother’s passion for her life’s work, Jarrett joked, “She spent all the time in the car coming here lobbying me for more funds for early childhood development programs! . . . She was into multi-tasking before that term was in vogue.”

SEEN ON THE SCENE: “Boss” star Kelsey Grammer stopped at Le Colonial for dinner with friends — happily greeting fans at a nearby table. . . . Laurence Fishburne and (separately) NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler dined at Gibsons steakery, while Walter Jacobson made the scene on Gibsons’ Rush Street patio. . . . Among recent sightings at JBar at the James Hotel were rapper Big Boi of Outkast (who entertained guests by briefly playing door host), plus pro hoopsters Pierre Pierce, Julian Wright and Bull Taj Gibson, plus Bear Freddie Barnes, while teammate Roberto Garza chowed down at neighboring David Burke’s Primehouse.

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