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Women's Health

Her Midlife Miracle

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Understandably, Jordan's death derailed her. After she left Melrose Place, Cross took a break from acting and went back to school in Los Angeles. In 2002, about the time she received her M.A., she had a relationship with a musician whom she declines to name, "a wonderful artist but not a family man." The interlude led her to do some soul-searching. "Why was I choosing these men who were not interested in commitment?" she asks. "What was I afraid of?"

Over the next year, she dated widely. Without using her own photo or name, she even went on a match.com date—but no luck. Eventually, despairing thoughts began to creep into her head: "For women of a certain age, how do you meet a guy, fall in love, and decide he's the right man to have children with? Your clock's ticking, you're looking at him, and it's a crazy, pressure-filled experience."

No crazier than the way she eventually did meet Mr. Right. It was December 2004, in Los Angeles, and, Cross says, "there I was again, all alone for the holidays." As she was crossing a street near her home, she found herself taken with the stride and demeanor of the man walking in front of her, even though she could barely see his face. "I thought maybe there was some reason why I found him so magnetic, like maybe he was an actor and I'd recognize him as soon as he turned around," Cross recalls. She followed him into a flower shop, but didn't get up the nerve to approach him or even get a good look at him before he left with his purchase. Curious, Cross asked the woman behind the counter if the man was anyone famous. No, the woman said, he wasn't, but did Cross want to leave her number in case he came in again? Yes, she did.

The man, Tom Mahoney, who'd never been married, did return to that shop and got Cross's number. He called her the day she found out she'd been nominated for a Golden Globe. "He didn't say anything [about the award]," Cross says with a sly smile. "And I thought, That's really good; he's a regular guy. So we went on a date."

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