The couple met in October 2006 on a blind date, set up by local socialite Kathy Wilsey, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Artists’ Ball. (Prior to the date, Siebel says, the mayor’s office perused her personal Web site in lieu of a full-on background check.) Sparks flew immediately. “As soon as I saw them interact I thought, This is it,” says party planner Stanlee Gatti, a longtime friend of Newsom’s.
Siebel, who grew up in the Bay Area but has lived in Los Angeles since 2003, insists that at the time she was clueless about the details of the mayor’s divorce and the string of women he’d been linked to in its wake, including a Scientologist and a 20-year-old restaurant hostess (Newsom is 40). “I didn’t know anything about it,” Siebel says. “All I knew was that my parents had admired him from afar.” Within three months, Siebel and Newsom were jetting off to Hawaii for Christmas, and it was there that he proposed this past December. “I’ve found my soulmate in this man,” Siebel says.
The feeling seems to be mutual. “She has a calmness, serenity and sense of decency that’s beyond anything else,” the mayor says of his betrothed.
Newsom’s gushing may sound over-the-top, but even Siebel’s critics admit that she’s not your average arm candy. The second of five sisters (the eldest died in a childhood accident), Siebel grew up volunteering around the globe; her father, Ken Siebel, an investment manager, is a founding board member of the environmental nonprofit Conservation International. At Stanford she studied third world development and conservation policy and did a little acting on the side. After graduation she told her family she wanted to give Hollywood a try. “My dad teased me that he would disown me,” she recalls. “I took it very seriously. I never wanted to disappoint my father.”
So instead, she took a job with Conservation International, working in Botswana and Peru. After a year, she went back to Stanford for an M.B.A., but through it all, her movie-star dream never died. Five years ago, she finally defected to Hollywood to pursue a film career.
Since then, the Hitchcockian blond has landed bit parts on television and in movies such as Something’s Gotta Give and In the Valley of Elah. Siebel also founded a production company, Girls’ Club Entertainment, and sold her first film, The Trouble With Romance, in which she stars, to Genius Films last year for a DVD and possible TV release. Currently, she’s producing a documentary on female sexuality and power. “My hope is that it inspires young girls to look beyond the tabloids, and to show that there is room for all of us to shine in healthy ways,” she says.