By peoplestaff225
Updated May 25, 2009 06:00 PM
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When her brother passed away from skin cancer at the age of 29, Giada De Laurentiis completely closed herself off to the idea of starting a family with husband Todd Thompson. “My brother’s passing made me afraid, I think because I was afraid that we could have a child and lose him or her too,” she reveals in the June issue of Redbook magazine. “I thought, ‘I don’t want to have any more relationships. I don’t want to have anybody that close to me.'”

As time passed, the devastation of losing her brother forced Giada to reflect on her choices in life. Realizing that his dream of having a family had been cut short, the 38-year-old eventually found her thoughts turning to her own future.

Now juggling her growing career with life as a new mom to daughter Jade Marie, Giada jokes that the whole experience has “definitely changed my workload!” All kidding aside, the host of Everyday Italian admits that her once selfish attitude toward life has since evolved into a softer, more “compassionate” personality. “I stopped thinking of just my own mortality; I started thinking of the life we’re leaving for someone else,” she shares of the reason she has joined Oxfam, a charity that focuses on improving the lives of children around the world.

It hasn’t taken long for Jade to learn the way to her mother’s heart: food! Fortunately for Giada, her little girl is developing quite the palate, willingly open to trying a variety of foods. “She loves grilled lamb chops and eats quinoa,” the proud mama boasts. A mainstay in the kitchen while Giada cooks — initially crawling, but now vying for a spot at the counter — the 13-month-old has become the household taste-tester and is happy to offer up the compliments to the head chef. “I give her little tastes of the food and she’s like, ‘Mmm!'” laughs Giada.

Although she has included Jade — who “smiles on cue” in front of the camera — in several of her onscreen appearances, Giada often contemplates her career and the future of the family threesome. Her visions of what’s to come, she says, may very well be a move across the pond. “I’d also love to live abroad with Jade,” she muses. “Todd and I have talked about Paris or Rome.”

Source: Redbook; June issue

— Anya