June 02, 2014 12:00 PM

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THE BACHELORETTE’S ANDI DORFMAN

‘I WON’T FORCE LOVE’

Andi Dorfman is the first to admit she came pretty close to disaster while competing on Juan Pablo Galavis’s season of The Bachelor. “I was two weeks away from possibly getting engaged to someone who I didn’t know, and who didn’t know me,” says the Atlanta-based assistant district attorney, 27. That was, of course, before a “nightmare” date in the fantasy suite made her come to her senses, dump Galavis with a speech both scathing and candid, and walk away an instant fan favorite. Now Dorfman is back, calling the shots and, yes, looking for love as the new Bachelorette. Attention, suitors: Wimps need not apply!

As a Bachelor, Juan Pablo annoyed a lot of fans. They loved it when you told him off. It was what it was. Every part of me tried to stay open, but I realized, “I’m forcing this. I’m not in love with him.” It stopped making sense.

Do you have any regrets about remaining on the show as long as you did? You were in the top three!

It’s in the past. There aren’t bitter feelings stemming from it. It was not meant to be – it’s as simple as that. Why trust the process again?

I was sitting at home alone in Atlanta not finding love, so I thought, “What difference does it make? Why not have a chance with 25 great guys?” It was worth a try. But there was always that fear that it wouldn’t work out. That I would wake up the next morning in the fantasy suite and go, “Oh my God, what was I thinking?”

Most people go on the show hoping to get married, but you’ve been outspoken about needing to get to know each other.

To me the ideal was finding the love of my life, whether that meant riding off into the sunset with a ring on my hand or taking time afterward to really make sure. Getting engaged weeks, months, years later, it didn’t matter to me. I wanted to find the person to spend the rest of my life with.

Okay, so what are your turn-offs?

I don’t like overaggressive. But at the same time, I don’t want to baby somebody. It’s not a turn-on for a guy to say, “Can I kiss you?” You’re a man—just go for it! As a guy, I’d rather get the brush-off than have to ask.

Do you have a type?

I like the manly, burly guys, usually athletic and from a good family, less of the cultured, Ivy League, world-traveled guy. But I was open as far as ethnicity, race, religion. The only thing I wouldn’t be open to is someone who didn’t want a family. That’s my deal-breaker!

Did you make any rules for yourself about kissing on the first date?

If I like him, I kiss him. Come on, I’m a 27-year-old woman trying to find a potential husband. And it’s a kiss! It’s romantic. There shouldn’t be a stigma attached.

You’re a gang-crimes prosecutor. You might just be the toughest Bachelorette yet!

I have a limit, and if you disrespect me, or anyone else for that matter, I draw the line. But I definitely learned that I’m a lot softer than I thought I was. I have a tough shell, but I’m a softie inside. But if you cross me, bring it on!

A Shocking Death Leaves Andi Reeling

He scored the first one-on-one date and bonded with his fellow castmates, but tragically, contestant Eric Hill, 31, died April 23, following a paragliding accident, after he had been eliminated from the show. “I was devastated,” Dorfman says. “He was a part of our family.” Despite the risks of being an adventurer and extreme-sports enthusiast, “it’s something you never could have predicted,” she says. “I’ll always remember Eric’s love for life. He was the epitome of someone who lived life to the fullest.”

HEART BEAT

NEW COUPLE

We didn’t see this one coming! Cameron Diaz, 41, and Good Charlotte frontman Benji Madden, 35, are dating, a source tells People. “They’ve had casual dates at her house,” says the insider. “They wanted to slowly get to know each other.” Recently they’ve taken their budding romance public, attending a book launch on May 15 and hitting the gym together one day later. “She seems very happy,” adds the source. “Benji treats her like a lady.”

NESTING

Ashton Kutcher, 36, and Mila Kunis, 30, picked up nursery items – a crib and a changing table – at Sherman Oaks’s Juvenile Shop on May 18. “Mila doesn’t want a cluttered nursery,” a source says, adding that the baby shower’s guest list is superexclusive: “It’s for close friends and family only.” Cutest moment: Kunis gushed that Kutcher has packed their fridge with all of her pregnancy cravings.

GETTING SERIOUS

Though Charlize Theron, 38, recently told Vogue she “never had the dream of the white dress,” she’s excited about settling down with boyfriend Sean Penn, 53. “Charlize would love to have children with Sean,” says a source. (Theron adopted son Jackson, 2, in 2012.) “And there has been wedding talk.” Cutest moment: Penn making goofy faces at Jackson while the trio grocery-shopped in January.

