Though she’s reluctant to offer many details about the relationship, Swank isn’t shy about referring to Campisi as her “boyfriend,” even showing off a photo of herself and his father on a trip to China the two took together a week prior, without Campisi. So, is she in love? “Of course I’m in love,” she says somewhat curtly. “Or I wouldn’t be in this relationship for as long as I’ve been. He’s a great guy.”
Her friends seem to agree. “It was a long relationship she had with Chad,” says close pal Mariska Hargitay, “and it’s a big deal for her to be in a new one. You know, [John’s] a very different kind of guy. This guy has a job and he’s busy. I think she needs somebody who has a type A personality like herself. The thing is, Hilary can come off as superhuman, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need anything. It’s important for someone to take care of her too.”
LaGravenese echoes the sentiment. “She went through a tough period,” says the director, perhaps referencing Lowe’s reported substance abuse problems, which Swank discussed openly in a controversial 2006 Vanity Fair interview. “But she seems incredibly happy these days. She’s learning how to take care of her needs as well as the needs of others without feeling badly about it.”
Swank’s rags-to-riches story is by now well known, but no less moving. After her father left the family when she was six, she ended up, along with her mother and older brother, living in a trailer park in Bellingham, Washington. At age 15 the aspiring actress persuaded her mom to move to L.A., where they lived out of their Oldsmobile for a time. She had a role on Beverly Hills 90210, but when she was fired after 16 episodes, she nearly quit the business. The next year she filmed Boys Don’t Cry.
Robert Duffy, a friend of Swank’s for almost a decade, says she “has never forgotten where she came from.” Duffy, who is Marc Jacobs’s business partner, says that this humility has made her the “generous, kind and charitable” person she is today. “She’s the one who got me involved with Hetrick-Martin,” he says, referring to the New York–based nonprofit serving gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth. “When the Harvey Milk High School [founded by the Hetrick-Martin Institute] was opening and people were picketing it, she was outraged. She was spending nights on the computer, writing letters.”
Swank’s other close fashion-world pal, Versace, says she admires her personal strength. “She knows what she wants, she makes her decisions quickly, and she sticks with them,” Versace says. “I love her determination.”