He’s smooth as silk and hard as rock, able to sing a steamy, slow jam and get clubs pounding to the hits off his 7 million-selling CD, Confessions. When did former teen phenom Usher Raymond IV, now 26, grow up? And where did he get the kind of wisdom that separates the men from the boys? To wit:
“THE BEST PRESENT A MAN CAN GIVE A WOMAN IS HIS UNDIVIDED ATTENTION.”
The rumor mill has him dating model Naomi Campbell after ending a nearly three-year relationship with TEC’s Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas in January. But, he insists, at 7 a.m. it’s just him and his trainer in his Atlanta home. (Too bad. He says he fixes “the greatest breakfasts ever.”) The workouts pay off. “How you look dictates a lot. Image is very important,” admits Usher, who snagged four American Music Awards last week and may star in a Marvin Gaye biopic. “If you’re putting it out there, you really got to have it.”
“HE’S A LITTLE RASCAL. IT’S CHARMING BECAUSE YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT HE’S GOING TO DO”
He’ll be 50 come March, but the guy is solid: The bald head is like an outcropping of rock, and the blunt nose gives him the profile of a falcon that has seen (and flown into) plenty of action. Where else you gonna find that sort of grade-A American macho?
Kiss him—he’s Irish. Then give him some credit: He may love his pint, may play the lad, but as an actor he has the drive of Alexander the Great. Only it’s hearts that fall before him, not nations.
1. He added “action hero” to his résumé last May with a starring role in The Day After Tomorrow, helping the film earn a whopping $186 million.
2. He’s stayed friendly with his ex. Though he split with actress Kirsten Dunst in July, they still get together for cozy dinners.
3. He’s musical. “I sing,” says the 23-year-old actor. “I’ve been singing since I was little. My whole family sings.”
4. He’s fit. “I’m a big bike rider,” he says. “In fact, it’s my major form of exercise. I’ve been inspired by Lance Armstrong.”
5. He knows his way around a kitchen. “It’s a little cheesy,” he says, “but I like to cook. I’m friends with a lot of chefs I admire. I’ve learned to make spaghettini with butter and black truffles.”
He played Achilles, and even his heel was gorgeous.
“MATT COULD BE THAT GUY WHO LIVES NEXT DOOR. HE’S STRONG AND BROAD BUT ALSO HAS SOFT EYES”
Whether swaggering about as an unwashed swashbuckler (in Pirates of the Caribbean) or sweetly dabbling in romance as a dapper Scottish author (in the new Finding Neverland), PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man of 2003 is the gentlest of rule breakers: a Hollywood idol living at a safe remove in France, a classically handsome face made less perfect with a mustache, glasses or an indifferent old hat. He hasn’t fooled anyone.