LEONARDO DiCAPRIO has won praise for his ability to handle his heart-throb status from co-star John C Reilly, who is "really proud" of The Aviator star.

The OSCAR-nominated actor, 39, first met a "focused" DiCaprio on the set of WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE in 1993 - and is impressed with the way he has handled the enormous media attention since his starring role in 1997 blockbuster TITANIC.

Reilly says, "Leo was only 17 when I met him. He was very bright and clearly a great actor. But he's been through so much.

"I'm really proud of him, that he was able to weather the storm and stay focused on the work.

"All that heart-throb stuff from Titanic didn't really reflect what's so great about Leo. He's a really good actor.

"I think you have a longer career in this business if you do that and make good choices. I mean, your looks are eventually going to change."

16/12/2004 05:45