Meet Halle's New Man
updated 02/27/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 02/27/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST
And have been since they met shooting a Versace ad in L.A. in November. A month earlier, Berry was still seeing ex-beau Michael Ealy, her costar in the TV movie Their Eyes Were Watching God. But at the shoot, says Aubry's friend, they noticed each other "in a big way." By Christmas, when Aubry flew to Montreal to spend the holiday with his father, Gérard, 62, and his eight brothers and sisters, he spoke of Berry "with brilliance in his voice," says Gérard. Showing that kind of emotion is unusual for Gabriel, who overcame a tough childhood—he lived with five foster families between the ages of 3 and 18 until moving in with his dad—before rising to the top of the modeling world. Says Nadia Canova, whose Montreal-based Montage Models Inc. discovered Aubry, then a cook, in 1997 at a Quebec ski resort: "He's a very quiet person, with good values."
And excellent taste in wine. Last month, the Manhattan resident squeezed in time during fashion week in Milan, says his friend, to "buy a few bottles of red he knew Halle would enjoy." Meanwhile Berry, who is in the city filming the thriller Perfect Stranger with Bruce Willis, skipped out of a Feb. 10 dinner party in NoHo because Aubry had an early shoot the next day. When asked about the romance by PEOPLE, Berry playfully zipped her lips. But Aubry is clear about his feelings, says his dad: "He told me he was in love."