Before Katie Holmes married Tom Cruise, before her broken engagement to American Pie star Chris Klein... there was Arthur Colombino.
"I was surprised too," said Colombino.
Colombino was working as a waiter in a trendy Manhattan nightspot when Katie Holmes walked in.
At the time, she was starring in TV's Dawson's Creek. She was with the show's creator Kevin Williamson, who had a message for Colombino:
"He was like, 'My friend Katie wants to meet you.' I was like, 'Oh, really, okay,' " said Colombino.
"Did you know it was Katie Holmes?" asked INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent.
"I did, I did," said Colombino, "Obviously I knew who Katie was from Dawson's Creek."
He says it was the beginning of a whirlwind romance.
"It was one of those experiences, you know, sort of the Notting Hill effect. I felt like Hugh Grant when Julia Roberts walks in," said Colombino.
In Notting Hill, Julia Roberts plays a big Hollywood star who romances a bookseller, played by Hugh Grant.
Holmes had just turned 21, and she was shooting the movie The Wonder Boys with Michael Douglas.
"We definitely went out, romantically. We dated," said Colombino.
But there was no romantic Hollywood ending for Colombino and Holmes like the one in Notting Hill. She returned to shooting Dawson's Creek and he stayed in New York.
"What happened with the relationship? Why didn't it continue?" asked Trent.
"We talked on the phone a few times, and it just fizzled out. It just didn't mature into anything," said Colombino.
The trendy restaurant where Colombino and Holmes' unlikely romance first blossomed is boarded up now.
But the headlines about Holmes' break up from Tom Cruise brought back memories of their love affair. They still have a lot in common—they're both single parents recovering from a divorce.
"I just think that the most important thing is Suri. Just like my daughter, to me, is the most important thing out of the relationship," said Colombino.