Meg Ryan … and ‘The Gladiator’?

It’s not really a split ’til the British tabs weigh in with their versions of things, is it? And because we are, we confess, weak to the ways of the British tabs, we bring you this: Recently separated Meg Ryan and “GladiatorRussell Crowe are “incredibly fond of each other.” Now, we’re not sure if “incredibly fond” is stiff-upper-lip code for “hot and heavy,” we just know that the U.K. tabs are dogpiling on this week’s revelation that Ryan and longtime hubby Dennis Quaid have called a time out.

London’s Sun says Ryan has been taken with Crowe, with whom she’s shooting the flick, “Proof of Life,” in (where else?) Britain.

“Meg and Ryan are extremely close … They just click,” a source tells the paper.

Ryan and Quaid’s camp declined to detail the reasons behind the couple’s separation after more than nine years of marriage.

If rumor of a Ryan/Crowe coupling is shocking, consider all those stateside tab readers who’ve been lapping up those curious tab reports of a Crowe/Jodie Foster pairing.

Of course, it’s not just British wags who are running with the Ryan/Crowe story. Last week, E! Online gossip Ted Casablanca noted that the two stars were spotted sharing a cigarette during a stroll in New York City.