Patton grew up in Los Angeles, where she met Thicke, her life partner of two decades, at an 18-and-under nightclub when she was 15 and he was 14. Before their first kiss, he sang Jodeci’s “Forever My Lady” to her in his dad Alan’s living room. “He wasn’t my first kiss,” says Patton, “but he was my first lots of other things.”
The daughter of a black lawyer and a white teacher, Patton worked in film production after graduating from college. “I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, so I liked the other side of the camera,” she says. “It took until I was 27 to say, ‘You only have one life to live, so you might as well go and see if you can act.’ ” Within a year, she landed a part in Hitch, with Will Smith.
These days, she’s in Vancouver filming Warcraft, based on the online game series. “I’ve never been big into video games,” says Patton. “But the Warcraft script reads more like a complex, epic novel.” She’d rather not star in a long-running off-screen story of her own, though. Will the couple remain apart? Patton says only, “We’ve known each other since we were teenagers. All I can tell you is there’s a deep love there—always was, and always will be.”
Hit the gallery below for more photos of Paula and her watermelons.