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"I thought I'd never walk again", Best (UK), September 30, 2003
typed by Marny for ka-Bloom

Orlando Bloom was lucky enough to have a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in Canterbury, Kent, where gentle pastimes included local poetry and Bible readings.
Just two days before he was due to leave drama school, and with only one tiny film part under his belt, Orlando found himself being cast in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, which catapulted him to fame. Now, aged just 26, he's said to command 3 million a film. But life hasn't always been so easy....
Orlando grew up believing that his dad was Harry Bloom, a famous South African human-rights lawyer and writer, who died when Orlando was only four. But when he was 12, his mother Sonia annouced that his real dad was in fact Colin Stone - a British teacher and family friend.
Harry Bloom had worked with Nelson Mandela and was jailed in apartheid-ruled South Africa before eventually moving to England with Sonia for a quieter life. But he soon became ill, and that's when Colin moved in with the family to help Sonia as she nursed her husband. When Harry died, Colin became legal guardian to Orlando and his younger sister Samantha. [should be older sister]
It wasn't until eight years later that Orlando was told the truth about his real dad - and it's still not something he finds easy to talk about. "I was lucky, really", he has said. "I had two dads....Harry was prolific writer and my mother has always spoken highly of him. He's been a good role model."
After leaving school, Orlando joined the National Youth Theatre and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He had a tiny role as rent boy in Wilde in 1997 and also appeared on TV shows including Casualty, London's Burning [he was never in this] and Midsomer Murders.
However, at the end of his second year at drama school, Orlando suffered an accident that almost destroyed his life.
He'd gone round to a friend's flat and, while attempting to jump onto a roof terrace, fell three floors out of a window. He broke his back and had an emergency operation.
"I could have died", he admitted. "The damage was very near my spinal cord. For four days in the hospital, doctors told me that I'd never walk again.
"I've always considered myself to be a physical person - an outdoorsy type and I just couldn't contemplate the idea of not living an active life. It was the biggest test I'd ever had to face."
But, amazingly, Orlando managed to walk out of hospital on crutches after just 12 days. "It made me realise that I must be a bit of a fighter", he added. "But it was scary and a blessing in disguise. Because of that incident, I look on everything that happens now as a bit of a bonus."
Not long afterwards, film director Peter Jackson, looking for a young actor to play the elf Legolas in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, decided to cast Orlando.
During filming of the Lord Of The Rings movies, he lived in New Zealand an spent his spare time living life to he full - bungee jumping, skateboarding [should be snowboarding] and sky diving - defying the doctors who told him he'd never walk again.
Since then, he's also starred in the drama Black Hawk Down, about the 1993 US siege in Somalia, and as swashbuckling Will Turner in Pirates Of The Caribbean. He's currently in Malta filming another epic, Troy, alongside Brad Pitt.
This week cinemagoers can see him as Joe Byrne, sidekick of the infamous Ned Kelly, played by Heath Ledger, in a film about the Australian folk hero.
With his deep brown eyes and pretty-boy looks, Orlando has become the most popular star on the Internet, with even more websites than Leonardo diCaprio. On a recent visit to Disneyland for the premiere of Pirates Of The Caribbean, he was overwhelmed by a mob of hysterical girl fans.
"When they're in groups, girls can be rather intimidating - they make me nervous", he's admitted.
And with Orlando's pin-up status, of course, has come speculation about his private life. Until recently, he was said to have been dating actress Kate Bosworth, but recent reports suggest that they have now split up.
So, for the time being, Orlando is just making the most of his good fortune.