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Go Ahead and Ask: Halle Berry

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Alberto Tamargo/jpi

When we invited readers to send in questions for Halle Berry, many of you asked about her beauty secrets. But Berry, 40, who stars in the new thriller Perfect Stranger, is the first to admit her physical flaws: “I apparently have a pooch in my belly!” she says. “Every time I have a burger someone says I’m pregnant.” For the record, she says she isn’t – though the twice-divorced actress has been happily dating model Gabriel Aubry, 31, for more than a year. PEOPLE’s Jennifer Garcia took your questions to the source.

Do you plan on having children someday?Kim Silva, Fall River, Mass.
I would love to start a family, and I hope that a baby finds me someday soon. That would make me really happy!

Do you prefer wearing your hair long or short? Are you ever going to go back to the short do?Ebony Milton, San Diego
I prefer that I get to change it up. Being a red-blooded woman, I love that I get to change it every hour if I want to. I have some of the best hairdressers in the business, who create new styles for me. I will go back to short, yes, because that’s really organically who I am. [For] one of my next movie roles [in the romantic comedy Nappily Ever After] I am going to have to shave my hair, so I’ll have short hair again very soon.

What was it like to work with Bruce Willis in your new movie?Autumn Fowler, Diana, Texas
Bruce is a wildly talented actor. He likes to improv, and it was a joy to sit back and watch and learn.

“I can’t imagine life without her,” says Berry of mom Judith (with her April 3).
What made you decide to go public on such a personal thing as attempting suicide?Kali Rowley, Salt Lake City
I want it to be clear that it’s nothing new – this is a story that is sort of 10 years old and unfortunately another magazine felt the need to regurgitate it. [Berry has said she briefly considered killing herself after her marriage to David Justice ended in 1996. Parade, which recently quoted Berry about the incident, says she discussed it in her interview.] In my opinion, if having it come up again can help one more person understand the horror of suicide, then I guess it’s all worth it.

What was your biggest fear growing up?Nicole Newcomb, Harrisburg, Pa.
That I would be without my mother. I was from a single-parent family, and I always had the fear that something would happen to her, that she wouldn’t come home from work one day. That is still one of my biggest fears.

More Answers from Halle Berry >

Berry met boyfriend Gabriel Aubrey (in L.A. last year) at a Versace shoot in 2005.
A few years ago you stated that you would never marry again … Have you changed your mind since then?Lynne Jorgensen, New York, N.Y.
I won’t have a traditional marriage; I don’t find the value in that anymore. But I am such a hopeless romantic and I really want love and I want a committed relationship so I am going to reinvent marriage for myself. So stay tuned …

How do you stay in such great shape and keep your skin so youthful?Veronica Madden, Potamac, Md.
When you have a 31-year-old boyfriend you have to! I’m not a fanatic about exercising. For me it’s about moderation and balance. I do some sort of cardio – running, bike riding or an elliptical machine – and some sort of free weights. Keeping the muscles long and lean is really important as you get older. I think the quality of your skin is genetic, but if you eat right and exercise, that helps keep the elasticity in your skin and that youthful, healthy glow.

Whose work as an actor has inspired you the most?Hoodo Mohamed, Boston
I have loved Jodie Foster from the beginning of her career and she is one of these rare breeds of people who can sustain a child-acting career and be able to develop into an amazing adult actor. Her career has been really long and admirable and I only hope to have a career as stellar as hers.

Of all the movies you’ve made, which one was your favorite to make?Rina Singh, Arnhem, Holland
It’s hard to say. It’s like, if you have 28 kids like I have 28 movies, you couldn’t pick one favorite. When I think, where did I laugh the most, where did I eat the most, where did I just feel good all the time, I would say making the Bond movie Die Another Day. To be part of such an iconic franchise and to travel to exotic places – that was the most fun I ever had.

In Perfect Stranger, Berry sets out to prove Bruce Willis murdered her best friend.
Do you have any other career aspirations or dreams aside from acting?Judy Yang, Baltimore
In a perfect world I would be a painter. I love working with my hands. I don’t get to do it as much as I like, but I am finding a way to make more time as life goes on because it’s a really great outlet for me to express myself.

I’ve never seen you in a bad outfit. Who ultimately decides what you will wear and why?Hazel Guilford, Peoria, Ariz.
I ultimately decide for good and bad. I want [Hazel] to know, I have been on that when-bad-clothes-happen-to-good-people list a few times. [Laughs] Yes, it has happened.