Hunky actor Jerry O'Connell once played the chunky Vern in the film Stand by Me. Young freckle-faced Jerry grew up with mom, dad and brother, Charlie, in Manhattan. After graduating from New York University, he headed for Hollywood and quickly landed roles: first in the sci-fi television series Sliders, then as Tom Cruise's star quarterback in Jerry Maguire and as Neve Campbell's boyfriend in Scream 2. Since 2001, Jerry's been solving crimes as detective Woody Hoyt on the NBC detective series Crossing Jordan. And his all-American good looks just landed him a modeling contract with Perry Ellis.
On top of that, Jerry's younger brother, Charlie O'Connell, was the heartthrob on the seventh edition of ABC's hit show The Bachelor. Jerry says he finds watching his brother's rose ceremonies particularly nerve-racking. "These are people's feelings, you know?" Jerry says. "And I feel very uncomfortable for him. To be frankly honest, I can't watch it the whole time."
Jerry says Charlie currently "is dating two of the girls, and he's really in love. He really is."
With his new stylish home makeover by Nate Berkus and Charlie's new romance, big things are afoot. "This is like the year of maturity for the Brothers O'Connell," Jerry says. "I mean, my brother's dropping L-bombs? 'I love her.' I'm, like, 'Wow, I've got white towels and you're dropping L-bombs.' It's crazy!"
Jerry's says he met his girlfriend, actress and model Rebecca Romijn, at a party after Rebecca had separated from her husband, John Stamos.
Jerry admits that he was nervous the first time Rebecca visited him in his pre-makeover house. "I was embarrassed, I really was," Jerry says. "Rebecca lives in a beautiful house, and it's beautifully designed. … To be frankly honest, [in my apartment] there was guys for a football game and there was beer. I mean, I wasn't, you know, entertaining the ladies over there."
Nate Berkus began his project on Jerry's house before the December 2004 tsunami
that claimed 150,000 lives, including Nate's partner, Fernando Bengoechea.
The project was put on hold due to the tragedy, but was finally finished four months after it began. "What I do is creative. I have to feel like I want to do it. I have to be excited about ideas and things like that and be able to process those," Nate explains. "So I did want to wait until I felt excited about it, and it feels great. It feels great being back doing what I love. It really does. My new normal, but it is part of my old normal. It's just moved forward."
Jerry says his new home has transformed him. "I feel mature," he says. "I feel cool. I invite people over. I had a big party. But I do have to say I was really careful. Everyone had a coaster. I was like, 'Coasters everybody. Coasters everybody.' I was like, 'Whoa, shoes off. Everybody's shoes off. Shoes off. Plates, napkins, let's go. I'm watching you, people.' I want to say one other thing that I've never done [before], and that is I've never separated laundry. Everything just went in one [basket], you know? And now that I have white…what do you call it…linen…I put them all [together]—just whites—and I throw a little bleach in and everything's pretty."
However, not everything has been perfect since Nate left. "The only problem with this entire thing," Jerry says, "is that Rebecca is continually asking, 'Where's Nate? So where's Nate? Why don't you call your friend Nate? We'd love to see him. What is he up to? He's so cute.'"
From the bedroom to the office, Nate updates Jerry's pad—and brings Jerry to tears!
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