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Be careful Kylie, or Olivier will break your heart too; EXCLUSIVE: MIRA SORVINO'S MUM WARNS STAR OVER HER FRENCH LOVER.

Byline: BARBARA DAVIES

KYLIE Minogue couldn't have looked happier as she roared up outside a Parisian cafe on the back of her new lover's motorbike.

The lurking photographers drooled at the sight of the little singer's slender arms locked around the waist of Olivier Martinez, her excited, flushed smile and the tender way the handsome actor helped her with her crash helmet.

But the irony of their romantic outing to the Cafe de Flore in St Germain cannot have failed to strike another beautiful woman - one who occupied Kylie's pillion position on the back of 37-year-old Martinez's beloved red Benneli 800 before he broke her heart.

Until four months ago, he shared his bike and his life with Oscar-winning American actress Mira Sorvino, 35-year-old daughter of Goodfellas actor Paul Sorvino.

And if, after Kylie's turbulent on-off relationship with British model James Gooding, she thinks that at last she has found the man who will make her happy, she may be about to make a terrible mistake.

That, at least, is the view of Mira's mother Lorraine. She says: "If it's commitment she's after, she's dating the wrong man.

"Mira was devastated when it didn't work out. The big problem was one of commitment. Mira wanted to settle down and have children, but Olivier didn't.

"Mira was very upset when they broke up. She took the relationship very seriously and thought the world of Olivier. She just couldn't tie him down."

THEY met at a Parisian dinner party in 1998. Mira already had an Oscar under her belt for her role as a prostitute in the Woody Allen hit Mighty Aphrodite.

He was a minor actor whose film roles had aroused little interest outside France. But Martinez, a former boxer raised in a working-class suburb of Paris, quickly won over Harvard-educated Mira with his French charm and good looks.

She threw herself into the Parisian lifestyle, and the couple were soon dividing their time between a little flat by the Seine and Mira's homes in New York and Malibu.

When her daughter brought her new boyfriend home to Tenafly in New Jersey, Lorraine, 61, had little difficulty understanding the attraction.

She recalls: "He was charming, intelligent and so, so handsome. His accent was adorable and he had a wonderful way about him. His manners were impeccable, too, and that smile... Wow! It just knocked me out.

"Olivier is one of the most handsome men on the planet. He comes from a delightful family and is very entertaining. He and Mira were very much in love and I was convinced they'd end up married."

For nearly four years, they were photographed at film premieres and fashion shows and seen at restaurants and nightclubs.

Mira was rarely seen without the antique cross around her neck which Martinez had lovingly bought for her.

In September they were spotted in the front row of Giorgio Armani's fashion show, both dressed in the designer's creations, Mira's 5ft 11ins frame towering over 5ft 7ins Martinez.

As late as November, they were seen dining together at the romantic Granita restaurant in Malibu, not far from the home they shared.

Mira admitted buying an antique wedding dress when she visited Martinez on set in Ireland last summer, although she was coy about marriage rumours at the time. In fact, the couple agreed to split late last year after Mira made it clear that marriage and children were high on her list of priorities.

She said: "Career is only one part of life. I think that loving people and caring for them is the real marrow. I can't wait to have children and watch them grow up. I want to be a grandmother."

Lorraine adds: "They were together for three years and had some amazing times. Most couples tend to reach a crossroads in their relationship. Their's wasn't any different. I'm really going to miss having Olivier around. But I don't want to see them back together. They are moving in totally separate directions. Mira really deserves someone who wants to raise a family and is interested in being there as a husband and father.

"Maybe Olivier has a different objective. I certainly don't think he is ready to settle down and have children."

Until he stepped into Kylie's spotlight, Martinez had gone virtually unnoticed outside France.

Few had heard of the brooding, chiselled-jawed actor before he starred alongside Richard Gere in the erotic Hollywood hit Unfaithful last summer and was quickly dubbed the French Brad Pitt.

As a teenager growing up on the outskirts of Paris, Martinez had little idea that his life would be any different from that of his Moroccan father and his seven uncles, who worked as mechanics in the family business.

