Michael Musto gabs with the studly actor about being raised in Chelsea, dressing in drag, and returning to the hit show Crossing Jordan.

If Jerry O'Connell was really the fat kid in Stand By Me, then Tara Reid used to be Mindy Cohn. But O'Connell swears that was him, way before he became a sleek 'throb in movies like Jerry Maguire and TV shows like Sliders and Crossing Jordan (which returns September 26). Whoever he is, the guy certainly has some fun gay stories up his sleeve.


Musto: Hey, Jerry. A little birdie tells me you were sort of raised by a pack of gay wolves.

O'Connell: Well, all my parents' friends were homosexual. When you grow up in Chelsea you have more "uncles" than any other kid. Every Halloween my brother and I were dying to go as Spider-Man and Batman. "Uncle" Louie next door said, "No, you've got to go as Marilyn Monroe and Mae West." So we went to school in full-on drag!

Me Too! More anecdotes, please. I'm lovin' this.

You can only imagine how exciting it was growing up in front of Splash bar - "Ma, why are those guys taking showers?" As a joke we'd tell friends visiting from out of town to meet us there. Every Sunday my parents would take us to Florent. We were getting served brunch by transvestites! And Louie and another guy, Sterling, would take us to fashion exhibits at [the Fashion Institute of Technology] and give us designer gifts. We were the only kids in the world who grew up knowing who Versace is. When I have kids they'll be raised in Chelsea!

Me too! And where do you live now, pray tell?

West Hollywood, which is basically Chelsea west. I said, "Ma, do you see a trend here?" She said, "Nah, there's nothing wrong with these neighborhoods. That's why I raised you in Chelsea." I do have to say, we are straight.

Oh, OK. Anyway, we should talk some career stuff. You're back in Crossing Jordan.

Yeah. To carry a gun and yell"Freeze!" is a lot of fun. My mom thinks I'm a real cop - "It's so wonderful you're there to protect Jordan." Also, I'm the Perry Ellis underwear guy. You have 30 people behind the lens and you've got to dance around in your underwear. It was a blast!

Well, guess what, Chelsea boy, I still have my promo underwear from Tomcats! Anyway, how did you lose the weight after Stand By Me, if that was indeed you?

The David Barton Gym in Chelsea! You know, I would never have gotten that part if I hadn't grown up in that neighborhood, surrounded by all these cool dudes. I was smarter and faster that all the other kids in that movie. The only place to raise children is Chelsea.

All right, all right, I'll do so! Now, how do I get me some children?