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It’s not so much that they were after a slice of her growing fortune or her very much on-the-rise fame (though she said one suitor’s ex-girlfriend sold a story claiming he was trashing her character), “Just people who’s intentions were so not in tune morally with mine,” she clarified. “They were nice people but they just weren’t suited for me and that’s hard because I seriously thought I’m never ever going to find anybody that will love me and just enjoy life.”
Recovering from the West Coast Chopper owner’s exorbitant infidelity (not to mention the cavalier attitude that would lead him to declare that cheating is simply “part of life,”) at a time she was supposed to be celebrating her Oscar win and the adoption of her first child, now-8-year-old son Louis, was, to put it lightly, devastating for the Virginia native. “She was embarrassed by what he did and in ways blamed herself at the time,” an insider told E! News last year. “She did consider Jesse a father to Louis, so that was one of the hardest parts of breaking up.”
But after spending years focused on her children—now-6-year-old Laila joined her brother in 2015—and enough time spent on her film career to garner another Academy Award nomination, she finally took the advice she had spouted in the same 1996 article, the old adage about how the best way to get over someone is to meet someone new. “I’m not saying go out and sleep with them,” she noted. “I’m just saying go out and have a conversation and know that they find you attractive and go, ‘Okay, I’m not the piece of trash that I thought I was two days ago.’
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More than three years in—when the pair were first spotted out in August 2015, they’d already been quietly dating for months—she’s still bursting with pride. “They are soulmates,” one source asserts to E! News. “Their love is pretty deep and intense.”
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It’s a talent that was put to the test early, what with Randall reportedly crossing paths with America’s reluctant sweetheart (“I think I lost that title a little while ago,” she joked to Cosmopolitan in 2003) when he was booked to photograph Louis’ fifth birthday. And it’s one he’s proven time and time again to the devoted mother. “Sandra’s favorite thing is to be a mom and take care of Louis and Laila,” a source told E! News. “It’s her biggest joy in life.”
It’s a part he may have played just a little too well considering Bullock’s recent confession to InStyle. “He’s super kind. For the kids he’s sort of No. 1 and I’m No. 2,” she admitted in the mag’s June issue. “But I get it because he’s more fun and has better treats.”
And their dearest, most prized treasure. During what Bullock calls the “tenuous, strenuous” six-month placement period with Laila where “if something goes sideways, they have the right to take the child away,” he helped the Gravity star keep their little secret, well, secret.
“We had an allergy scare that sent us to the ER, and we were followed by the paparazzi, so the word was out that I had another child,” she told InStyle. And everyone wanted photos.” As little Louis jumped into protector mode (“It was heartbreaking,” she recalled. “Louis would hear a helicopter or drone, and he’d run to get his sister and drag her across the lawn and hide her under the trampoline,”) and Bullock enlisted a team of lawyers to keep any pictures unpublished, Randall was her rock.
When it became time to reveal Laila to the world, he was front and center, accepting the tricky task of capturing his girlfriend and her two kids for the cover of People. Bullock chose not to show her face “because there was a bounty on our heads,” so the job was a challenge, she admitted to InStyle, but thankfully, “He’s a patient photographer.”
While he’s certainly proud of her achievements, even making a rare appearance at her 2015 Our Brand Is Crisis premiere, “He won’t ever be that dude that wants the spotlight or walks the red carpet,” notes an insider. (No questionable intentions? Check.) Continues the insider, “They have a very down-to-earth relationship.”
Though Bullock is one of the industry’s most bankable stars (hello, Ocean’s 8!) she doesn’t revel in all of the trappings that come with her fame. A good enough sport to accept her dishonorable 2010 Razzie for All About Steve the day before she won Oscar gold (“If you take either one too seriously, shame on you, and if you disregard the other because it’s not all you want it to be, then shame on you too,” she told The Guardian that year) she says in the grand scheme her career is “meaningless and empty.” (To be clear: She’s talking about the part where she pretends for a living, not the part where she funnels those earned millions to the Red Cross and other worthy causes.)
“I’m not wary of it, though—I’m just aware,” she said of fame. “It holds nothing for me, although it will hold a great table in a restaurant, when you’re at your peak. If you don’t have other real things in your life that you love just as much, then you will drown in it.”
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“Sandy leads a normal life and really separates herself from the Hollywood hype when she is not promoting a movie or shooting a film,” says an insider. “One of her favorite things to do is stay home with her kids and Bryan.”
And to hear Bullock rave about her little crew, it’s hard to fault her for not wanting to miss a moment. “Lou is supersensitive,” she told InStyle. “I call him my 78-year-old son. He’s like Shecky Greene, a Jewish Catskills comic. He’s wise and kind. I saw that when they handed him to me. There was a spiritual bigness to him. I was like, ‘I hope I don’t eff that up.'” And Laila is a pioneer in the making. A fighter, says the star, she marvels at what the grade-schooler is destined to accomplish: “She’s going to bring some real change.”
Of course, much like any parents of young kids, the couple do carve out some time as a party of two. (We’re guessing their days as Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux‘s favorite double date companions are now over.) And whether it’s morning coffee or a dinner at one of those aforementioned great tables, says a source, “They don’t leave each other’s side.”
“Bryan is not only her partner but also her best friend,” raves one insider. “They seem like they’ve been together forever when you’re in their presence.”
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Or maybe it simply feels as if it took that long to urge here. however had Bullock been being attentive to her own prophecies, she would have had little doubt these days would return.
As she same back in 1996, “I’m a real believer in destiny. You get what you provide whether or not it’s dangerous or sensible.”
And she was due for somebody actually, amazingly, unquestionably sensible.