His father was born in Casablanca and became a champion boxer before moving to Paris, where he met Martinez's Breton mother.

As a young man, Martinez, too, was a boxer - the bump on his magnificent nose a legacy of his fighting career. But he had to quit the ring after a car accident in which he injured his neck.

His father tried to dissuade him and his younger brother Vincent from becoming mechanics, hoping they could better themselves.

At first Martinez took on casual jobs, working as a salesman in a jeans shop.

His foray into acting couldn't have been more casual. When a friend auditioned for a prestigious Parisian drama school, friends persuaded him to do the same.

He was offered a place and at the age of 23 embarked on the profession that would take his life in a wildly different direction.

Shortly after finishing school, he appeared in a Paris theatre production of Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under The Elms. Then in 1992 he landed his first film role, co-starring with French icon Yves Montand in IP5.

By the time he appeared opposite the stunning French actress Juliette Binoche in The Horseman On The Roof in 1995, he was being tipped as the greatest acting talent to come out of France since Gerard Depardieu.

To the delight of the celebrity magazines, his on-screen romance with the beautiful, chocol`ate-eyed Binoche spilled over into real life.

They were together for nearly two years, sharing a large house outside Paris with Bin- oche's baby son Raphael.

But it ended in 1996, not long after Binoche won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role alongside Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient.

And when a French magazine ran a story saying she had dumped her "pretty lover" after he dated other women, she sued, claiming her privacy had been invaded.

But Martinez has never been single for long. After breaking up with Mira he left her beach-front Malibu home and moved his belongings and beloved dog Sheba into the Chateau Marmont Hotel, where his close friend, hell-raising Irish actor Colin Farrell, was staying.

The pair held wild parties and Farrell, whose conquests include Britney Spears, reportedly encouraged Martinez to enjoy his newly single status.

"Since Mira's been out of the picture, women have been throwing themselves at him," says one LA source.

"Kylie had better be careful or she'll end up getting her heart broken, like all the rest. Beautiful women cannot resist Olivier and he can't keep his hands off them."

It was in the lobby of the same hotel that he and Kylie, 34, first set eyes on each other three weeks ago after the Grammy Music Awards. He invited her to lunch at Beverly Hills' Ivy restaurant.

When she joined him in France last week, they went to Marseilles to watch his football team, Paris St Germain, and he took her home to meet his parents.

DESPITE the constant bad-boy rumours about him, Martinez paints a very different picture of himself.

He has said that he would never have casual sex - he must have deep feelings for a woman to take her to bed.

"You can't have sex with nothing else. It's impossible, it doesn't exist," he once declared.

Despite his near-perfect physique, he hates sex scenes and refused to strip naked for Unfaithful, in which he played the sexy lover of a married older woman, played by Diane Lane.

"I was raised in a very traditional and old-school way, so I am not comfortable pretending to make love to a woman on screen," he said.

After their romantic break in Paris, Kylie flew to Dublin and recorded a song about her bitter split from Gooding.

She is said to be devastated over kiss-and-tell stories that her former lover sold to a Sunday newspaper, claiming she almost drove him to suicide.

Friends says that in her new song she not only retaliates against Gooding, but also pays tribute to her new love.

During her three days in Dublin, she had three or four calls a day from Martinez, who had flown to Los Angeles.

Now in her native Australia for promotional work commitments and Melbourne Fashion Week, Kylie is hoping he will join her so that he can meet her family.

The smile on her face as she left Dublin spoke volumes about her feelings.

But while Gooding is out of her life once and for all, it remains to be seen if Gallic charmer Martinez is the right candidate to heal her broken heart.

CAPTION(S):

SECRETS: Olivier Martinez puts his Gallic charm to work on Kylie; FORGET HIM: Mum Lorraine says Olivier upset her Mira; COY: Olivier wouldn't strip, even for sexy Diane Lane; ILL-FATED: Mira and Olivier seemed so in love
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 15, 2003
Words:1582
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