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Paula Gets A Gun Man

May 22nd, 2003

PAULA GETS A GUN MAN
By MICHAEL STARR 

May 22nd, 2003

Paula gets a gun-man


Colton "Colt" Melby thought Paula Abdul was hot as a pistol when they met - and made his family keep the romance a secret. - Jeff Kravitz, FilmMagic.com

May 22, 2003 -- 'AMERICAN Idol" judge Paula Abdul's new boyfriend is #1 with a bullet - he's Smith & Wesson owner Colton "Colt" Melby. And Colt's mom couldn't be happier with his new pistol-sharp girlfriend. 

"We were really impressed with Paula. She's a lovely girl, very down-to-earth," Marilyn Melby tells US Weekly. 

"You should have heard [Colt] when he first called us," she says. "He was saying, 'You'll never believe who I'm dating!' and then swore us to total secrecy."

Colton, 44, is a divorced, Arizona-based millionaire who owns part of firearms giant Smith & Wesson. 

He met the twice-divorced Abdul, 40, through a mutual friend, according to his mom - squelching rumors that Abdul shelled out $10,000 to a Beverly Hills dating service to meet the man of her dreams. 

"Colt and Paula met through a mutual friend, not a dating company," Marilyn Melby says, adding that the happy couple recently paid a weekend visit to the Melby family's home in suburban Seattle. 

Another source close to Abdul and Melby tells US that their pairing is a case of opposites attracting - much like the title of Abdul's hit ("Opposites Attract").

"She's a talented artist and he's this rugged adventurer," says the source. "But they are both very successful, close in age, with no kids, and I think it helps that he isn't in show business." 

Colton made his fortune through his family's airplane-parts business, Metal Form, Inc., which he sold before retiring and moving to Scottsdale, Ariz. 

He was then approached to invest in Smith & Wesson - and coughed up $5 million to purchase 26 percent of the famous firearms company. 

"I grew up around guns, but that's about the sum of my gun experience," he told The Wall Street Journal last year.

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