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SOFIA VERGARA: Craig David hopes his sexy ex marries Tom Cruise; She's a model and actress - but she's better known for dating famous men like Tom Cruise and Craig David.

Byline: Words: Jen Ferguson/Naomi Greenaway.

Afew months ago, Colombian actress Sofia Vergara was just another Latin beauty trying to break into the Hollywood scene. But that's all changed since she hooked up with Tom Cruise. The pair met three months ago at a party in LA, thrown by Will Smith. Tom, 42, had arrived with former girlfriend Penelope Cruz, but left with Sofia, after the stunning 32-year-old caught his eye. And no wonder - the model and actress has been dubbed 'Sofia Viagra' because of the effect she has on men.

Since then, the pair have been out on several dates and friends say Catholic- raised Sofia is considering converting to Tom's religion, Scientology, a sign things may be getting serious.

But though megastar Tom may be the most famous person Sofia has dated, he's certainly not the first celebrity to fall under the spell of those knockout curves. She's been linked with Enrique Iglesias and Mark Wahlberg - but re-re-wind to 2003, and Sofia spent nine months with a British toyboy, 23-year-old R'n'B singer Craig David.

'We went out for a while, but she was in LA and I was travelling the world, so things didn't work out,' Craig admits. The smooth crooner harbours no hard feelings, though. 'We're still friends,' he says. 'Sofia's amazing and Tom is a lucky guy. I'd love it if they got married - and if he also helps her career and she goes on to be an A-list actress, great.'

So who is this Latina temptress who's snared celebrity lovers on both sides of the Atlantic?

Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, 5ft 7in Sofia planned to be a dentist, but gave up studying at Bogot University to focus on modelling, after she was chosen as Colombia's face of Pepsi in 1991, aged 17. A few months later, she married her childhood sweetheart, Joe Gonzalez, and gave up modelling the following year when she gave birth to her son, Manuel, now 13. However, her looks soon attracted the attention of a photographer, who encouraged her to enter the Elite model agency's local Look Of The Year contest, which she won.

After that, Sofia's modelling career took off, and she spent the next two years travelling the world - to the detriment of her marriage. She split amicably from Joe - and her career sky-rocketed. She landed a presenting role on a hit travel show and a variety gameshow, I Dare You, granting her huge celebrity status in her native Latin America.

But tragedy struck in 1998 when her brother, Rafael, was shot dead by kidnappers. 'I was devastated,' she recalls. 'I had to get my family out of Colombia and to Miami.'

She relocated to LA in 2002, but her troubles weren't over - that year, she discovered she had thyroid cancer. She's now been given the all-clear, but still bears a scar on her neck.

Since coming to Hollywood, Sofia has landed small roles in movies The 24th Day and Big Trouble, but is still waiting for her big break.

Being with Tom is bound to raise her profile - and her career prospects - but regardless of what ex-lover Craig David says, we reckon he'd jump at the chance to reunite with the sexy brunette. Hollywood star or golden-voiced Brit boy? We compare Sofia's choices...

TOM CRUISE v CRAIG DAVID

AGE: 42 STAR SIGN: Cancer

HEIGHT: 5ft 7in - the same as Sofia. She'll have to ditch the high heels...

LIVES: Hollywood

ROMANTIC HISTORY: Married Mimi Rogers in 1987, divorcing her three years later to marry Nicole Kidman in 1990. They split in 2001. He dated Penelope Cruz until last year

BAGGAGE: Two kids, Isabella, 11, and Connor, 9, and a very famous ex-wife

SEXIEST MOMENT: Pulling his helmet off in Top Gun to reveal that sexy smile. Nowadays, he'd be in the retired pilots' fleet

GOSSIP: Mimi claimed Tom 'thought he had to be celibate to maintain the "purity of his instrument"'. Tom sued Michael Davis, who falsely claimed to have a tape of him having sex with a man

PROSPECTS: With Mission Impossible III on the way, Tom's blockbusting career shows no sign of slowing down

AGE: 23 STAR SIGN: Taurus

HEIGHT: 6ft 2in - Sofia's got room for heels and a bouffant hairdo

LIVES: Southampton

ROMANTIC HISTORY: After dating Sofia in 2003, Craig was linked with a Venezuelan model, a South African model, then moved on to an ex- Playboy playmate. Currently single

BAGGAGE: A designer record bag

SEXIEST MOMENT: When Craig's on stage, he gets the girls screaming - with that voice and those pecs, who can blame them?

GOSSIP: Model Gabriella Gutierrez claims Craig cheated on three girlfriends (including Sofia) with her, and says, 'He's the best lover I've ever had.'

PROSPECTS: Craig is about to sign a pounds 15 million deal with Warner and release a new album

VERDICT:

Craig's got youth, height

and the glowing recommendation of a former lover on his side, but Hollywood heavyweight

Tom's got the money and the power - and he's

still devastatingly cute

at 42...

CAPTION(S):

Pictures: Bigpicturesphoto.com/Matrix/Filmmagic.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 20, 2005
Words:841
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