JERUSALEM (March 12, 2007) — Leonardo DiCaprio arrived in Israel with supermodel Bar Refaeli this weekend, creating a paparazzi storm.
The 32-year-old Hollywood actor and Refaeli, 21, have been romantically linked for about a year, and Israeli newspapers regularly run updates on their relationship.
They apparently hoped to slip into the country unnoticed on a night flight from Frankfurt, Germany, on Sunday, but the plane was also carrying a group of Israeli entertainment reporters on their way back from a press junket in Ireland.
By the time DiCaprio and Refaeli headed for her family’s home in an upscale Tel Aviv suburb, it had been besieged by dozens of photographers.
Guy Pines, host of an Israeli entertainment news show, rented a helicopter to survey the scene from the air, standard paparazzi procedure abroad but a first for Israel, he said.
But Refaeli and DiCaprio remained inside, and by Monday morning, all the cameramen had to show for their efforts was a blurry shot of the couple being driven to the home of Refaeli’s parents, their faces obscured.
DiCaprio has received Oscar nominations for his roles in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” “The Aviator” and “Blood Diamond.” Refaeli is featured in Sports Illustrated magazine’s recent swimsuit issue alongside Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler.
Pines told The Associated Press the high-profile success both celebrities have enjoyed “turns them into a power couple that grabs a lot of media attention.”
But more than anything, Israelis are happy for a diversion, Pines said.
“The fact that most of the headlines here recently haven’t been pleasant turns the interest in this beautiful fairy tale couple into something the media can revel in,” he said.