Mr. Seabra and Castro arrived in New York on Wednesday, Dec. 29, with plans to watch the ball drop in Times Square and see a Broadway show. The pair scored tickets to Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and ate at the trendy Keith McNally pizzeria Pulino’s on the Bowery.
They had so much fun that they stayed to pose for photos with a restaurant manager. “We’re not going to talk about that night,” a Pulino’s manager told The Observer about a week after the incident. It was getting late, and the crowd consisted largely of Alan Rickman and his fellow cast mates from the Ibsen play John Gabriel Borkman, playing at BAM.
“I know what night you’re talking about,” the manager said. “If you want to have a drink, you’re more than welcome. Or you can leave.”
After dining at Pulino’s, the couple then went to see the gruesome and sexually tortured movie Black Swan.
Friend and journalist Luis Pires said the pair also ventured to Atlantic City one evening and had dinner at the Taj Mahal Hotel.
This was the New York Mr. Seabra had always dreamed of. He grew up in the small town of Cantanhede, not far from the Atlantic and south of Porto. He was a college basketball star. But his real break came when he appeared as a contestant on the reality show A Procura do Sonho (In Pursuit of a Dream)—the Portuguese equivalent of America’s Next Top Model. Mr. Seabra, though one of three finalists, did not win. His Facebook fan page, however, garnered more than 2,000 followers, and one of the show’s developers and judges, fashion designer Fatima Lopes, offered Mr. Seabra a modeling contract.
His figure is trim, and the ripples of a muscular upper body accent his silhouette. His skin is olive, and his smile gleams under tousled hair. Mr. Seabra has attributed the success of his modeling career to his mother. “My mom told me to keep trying,” he told a Portuguese newspaper, “because I wasn’t taking modeling seriously enough. … I’m shy in front of the camera, especially when everyone is watching me.”
Friends of Castro say the two had been in a relationship for several months before their Big Apple tour, and flirtatious Facebook messages such as Mr. Seabra’s closing salutation, “big kiss,” suggest they were romantically involved.
“This kid was probably looking for fame and money,” Mr. Pires has said. “He took a chance to be very close to a man who could promote him. It was a risky relationship.”
Their romance does not seem far-fetched. An ambitious young show-business wannabe had met the established celebrity journalist who could make his career. But Mr. Seabra’s mother, Odilia Pereirinha, a resolute Catholic, insists her son was never ambiguous about his sexuality. “My son never hid his sexuality,” she told the Portuguese network TVIndependente. “He is heterosexual. … He was not Carlos Castro’s lover.”
Ms. Pereirinha’s denial has created what one attendee of Castro’s funeral described as “a war” between the two families. In fact, according to Portuguese news sources, Ms. Pereirinha and Castro’s two sisters, who attended their brother’s funeral two days earlier, boarded the same flight from Newark to Lisbon on Monday morning.