Cosmopolitan - July 1999

 

We Found Leo

 

Titanic made him one of the most recognized actors in the world, but somehow, in the year and a half that followed, Leo managed to hide out...almost. Aided by our able spies, moles, and women on the street, we reveal where the gorgeous guy has been -- and exactly what he's been up to.

By Lauren Thomas

If you're at all like the rest of us, renting Titanic just doesn't count as enough of a Leo fix to make up for the long months that the mega-hunk has been off the radar screen. So where has Hollywood's hottest heartthrob been hiding since he went down with the luxury liner? Short of a blink-and-you'll-miss-him role in Woody's Allen Celebrity last fall --- oh yeah, and that Iron Mask movie where he doubled our pleasure by playing twins -- Leo's been doing what most normal 24-year-old males do : Party-hopping with his pals, getting his romantic life on track, and taking in the Star Wars craze. Cosmo's been on his tail, and we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what our favorite babe's been up to.

When the Partying Went Too Far

After all of the box-office records were broken, the money was made, and the big boat headed to Blockbuster, it was time for Leo to take a break, and that's just what he did. During his year off before beginning his shoot in Thailland for the up-coming The Beach. Leo spent time living it up at such favorite New York City hot spots as Lot 61, B Bar, and Moomba with friends like mind-bending magician David Blaine, actors Lukas Haas and Tobey Maguire, and freaky Gummo filmaker Harmony Korine. And why shouldn't he? His posse of friends seems to take care of everything from making the reservations to holding his money (literally).

"Leo wants a place where his privacy won't be compromised," says Jeffrey Jah, a promotions director at the downtown New York club Life. "At Life, he knows there's always a table for him. There's always a VIP room with people like Mariah Carey, Puff Daddy, and Janet Jackson. Plus, no photographers are allowed inside." And that's probably a good thing, considering that at times, the fun goes beyond just hanging out and having a couple of vodka and pineapple juices (Leo's cocktail of choice).

Take the night last year when Leo and his friends were dining at Asia DeCuba in NYC. One of the guys in the group had been begging actress Elizabeth Berkley (Showgirls) to join them for dinner. After she refused several times by phone, Berkley's live-in boyfriend, actor-screenwriter Roger Wilson, went to the restaurant to defend his love. Before anyone knew it, Wilson and the whole Leo gang took the matter outside. But as soon as the first upunch was thrown, the publicity-savvy posse hightailed it back inside -- they knew any Leo-related skirmish could wind up in the tabloids. (Leo and his pals were broadsided a few months ago with a $45 million lawsuit from Wilson for his injuries. DiCaprio's lawyers expect full vindication.)

It became clear that things were getting out of control in New York City and a change was needed. The West Coast was poised to take over and show DiCaprio and crew a good time. At Hollwood's Mondrian Hotel, room service has a standing order to keep Leo and the lads fully stocked with Marlboro Lights, beer, and Ding Dongs.

"He's always in a VIP room with people like Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson"

 

Girls, Girls, Girls

Of course, no young male entourage would be complete without a bevy of supermodel beauties. "I've seen women crumble around him," Jan Admits. "I've seen supermodels go nuts." How busy in bed has Leo Been? For every woman that he supposedly has been with, there are at least two others who claim to have been with him. Last Year, there was a report in a London Tabloid saying that Leo took supermodel Bridget Hall's virginity (the two were seen together a lot in 1994 and 1995). DiCaprio's people said they were unaware of a sexual relationship, while Hall's people said, "This is so,so not true."

But some of the models have their own agenda. Says one friend of Leo's. "One night, we were at a club. Leo talked with a young blond model for maybe 15 minutes, and that was it -- he never even kissed her. The next day, her photo was in the papers as 'Leo's latest conquest.' You know the model just left the club and phoned her agent who sent her photo out."

Most recently, there were reports that Leonardo-- half a world away in Thailand, filming The Beach--impregnated his gorgeous costar, Virginie Ledoyen. Again, DiCaprio's camp denied allegations.

If Leo was miffed by these rumors, so too, no doubt, was his girlfriend, swimsuit model Kristen Zang, 24. The couple, who started dating again last fall after a two-year break, is said to be strong now. But not without a struggle. The two dated before DiCaprio boarded the Titanic project, but Zang broke it off, saying he needed to grow up. No stranger to heartache herself, she's being extra careful not to get hurt. (She dated Nicolas Cage and he took her to the 1995 Oscars, only to marry Patricia Arquette a week later.)

Friends of Zang claim she is insisting Leo to stop his night-crawling and spend more time with her. At First, it seemed he wouldn't. At his 24th Birthday bash in Los Angeles last November, "it was like a harem, with dozens of girls brought in," said one of Zang's friends. "Kristen hates that kind of scene." She bolted from the fete, and now her Rules tactics seem to be paying off. When Leo was in Thailand, according to Zang's Stepfather, Richard Rollins, "[he] rented an entire island [for her]. They are committed to each other."

Leo's Posse, Livin' la Vida Loca

Think nights must be all drunken debauchery for the big-screen babe and his buds? Our sources say these guys' wild side is kind of mild

  • DiCaprio and his crew reporedly annoyed residents of downtown Manhattan by yelling in the streets at 2:00 A.M.
  • A Photographer has complained that Leo and gang pelted him with grapes the top of NYC's trendy Mercer Hotel for trying to snap a picture.
  • One last Leo and Co. sin: Says a bartender at New York Hot spot Spy, "They're cheap--they don't tip."

Babe in Thailand

Despite his $20-million-a-movie paycheck, DiCaprio was no prima donna on the grueling four-month Thailand shoot, which began in January. He swam in jellyfish-infested waters for hours--getting stung but not complaning like most stars would. Then, while filming a canoe scene, his boat capsized, forcing Leo and others into shark-filled waters, where DiCaprio helped some of his filmmates to safety.

Now The Beach is wrapped and Leo's back home in Los Angeles. He has Kristen affectionately in his arms, and he still has that boyish charm that we love so much. Indeed, we recently spotted him at midnight in front of Toys "R" Us in Santa Monica, in line to buy the new Star Wars toys the moment they went on sale.

But Leo's no doubt hoping for the anonymity he recently enjoyed on a plane flight back from the Bahamas. DiCaprio boarded with traditional Bahamian braided hair and slipped into his first-class seat. When he asked the flight attendant for a glass of wine, the man asked for some ID. Leo pulled out his wallet and flashed his driver's license. He smiled to himself., happy to be a regular guy for a brief moment.

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