AMERICAN IDOL RUBEN STILL LOOKING FOR LOVE

Published on: June 2, 2003

"American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard has almost everything: a $1 million recording contract, a management deal with record industry legend Clive Davis and even his own big-and-tall clothing line in the works.

Everything . . . but love.

But that could change quickly for the gentle giant from Alabama, who's been deluged with love letters from adoring female fans.

Ruben has admitted to friends that he's been lonely and feeling the romantic void in his life because he's thrown all his energy into "Idol" and establishing his singing career.

The silky-voiced singer had been linked to fellow contestant Kimberley Locke at the beginning of the show, but it was all concocted by FOX publicity and there was no real romance there.

But now the man dubbed the Velvet Teddy Bear has won the hearts of millions of women around the world and redefined the term "sex symbol."

"Ever since Ruben's debut on 'American Idol,' FOX has been buried in fan mail from young women who want to send him their love," a set insider told The ENQUIRER.

Ruben's talents as a musician have proven that sex symbols can come in all shapes and sizes.

"For the past few months, women have been throwing themselves at Ruben, but he's been too busy focusing on his career to give his love life any attention," added the insider.

"Now with all the women Ruben has to choose from, it shouldn't be hard for him to find the woman of his dreams."

The ideal woman for Ruben would be a "good-looking, God-fearing, down-home Southern girl who sings in the church choir," said a source close to "American Idol."

"Someone who's sweet and kind and a good cook -- because as anyone can see, Ruben likes to eat."

Even as a teenager at Huffman High School in Birmingham, Ala., Ruben was so intent on being a success that romance always took a backseat.

"Ruben didn't have a lot of girlfriends because he was focused on playing football and being a singer," friend and former football coach Curtis Coleman told The ENQUIRER.

"Ruben was one of the more popular kids in high school, and he certainly never had a problem finding a date if he wanted one.

"All the girls loved Ruben because he was such a friendly, good-hearted person, but his career was always the most important thing to him.

"Now that he's reached his goal, he'll probably shift his focus from career to love and try to make up for lost time!"

Said the close source: "Ruben's a little shocked by the outpouring he's received from fans, especially females, since the start of the show.

"He's flooded with love letters and mash notes. In many cases the correspondence is from older women -- mothers and grandmothers -- who want to fix him up with their daughters and granddaughters!

"And in many cases, they include pictures.

"In the past, fellow parishioners at the Lighthouse Full Gospel Church -- where he was the director of the music department -- tried to fix him up.

"But nothing came of these arranged dates."

Ruben told a friend: "Now I realize, what's the sense of having success if you don't have anyone in your life to share it with?

"My mother always told me that the right girl would come along, that it was only a matter of time.

"Well as far as I'm concerned, now's the time!"