PAUL WALKER’s BROTHERS

CONTINUING A LEGACY

To honor their late brother, Paul Walker’s siblings, Cody (above left), 25, and Caleb (center), 36, have been filming as stand-ins for his character, Brian O’Conner, in Fast & Furious 7. Producers of the movie said in April that although Walker, who died in a car crash in November, had finished his dramatic scenes, “Caleb and Cody are helping us complete some remaining action for their brother and fill in small gaps left in production. Having them on-set has made us all feel that Paul is with us too.” Cody also recently become brand manager of Reach Out WorldWide (ROWW), the disaster-relief charity his late brother founded in 2010.

SHERRI SHEPHERD

ONE WOMAN, TWO CUSTODY BATTLES

It’s been a difficult few months for Sherri Shepherd. First her husband, Lamar Sally, 43, filed for separation on May 2, asking for full custody of the unborn child they were expecting with a surrogate in July. Turns out the View cohost, 47, is also fighting ex-husband Jeff Tarpley for custody of their 9-year-old son Jeffrey, after the actor, 47, alleged in court documents filed in April that Shepherd’s busy work schedule caused her to neglect their son. (As a result of her leaving Jeffrey, who is special needs, in the care of “unskilled nannies,” Tarpley claimed, “he has difficulty tying his own shoes, reads at a second-grade level,” can barely write and has poor hygiene.)

Friends were quick to jump to Shepherd’s defense. “She takes Jeffrey to school. And The View takes only a few hours a day. Her son is never left with nannies for extended periods of time,” says one source, adding that while Shepherd is “devastated,” she’ll vigorously defend herself when the case goes before a judge in July. “She loves Jeffrey so much, and she’s going to fight this. Sherri is tough. She will be a pit bull.”

A TALE OF TWO EXES

Jeff Tarpley

Lamar Sally

How Long It Lasted

They finalized their divorce in 2011, 10 years after they wed.

They wed in August 2011; he filed for separation May 2.

Why They Split

She learned of his affair – and love child—just after giving birth. They briefly reconciled.

“He’s a nice man,” a source says. “But he can’t keep up with her. She’s a force of nature.”

The Children

Their son Jeffrey Jr., who turned 9 on April 22, was born a preemie.

Their baby boy, to be named Lamar Jr., will be born July 28, via surrogate.

SURPRISE!

THEY’RE GREAT-GRANDPARENTS

LAST WEEK MICK JAGGER BECAME THE LATEST CELEBRITY TO HEAD A FOUR-GENERATION FAMILY

Mick Jagger, 70

Kids: 7

Grandkids: 4

Great-Grandkids: 1

Julie Andrews, 78

Kids: 5 Grandkids: 8

Great-Grandkids: 3

Whoopi Goldberg, 58

Kids: 1 Grandkids: 3

Great-Grandkids: 1

Martin Sheen, 73

Kids: 4

Grandkids: 10

Great-Grandkids: 1

Beyoncé Knowles, JAY Z & SOLANGE

TOP 3 POST-VIDEO MOMENTS

We’ll never look at an elevator the same way again. While the leaked video of Bey’s li’l sis attacking Jay Z is viral gold, there was plenty more eye candy during the aftermath:

1 Our new fave moment is a faux one: Saturday Night Live‘s May 17 spoof, which chalked the incident up to a case of arachnophobia.

2 Well played, Mr. and Mrs. Carter. The best way to stop people from watching that video? Give them this star-studded one promoting an upcoming tour!

3 They make damage control look gooood ! The trio (with Tina Knowles on May 19) bury the hatchet with on-trend fashion and smiles.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Inspired by her mom, the actress helps bring the arts to struggling schools

Why I Care

PERSONAL STORIES ABOUT GIVING BACK

We didn’t have a lot growing up, but I saw my mother, who was a mother of eight, constantly volunteering her time and energy. Now as a mother of only three [James, 11, and twins Marion and Tabitha, 4, with husband Matthew Broderick], I’m that much more cognizant of the kind of effort she made to help make us better human beings. To just watch her was inspiring. As a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, working with the Turnaround: Arts program, which brings arts education to schools, is an honor. The schools that we’re addressing were struggling and didn’t have an arts program. At the King School in Portland, Ore., I’ve seen so much energy and engagement. The students look forward to that part of their day, and it’s an even more joyful place to arrive every morning. It’s changing the way these children experience school—and making a difference in their lives.

For more information, go to turnaroundarts.pcah.gov

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