The right ingredients?

Andrew Cuomo and Sandra Lee

Andrew Cuomo who two and a half years ago, suffered the slings and arrows (at least in the media) of being cuckolded in his thirteen-year marriage to Kerry Kennedy by the rich and handsome (and also very much married) Bruce Colley, has found happiness at last, they say, in person of Sandra Lee, the Food Network’s celebrity chef and host of “Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee.”

Ms. Lee who is recently divorced after five years of marriage from Los Angeles home-building executive Bruce Karatz, has reportedly been seeing the former Clinton Administration official and son of New York’s former governor Mario Cuomo for some time.

The Lee-Karatz divorce was filed last May. In the papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last month, she asked her multimillionaire husband for spousal support. Her request may be overshadowed by her own enormous earning capacity. She already has two best-selling cookbooks: Semi-Homemade Cooking and Semi-Homemade Desserts which are two of the biggest sellers in their category and recently signed a contract to become a spokeswoman for Campbell Soup. She also has a deal with Miramax to produce cookbooks and TV shows.

The very pretty Ms. Lee who is one of those thin, very well-kept California blondes may be the Bel-Air and Malibu version of Martha Stewart, but she is also a girl born in the Midwest. And she has not lost that Midwest openness which may explain her huge popularity with the American audience on both coasts and in the middle. She occasionally involves members of her family on her show – a sister Kimber, a niece Stephanie (often called Miss Stephanie) and two nephews – Austin and Bryce (often called Brycer). That down-home quality coupled with her classic Southern California fitness and good looks makes her a familiar face on American television and the cover of supermarket magazines as well as a popular favorite on network and cable morning talk shows. It also earns her millions and millions of dollars annually.

Aside from her obvious cleverness, friends say she is lots of fun, focused, supersmart and very much into business. And she adores Mr. Cuomo. And, unlike Mr. Cuomo and his former wife, she made her name all by her lonesome.

She took an apartment here in Manhattan fairly recently and occasionally has been seen in public (albeit quietly and only to perceptive, knowing eyes) with her new inamorata. Some say that this relationship, along with her ex-husband’s own activities outside the marriage, is what encouraged her move to divorce.

Mr. Cuomo, who made an unsuccessful attempt to run for public office a few years ago and is said to be contemplating another bid for election, is a smart but somewhat rigid public persona. Friends say that his relationship with Ms. Lee, who is outgoing and very friendly, has loosened him up noticeably.

February 22, 2006, Volume VI, Number 32


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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/