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Sandra Steps Out

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For three tumultuous months, Sandra Bullock has avoided public appearances. So when she took the stage at the MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles on June 6, the new mom-looking leggy and glamorous in a sequined Oday Shakar cowl dress-knew all eyes would be on her. “She really wanted to be there, but it’s also a lot,” says a source of the buzz surrounding Bullock. “She was thankful and sweet but kept to herself. She seemed slightly overwhelmed. But she handled things like a champ.”

It was all part of a very busy weekend for the star, 45, who has been immersed in the world of bottles and diapers with her 5-month-old son Louis since his January adoption. The MTV awards were Bullock’s first televised appearance since the March 7 Oscars and her subsequent split from husband Jesse James, 41. Taking a self-deprecating swipe at rumors that she planned to give up showbiz after the split, she cracked that the music network’s Generation award was typically given to “old people,” but declared, “I’m staying. Because no matter what you might have seen or heard or read lately, I love what I do. And I’m not going anywhere.” The night before, Bullock popped up unannounced at the Spike TV Guys’ Choice Awards to claim an honor voted on by members of the armed forces. “Did I win this for being entertainer of the year,” she quipped, “or did I win this because of the spectacular I.E.D. [improvised explosive device] explosion that became my personal life?” Says a source: “The whole place went nuts. It was insane.”

Her career may be red-hot, but Bullock-who is in talks to reunite with her Proposal costar Ryan Reynolds in the action comedy Most Wanted-is focused on baby Louis and stepkids Sunny, 6, Jesse Jr., 12, and Chandler, 15. Despite reports that James plans to move full-time to Austin to be closer to her, a source says he is instead selling his $6.75 million Orange County, Calif., beachfront home for a more private location nearby. Still, “I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t set up houses close to hers, wherever she decides to spend time, so they can set up schedules that keep the kids’ needs first,” says a James insider. While several friends of the motorcycle maker say he still hopes for a reconciliation with his wife of almost five years, “no matter what happens, I think they both will really do what is right for the kids,” says the James pal, “so that the kids know they have their love.”

Meantime, Bullock has been showing off little Louis with pride while spending time at her homes in Austin and New Orleans. Whether the duo are shopping in Austin kids’ boutiques Izzy And Ash and Dolce Baby or joining friends at the famed Big Easy restaurant Commander’s Palace, “she seems very in tune with him,” says Jamie Taylor, the manager at Izzy And Ash, where Bullock and Louis stopped in last month. “She was very laid-back, and Louis was laid-back too-and so cute! She’s a natural mom.”