NEW YORK – An image of Paris Hilton (search) in 2007: barefoot and pregnant, in the kitchen making souvlaki. She hasn't been to a club in three months.
If Hilton, 24, goes through with her wedding to shipping heir Paris Latsis (search), that's just how she might wind up. Despite being super-rich, the future Mr. Paris Hilton is a laid-back, regular guy who avoids publicity, drives a pickup truck, loves the ocean and likes to hang out at home, say Hilton's friends.
"He's very mellow, very sweet," says publicist Brian Long, a close pal of Hilton's. "He's much more quiet and more reserved -- he likes being off to the side."
"The best word is 'low-key,'" says Hilton's friend Jonathan Cheban, also a publicist. "You hardly ever see them in a picture together. It's the opposite of what she's used to."
While you might expect Hilton wouldn't last five minutes with someone who likes to spend nights at home and (gasp) avoid publicity, friends say she's smitten by Latsis' homebody instincts.
"He's not a nightclubber, he's a real guy, and she needs someone like that," says Cheban. "He's not out for money, he's not out for fame -- he's not out for anything.
"Everybody else is chasing her, and she needs someone who's at home waiting for her," Cheban adds.
But Hilton and Latsis have lots more in common than their matched set of first names -- they're both swimming in family money. The Hilton family's riches were generated by the hotel chain that bears their name. Latsis' grandfather John (Yianni) Latsis, the son of a peasant fisherman, built his massive fortune from a single boat to a shipping fleet and into an international banking conglomerate.
The Latsis family is tight with U.K. and U.S. power circles. Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles borrowed their 400-foot yacht, Alexander, for a honeymoon cruise of the Greek Islands. President Bush (search) stayed onboard during the Olympics.
Paris' grandfather died in 2003, leaving his uncle Spiro -- a studious type who eschewed the playboy lifestyle and earned a PhD at the London School of Economics -- in charge of the family business.
Since then it has expanded into banking, oil refining and real estate. Forbes magazine recently estimated the Latsis family fortune at $7.5 billion -- placing them at No. 54 on the magazine's list of the world's richest people. By comparison, the Hilton's have a paltry $1 billion, according to Forbes, ranking them at No. 620.
Latsis is the son of Marianna Latsis and Gregory Katsidokostas, a water-ski instructor who created a scandal when he married a princess of Greek society. While the marriage lasted, they were shunned by the Athens elite.
"He was far too vulgar," says Greek jet-setter and gossip columnist Taki Theodoracopulos.
His parents have since divorced. Katsidokostas runs a large water-ski school, was briefly the mayor seaside town Vouliagmeni, and became ensnared in a blackmail ring that also pulled in John Latsis, Paris' grandfather. His mother, Marianna, is a major philanthropist who donated funds for Greek earthquake relief and the Athens Olympics.
Family money gives Paris, 27, who grew up in London, all the freedom he wants to jet around the world and lounge on the family's fleet of yachts.
"His image seems to be that of a playboy," says Apostolos E. Zoupaniotis, editor of the Astoria-based Greek News. "But Mariana and Spiros Latsis are very serious people and they have a good image."
Taki puts it more succinctly: "From what I've heard, he's an obnoxious little twit." Perhaps a twit, but also a ladies man.
Latsis has been linked to lovelies in the past -- most recently actress and model Zeta Graff, with whom he spent a summer cruising the Mediterranean on the Alexander. That raised a few eyebrows since at the time Graff, who is 10 years Latsis' senior, was still married to her estranged husband, Francois Graff -- who is yet another heir, in this case to a diamond fortune.
Latsis carried one souvenir from that fling with her -- a "Z" tatooed on his wrist, which he recently had removed, at Hilton's orders.
The hipster heir has got plenty of body ink left over, however, and a wardrobe that leans towards cut-off shorts and T-shirts. Instead of a Bentley or a BMW, he drives around in a GMC pickup truck, and he loves surfing and hanging out at the beach.
"He's like a beach boy," says Hilton pal Long. "He's a boy's boy -- he's into physical things, like riding motorcycles, driving his pickup truck, going for runs on the beach. You'd never know he was a billionaire."
Paris' parents are as smitten with Latsis as she is, said Long, noting that he proceeded in the proper, old-world way, discussing his proposal with them in advance.
"He's old-fashioned in a way you don't really expect in this day and age," he says. "He's very respectful."
Cheban says the love between the couple is real and unmistakable -- and that it has transformed Hilton.
"Ever since she met him she's been a different person," he says. "She's turned into a woman. He's definitely settled her down. I think she was looking for that, and she's got it.
"I definitely think he's the one," he says.
Perhaps that's what inspired her to recently say that she wants to have a baby "in the next two years." Among the charms of Paris Hilton's new domesticated dude is that he's "one heck of a cook."
Apparently he's got other skills as well. When the pair vacationed in Aruba recently, their after-hours activities were known to disrupt the peace, according to a report in the British newspaper The Sun.
"You could hear moaning and groaning and the bed bumping the wall," one fellow guest told the paper. "They were doing it as much as four times a night."