Mon, May 07, 2007 - Page 9 News List

Stars turn to matchmakers to find love

Tired of finding their love lives the fodder for tabloids, actors and other celebrities are reportedly turning to professional fixer-uppers to help them meet potential partners

By Sharon Waxman  /  NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , LOS ANGELES

"Having spent a lot of time in California, the caliber of women you get in the Hollywood community -- these are models, actresses -- they're airheads, essentially," he said. "If you're in the mode for a serious relationship, you have to go beyond the airhead."

But it is tough on celebrities, he said, because they never know why others are attracted to them.

"Is it the person? Or is it the celebrity? What is there? That's why a lot of men end up with their secretary," he said.

Female celebrities often want a man who is successful in his own right, especially an entrepreneur or "someone of power," Adler said.

Men "are looking for someone who's not a diva," she said.

"Someone down to earth, sweet, warm," she added. "Someone to make babies with."

And, in both cases, celebrities often want someone who is willing to take a supporting role, and not step into their limelight.

Tamara Rawitt, a producer of In Living Color and other shows, has watched many of her celebrity couple friends break up.

"Two alphas do not equal a functional relationship in any field, and these stars all have the `egola' virus. It's very hard when you're in the radar of the egola virus," she said.

In recent years numerous celebrities have said publicly that they have had enough of entertainment inbreeding, and yearn to escape the nonstop attention inside the Hollywood bubble. After watching his longtime friend Ben Affleck become weekly fodder for the tabloids, Matt Damon swore a few years ago he'd never date an actress again. He is now wed to Luciana Barroso, an Argentine former bartender.

Nicolas Cage, previously married to actress Patricia Arquette and entertainment royalty Lisa Marie Presley, has more recently married Alice Kim, a former waitress. Chris O'Donnell, a tabloid presence when he was single, has a peaceful life below the radar since marrying a schoolteacher, Caroline Fentress, in 1997.

The desire for more privacy, and for some semblance of normalcy, is widespread. Sharon Stone, for one, divorced from the San Francisco newspaper editor Phil Bronstein and living back in Los Angeles, has told close friends that she wants to find a partner outside of entertainment.

The rise of dating reality shows and online dating services like match.com may make the prospect of a fix-up seem less strange, even to a celebrity.

Daniels, 37, fixed up Nick Cannon, the heart-throb star of Drumline, for a date that was televised on Extra. And in February, relationship guru Dr. Phil McGraw sent Paula Abdul, the sometimes-loopy American Idol judge, on a blind date, then analyzed the evening for a Valentine's Day special.

But why would a celebrity, who draws the constant attention of strangers, need help meeting people? Professional matchmakers say that actors' crazy-quilt schedules, the fear of "gotcha" videos and -- frankly -- pride make it more difficult for celebrities to meet suitable partners than the average person.

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