Jennifer Love Hewitt – 20 years ago when she was hot

                              July 2005 By Philip Berk

Her middle name may be Love, but that’s the one department she’s had least success with.

As an actress, Jennifer Love Hewitt won the hearts of audiences all over the world when she played Sarah on TV’s Party of Five

During its five year run she accepted a role in a low budget teenage horror movie called I Know What You Did Last Summer. 

That movie became a box office smash and spawned countless imitations.

She herself starred in one of them — I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

Then followed plum roles in Heartbreakers opposite Sigourney Weaver and The Devil and Daniel Webster opposite Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin and a costarring role opposite Jackie Chan in The Tuxedo.

But suddenly things went sour and she resigned herself to guest appearances in TV series.

Until Ghost Whisperer.

As star of CBS’s new hit series, her career is back in gear

And playing someone who can communicate with the recent dead. she enchanting!

At her press conference I tell her so.

But what’s with her love life!

Four years ago she told me it was on hold.

And yet there was a time when she was People magazine’s favorite female performer and the secret fantasy of every red blooded boy in America.

So what happened?

Well first there was that high profile romance with MTV’s heart throb Carson Daly.

The two of them became America’s perfect couple. For 18 months they professed undying love on television, all the while chaperoned by her mother.

She even accepted his engagement ring.

He talked to her, and about her, every day on his TV show Totally Live Request. 

But then suddenly it ended.

Carson found solace in the arms of Tara Reid, and Jennifer rebounded by dating the likes of Broadway actors Craig Bierko and Patrick Wilson and singers Rich Cronin and John Mayer.

At the time she wouldn’t talk about it?

“I’d rather talk about Jackie Chan,” she joked.

Is there anyone in her life at the moment?

“I don’t have a boyfriend, if that’s what you mean. Life would be more exciting if I did, but I don’t.”

Her numerous websites tell a different story.

“Contrary to what’s in  the papers every day — apparently I date ninety people at once and I have no time for a career because I am constantly dating — the truth is I can’t even remember the last time I went on a date, which is kind of sad. Guys don’t ask me out. Most of the time I have to ask them, which I hate because then I become the masculine part of the relationship, and they expect me to send them flowers on Valentine’s Day. So I am kind of waiting now. I am no longer asking anyone out. And if I’m ninety before I have my next date, that’s the way it’s going to be.” 

(Interestingly enough, when she was so moved by Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar acceptance speech for Shakespeare in Love, she sent her three dozen roses.)

What kind of man does she find sexy?

“A smile is a big thing for me. A guy with a great smile that can light up a room is always magical for me. I like the eyes a lot. A good butt never hurts. A good little squeezable booty is never bad. And I really like somebody who’s funny. Someone who’s really funny is very sexy.”

Could she be describing the current man in her life? I wonder.

He’s an actor, but you’ve never heard of him.

He’s done mostly bit parts.

He did a guest appearance on Ghost Whisper.

But now he accompanies her to the Oscars.

At her Ghost Whisperer press conference I ask her about him?

“He’s pretty extraordinary,” she tells me

Are you happy?

“I am very happy. He’s really lovely.”

Is she happy with the way her career is going? I ask her

Four years ago in answer to that question she told me. “I feel pretty good about it. But being  twenty three in this business is a weird place to find yourself. Parts that I want to do I’m not old enough to play and the parts that I’m right for I’ve already done. So the pickins are slim and who knows what my next job will be? That’s why I miss TV. Being able to exercise your acting muscles every day, which I did on Party of Five, was such a good experience for a young actor.” 

Prophetic words!

Now she replies,”The show has allowed me a really graceful way to say to people that I’m recognizable to you because you’ve grown up with me, but I am now your age; so I am not in high school anymore. I am not the same girl from Party of Five. Getting to play a Melinda (in Ghost Whisperer) has definitely helped. Jim and Melinda have a very adult marriage.  Melinda is a very responsible character. The show has given me a graceful way to move on. It’s been really lovely. This is not the entire reason I took the show, but it’s a factor.”

People used to joke that she still lived at home with her mom.

Does she still? I ask her. 

“No, I don’t live with my mom anymore,” she answers good-naturedly, “which I think is healthy. I’m sort of learning how to run a household, which is exciting.”

Is she still close to her mother and brother?

“That hasn’t changed. My relationship with my mom is still the greatest. God willing it will always be that way. She’s kind of my hero and one of the greatest people I’ve ever met, and it’s been good. Of course you go through phases as you get older  — some of them are really interesting — but we’ve been really lucky and stayed really close and loving. I am so grateful for that. And my brother is just Superman to me. He’s just the most extraordinary person. They really broke the mold after they made him. I feel really lucky to say I’m related to him. I just love him to pieces.”

Is he also single?

“No’s he’s recently married. He has a perfect wife of course, and they’re just perfect for each other. I want a nephew or a niece so bad, but they won’t do it just yet.”   

I remind her of her comment four years ago: “My mom always told me I would never meet a man quite worthy of how great she thinks I am.  So when I tell my boyfriends that, they seem to go away. I’m like, ‘My mom says that you will never be worthy,’ and they’re like, ‘Thanks, okay, well, see you later.’ What she’s really telling me is find somebody who will treat you with respect.”

So does her mother approve of Ross?

(That’s his name, her boyfriend, Ross McCall.)

