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Not quite ‘Heaven’

Hit WB series keeps couple apart

SHARE Not quite ‘Heaven’

On "7th Heaven," the actors who play girlfriend and boyfriend Mary and Robbie — Jessica Biel and Adam LaVorgna — are girlfriend and boyfriend in real life. This despite the fact that they're now in their second year of living primarily on opposite ends of the country.

Biel, a former regular, left the show this season so she could attend Tufts University in Massachusetts. (She still makes occasional appearances on "7th Heaven.) At Tufts, she could be close to LaVorgna, who was attending Boston College. Or so she thought.

But just as the show's producers were writing Biel out of the series, they were writing LaVorgna back in. His character has moved in with Mary's family, the Camdens.

"It's just been sort of funny," Biel said. "We sort of planned that we'd be there together and then, 'Boom!' "

Not that either of them are complaining about the unexpected turn of events.

"He's having a good time and it's a great opportunity," Biel said. "And I'm having a good time at school."

"It was something I just couldn't pass up," said LaVorgna, who has taken a break from Boston College. "But it was something I wasn't expecting.

"And we still see each other as often as we can and talk a lot on the phone."

The two knew each other before LaVorgna did his first guest spot on "7th Heaven" — they met when they both co-starred in the 1998 theatrical comedy "I'll Be Home for Christmas."

"We'd been dating for a while before '7th Heaven," he said. "Jessie called me up last year at Boston College and said, 'Do you want to be on the show.' "

(Not that Biel did the casting herself, but she did suggest LaVorgna to the show's producers.)

So, once again, they find themselves on opposite coasts.

"It's OK. It'll all work out, I'm sure," Biel said.

JUST ANOTHER CO-ED: Biel said that fitting in at Tufts hasn't been hard despite the fact that she just spent four years on a weekly TV series. (And there was all the publicity when she posed nearly nude in a magazine and made noise about how badly she wanted to leave "7th Heaven" — two things she now stresses that she regrets.)

"It's been pretty normal," Biel said. "People who didn't know me, who weren't living next to me, who didn't get to know me right away, they weren't sure what to think about me and I wasn't sure what to think about them."

She got a few sidelong glances and longer stares, but things have calmed down since the first few weeks.

"People have been treating me really normally," Biel said. "They see me every morning come into the dining hall, rolling out of bed with sweats on. It's just very normal, and nobody cares. I'm old hat."

OUT OF WORK? With "The Mole" winding down this week (the final two episodes airs Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. on ABC/Ch. 4) and no word yet on whether it will be picked up for another run, host Anderson Cooper might be looking for a job.

He left his previous job as a correspondent for ABC News to take "The Mole" gig — and he insisted it was his decision.

"They offered to renew my contract, but I didn't want to," said Cooper, the son of designer Gloria Vanderbilt and artist Wyatt Cooper.

And he gets a bit testy when asked why he gave up a career as a foreign/war correspondent, reporting from countries like Rwanda, Somalia, Bosnia, Iran, South Africa, Russia, Vietnam and Israel, to host a game show.

"I never saw it as giving up my career," Cooper said. "I gave up a job at ABC News, but journalism is my first love. I was a combat reporter for three years before ABC. I plan on continuing in journalism. It meant giving up one job, but, frankly, no one stays in a network news job for very long. And I wanted a change. I wanted to do something different. It's like exercising a different muscle. And the game itself I found fun. Just because I'm obsessed with news and love news does not mean that I can't occasionally have some fun."

The question is whether he can segue back into journalism once his game-show career is over.

E-MAIL: pierce@desnews.com