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Ford Confirms His 'Love' for Flockhart

06/12/2003 AT 11:35 AM EDT

The usually publicity-shy Harrison Ford breaks his typical silence to speak to PEOPLE magazine this week, in a cover story about his relationship with former "Ally McBeal" star Calista Flockhart.

In a nutshell, the actor, 60, whose new movie "Hollywood Homicide" opens Friday, tells the magazine: "I'm in love."

For the first time in his life, PEOPLE notes, when Ford split with longtime wife screenwriter Melissa Mathison in 2001, he became regular tabloid fodder, with reports detailing his nightclub carousing and linking him to the likes of Minnie Driver and Lara Flynn Boyle.

"(The media) spun the most cloth with the least material again and again," Ford says. "It was very hurtful to my kids. It was hurtful to a lot of people, because 90 percent of it was wrong."

And when Ford met Flockhart, 38, at the January 2002 Golden Globes, he wasn't looking for love, says PEOPLE. "There have been times in my life when I have felt I was lonely, but I don't think you want to live your life in order to mitigate against loneliness," he says.

Flockhart, whose reported past flames include actor Ben Stiller, 37, and comedian Garry Shandling, 53, says she had no prior designs on Ford: "I remember loving him in 'Mosquito Coast,' but I didn't really think about him," she says.

As for Ford, "I watched 'Ally McBeal' from time to time before I met her, but now she won't let me watch it," he says. "She doesn't like to see herself."

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