“Yah, she does,” is her equivocal answer. “But you’ve got to remember, she’s my mom. It’s tough to get in here. We’re a threesome and a force to be reckoned with. My mom and my brother and I have been though a lot together. We’re very tight knit because of that. It’s not easy for someone coming in. They have to show they are worthy of being added to this group. it’s a very tough membership to earn and a loving place to be.”

Then tellingly she adds, “But my mom and my brother have a lot of respect for me, and I think I’m a pretty good judge of character. So it’s all right. It’s good. It’s fine.”

Had she known him before Ghost Whisperer?

“Not at all.”

So was it love at first sight?

“It was kind of boom bam. I have a lot of responsibilities on the show (she’s also a producer) so it was difficult focusing on this incredibly good looking man and getting my job done at the same time. P.S. The job always came first. But it was fun for us. It was great. What’s so awesome about it, it’s very rare you meet somebody that you really like and you get to spend eight days with 12 hours a day. He was a guest star that had a bigger part so he really got to be there quite a bit.  And we had to reshoot some stuff so it was lovely. We got to spend lots of time together, concentrated in the beginning. and it was nice, it was fun.”

Is she convincing herself?

I hope not. 

Do they have a lot in common?

“I think we’re very similar people although it’s our differences that makes it exciting to be around each other. We’re very much the same in the way that we’re both actors. People always say, ‘Oh he’s an actor. Are you okay with that? Is he always in the mirrors?’  As actors I think we’re very similar in that we really love our job, we both have to do our job, Neither of us should be doing anything else. But we’re not people that sit around only talking about what auditions we’ve been on or what meetings, or how were the ratings on Friday night? Although important. we definitely have other things to talk about. And we do silly things. We like to go to the zoo. We really try to make each other people. I forget that he’s an actor, and I hope he forgets that I’m an actress on a TV show. It’s lovely. I’ve never had quite a relationship like that. It’s been good for me, and I feel good about knowing who I am separate from anything else and that’s really a lovely gift he’s given me.”

So what has she learned for herself?

“Don’t lose who you are, don’t change who you are just to meld with another person. That’s the only way you will ever survive in a real relationship. Find somebody who truly loves you for who you are. That’s the greatest thing I’ve learned.” I find that really helps me be true to myself, which is one of the hardest things for me to do.”

Hopefully she’s found him.

Brought up by her mother (her parents divorced when she was a toddler) she never knew her father.

“I don’t have much of a relationship with him. I don’t really talk about him much.”

Did she miss having a father figure as a young girl?

“The great thing if you don’t have a dad around is there’s all these sort of amazing men that kind of come out of the woodwork for you. I don’t feel I’ve missed out in any way. I have lots of fun dads that take care of me.”

Obviously she’s referring to the many people she’s worked with from the age of nine, when her first professional job was on the Texas Show Team. 

Her recording career is very important to her.

Her last album four years ago provocatively titled Barenaked landed her on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

Was that exciting?

“Being on the cover of Rolling Stone is probably a dream for anyone. I was on the cover a few years before, but that was different. I was there strictly as an actress. This time it was as a musician; so I thought it quite an honor especially since I had spent so much time working on that album.”

Why is singing so important to her?

“Music is such a universal thing. It fulfills something that acting doesn’t. I really do believe that. As an actor you’re challenged to play characters that are not yourself, but when you sing a song or you write a song, you’re closer to your heart and spirit than you could ever be; and that’s important to me.”

Would she give up one for the other?

“No because I love them both.”

Is she working on an album right now?

“I’ve been too busy with the show. And I would never want to do anything that would tarnish what I consider my greatest passion. I would really love to come out with a record that people really felt inspired by. But only when I have something to say would I consider doing it.”  

Does she have any beauty secrets?

“On the set they take really good care of me, but when I’m home I use an inexpensive moisturizer sold at any drug store which keeps my skin clear. It costs less than $2.00. I’m pretty simple. I don’t spend a lot of time on it.”

And how does she keep in shape?

“I workout with my brother. He’s my trainer. It’s a fun way to spend time together. We workout  four days a week. He knows a lot about that stuff. He plays football and rugby. He’s also a chiropractor. But I try not to spend too much time on that. But to be honest, at the end of the day I am sick of me so I just wash my face and get away from the mirror for a while.”

How about shopping

“Oh, I’m a shopaholic. I love it the way people love chocolate. But rather than buy something too expensive I borrow and wear it one night.”

How would she describe her style? 

”Pretty casual. For me comfort is the big thing.  It’s important that the person is wearing the clothes, not the clothes wearing the person. I’m kind of a jeans and t-shirt girl most of the time, Although I like high heels because I’m short.”

How short ?

“Five foot two inch.”

And your house, do you prefer modern?

“I call it shabby-chic. I like to be comfortable. I furnish my house with inexpensive, casual comfy stuff. My life now is kind of crazy; so the more my life can be relaxed and chilled the better.”  

Any plans for marriage?

“Oh gosh I have no idea. I’d have to get some time off first.”

And kids?

“I would absolutely love to have kids one day but not anywhere near.”

Is she still mad at the tabloids?

“The only time they really annoyed me was when they reported that I had dumped a previous boyfriend (Boy Meets World’s Will Friedle) for Carson Daly. That was hard to stomach because it was not true. I don’t leave people for other people. There was a big gap in time before I started seeing Carson. And Will is, first and foremost, a good friend, and there’s no way that I would ever intentionally break somebody’s heart.”