'ALLY MCBEAL' STAR & GALPAL THROW GAY OL' ENGAGEMENT BASH

Published on: February 13, 2002

Here come the brides! Gorgeous blonde "Ally McBeal" star Portia de Rossi and her raven-haired rocker galpal Francesca Gregorini have just thrown an official engagement party -- and plan to get married in a gay ceremony in Europe this summer.

And no one is more delighted than Francesca's stepdad Ringo Starr and her mom, actress Barbara Bach. They were on hand at the February 1 bash, along with "Roseanne" star Sara Gilbert, actress Tatiana von Furstenberg and about 60 other close friends.

Portia, who plays attorney Nelle Porter, and 33-year-old Francesca have been engaged since Christmas -- as The ENQUIRER revealed late last year.

"But they wanted to announce their summer wedding and show off their new rings to family and friends with a special event," revealed an insider. "They decided on the lavish but intimate engagement party, which also celebrated Portia's 29th birthday."

The bash -- held at Portia's apartment in West Hollywood -- featured martinis, Moet & Chandon champagne and a sumptuous buffet of lamb chops, salmon, shepherd's pie and finger foods.

"Both Portia and Francesca never looked more beautiful or in love as they floated around the party hand in hand," said the insider.

"As guests gushed their engagement congratulations, the women showed off their rings. Portia's is a big cut diamond on a platinum band. Francesca's is a platinum band with a smaller inset of diamonds.

"The lovebirds both wore their hair down in loose ringlets and looked like something out of an Italian Renaissance painting." The night's big moment came when it was time for Portia's birthday cake.

"After everyone sang 'Happy Birthday' and Portia blew out her candles, Francesca took her fiancee in her arms and planted a deep kiss on her that took everyone's breath away," disclosed the insider.

"It was a long, slow kiss that left no doubt how madly in love they are."

But their intense passions will come as no surprise to ENQUIRER readers. Last November we ran sizzling photos of the two in a shocking public make-out session in broad daylight.

Portia turned to women after a painful breakup nearly four years ago with her former live-in boyfriend, documentary filmmaker Mel Metcalfe, revealed a friend of the couple.

"She secretly romanced openly gay "Chasing Amy" star Guinevere Turner last summer, but when she met Francesca last fall -- and fell head over heels in love -- she stopped hiding her sexual preference.

"Portia is so serious about Francesca that she's looking to get married in a European country where gay marriages are officially recognized -- where they can have a truly romantic and meaningful ceremony.

"Ringo has even volunteered the use of one of his estates in Europe for Portia and Francesca to have a romantic summer wedding. Ringo and Barbara think Portia is the best girlfriend Francesca has ever had -- they think the world of her."

Revealed another source: "The morning after the engagement party, Portia and Francesca walked their dogs in their West Hollywood neighborhood.

"They held hands and laughed as they strolled with their pooches.

"And that night, the couple checked into a suite at the Chateau Marmont Hotel for a private engagement celebration.

"They checked out the next morning and spent the day at Ringo and Barbara's home in Beverly Hills."

Concluded the friend: "Portia and Francesca are soul mates. They have found each other and now they are going to make it official. And from the way Ringo and Barbara have embraced Portia, it looks as if it's going to be one big happy family."