Breaking up may be hard to do, but watching your ex move on? That's the tough part. In the two years since Jessica Simpson
, 27, and Nick Lachey
, 34, called it quits, he has settled down with Vanessa Minnillo
, 27, while Simpson continues her quest for Mr. Right, currently with Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo, 27. "Jessica respects Nick and is happy for him if he's happy," says a Simpson source. For her part, "she wants to take her time and find the right person." Still, says a pal, "she misses having a serious relationship." (No pressure, Tony!)
VS Nick Lachey
Romo—whom Simpson met through her dad—"comes from a great family and has good values," says an ex, Tiffany Scarcelli. Adds Donald Faison, who dates Simpson's pal CaCee Cobb: "He's really genuine."
THE OTHER EX-FACTOR
The romance between Simpson's last boyfriend John Mayer, 30, and actress Minka Kelly, 27, "is hard for her—that they got together so quickly," says a friend. "She has moved on—she just hasn't really forgotten." But, says another source, "she likes everything about Tony."
STILL GOING STRONG
"Everybody tried to say this was a short-term thing when they first started dating, but they're still together," says a source close to Lachey. Despite rumors of a wedding last weekend, the live-in couple aren't quite ready to wed. Bottom line, says the source: "They make each other happy, and that's all that matters."
IN LOVE—AND LUST
"They have a very good time together," says another source. "They'll be the first to rave about each other's hotness!"
VS Ryan Phillippe
MEET THE KIDS, PART 1
On Dec. 8 Witherspoon, 31, and Jake Gyllenhaal
, 27—who have been linked since March—turned up at San Francisco eatery Bistro Boudin with Ava, 8, and Deacon, 4, her children with Phillippe. "They were both playing with the kids," says a source. "You could tell they wanted to enjoy some quality family time."
After seven years of marriage, Witherspoon and Phillippe, who split last October, "have a really amicable relationship," says a source. "They've put the kids before everything else."
MEET THE KIDS, PART 2
Though Phillippe, 33, and actress Abbie Cornish, 25, first sparked rumors of a hookup on the set of their film Stop-Loss
in fall 2006, pals say things really heated up this summer. "Ryan introduced Abbie to the kids—they played, did some art projects together," says a source. "She seems like a fun influence."
Phillippe recently told a U.K. magazine he would "wake up and cry and vomit" after the divorce. "Sure, he's still hurting, but he's obviously moved on," says a friend. "There are off days and there are good days."
UMA THURMAN VS ETHAN HAWKE
HER REBOUND GUY
Thurman, 37, told Oprah Winfrey
that her 2005 divorce from Hawke—with whom she shares custody of kids Maya, 9, and Levon Roan, 5—after five years of marriage was "excruciating" and that it left her self-esteem "pretty mangled." After the split, she dated hotelier André Balazs, 50, for three years.
HER NEW GUY
Now dating Arpad "Arki" Busson (model Elle Macpherson's ex), "she is very happy," says a source close to her. "I think she has found the love of her life."
Hawke, 37, has moved on with his children's former nanny Ryan—which has caused tension. The exes "stay in touch for their children," says a source, adding that Ryan "wants to be part of the family."
BACK ON HIS FEET
The actor-writer-director has said of his split, "It's unfair when one person's career is taking off and the other is really suffering." But now, says a source, "everything is going well" for Hawke, who got strong reviews for his role in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.
TOM BRADY VS BRIDGET MOYNAHAN
The New England Patriots quarterback, 30, and actress Moynahan broke up in late 2006—just before Moynahan learned she was pregnant. Within weeks of the split Brady began dating supermodel Gisele Bündchen, 27; in April the pair moved in together.
Brady has said he will be lobbying for more days off to spend with son John, who arrived Aug. 22. "He's the starting QB for a great team and he's got a healthy baby," said pal Jason Taylor. "He's one happy guy."
Although her breakup with Brady was difficult, Moynahan, 36, never wavered in her excitement about becoming a mom. Pointedly, she gave the baby her last name.
KEEPING IT CORDIAL
A source close to Moynahan calls her relationship with Brady "amicable": "They keep in touch because of their new baby."
LOOKING GREAT IS THE BEST REVENGE
Moynahan has already been flaunting her post-baby body on the red carpet.
WHO DO YOU THINK IS BEST FOR TOM BRADY?*
*BASED ON MORE THAN 1,000 VOTES IN A PEOPLE.COM POLL
- Jennifer Garcia/Los Angeles,
- Mary Margaret/Los Angeles,
- Ulrica Wihlborg/Los Angeles,
- K.C. Baker/New York City,
- Bethany Lye/New York City,
- Charlotte Triggs/New York City.