By People Staff
June 02, 2003 12:00 PM
  • Love and a. 45
  • Paula Abdul meets her match in a gunmaker

The second season of American Idol may have just ended, but for one judge, things are beginning to really heat up. PAULA ABDUL, 40, and Scottsdale, Ariz., resident COLTON MELBY, 44, have been dating for two months, confirms her spokesman. Melby, who is part-owner of gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson, has been a frequent visitor to Abdul’s Hollywood Hills home, and the pair have dined à deux at Bel Air’s Top of the Glen restaurant “a couple of times,” says a staffer. Melby also dropped in on the Idol set. “He seemed very interested in what Paula does,” says an observer. So was Idol’s host: Ryan Seacrest teased Abdul on-air about being “smitten.” Chides Abdul: “They’re like little boys in the locker room talking.”

And what of reports that Abdul, who is twice divorced (from clothing manufacturer Brad Beckerman and actor Emilio Estevez), met Melby through Kelleher & Associates, a matchmaking service that charges high-end clients up to $10,000? “We have had hundreds of marriages,” says Amber Kelleher, head of the firm’s Beverly Hills office, who cites confidentiality when asked if she aided Abdul. Abdul played it coy about the reports: “Oh yes, I’m so pathetic, I had to hire a dating service,” she told PEOPLE sarcastically in March. But she added, “If I spend that kind of money, that date better be a damn good one.” Maybe it was.

New hair color (black), new concert tour (with Justin Timberlake, starting June 4), new love: Looks like things are on key between CHRISTINA AGUILERA, 22, and JORDAN BRATMAN, 25, who works for the singer’s L.A.-based management company, AzoffMusic Management. The two “seem to click,” says Paul Sheehy, a studio manager who has worked with Bratman. Aguilera, who split with dancer Jorge Santos in ’02, is tickled by her new boyfriend, Sheehy says. “Jordan is a great guy—he’s really laid-back and funny. She seems to get his sense of humor.”