Dress, Pamella Roland ($4,950). Neiman Marcus, 737 N. Michigan Ave.; neimanmarcus.com. Earrings, Tous ($1,509). Macy’s, 111 N. State St.; macys.com. Cuff and multistone ring, Bulgari (prices on request). 909 N. Michigan Ave.; bulgari.com. Globe ring, Swarovski ($170). Bloomingdale’s, The 900 Shops, 900 N. Michigan Ave.; bloomingdales.com

Little girls dream of growing up to be Giuliana Rancic. She chats up celebrities as the coanchor of E! News, stars in a delightfully sweet reality show about married life, Giuliana & Bill, and wears spectacular gowns while reporting live from Hollywood award shows. But this may surprise you: Her private fantasy is to retreat into a life much more ordinary. She says her fondest hope is to move into a sprawling home in Chicago’s western ’burbs with her husband, Bill, and (fingers crossed) their soon-tobe- conceived children.

That’s right, the queen of the red carpet daydreams of green lawns and white picket fences. Her voice swells with anticipation when she says, “I love Hinsdale,” and ticks off the reasons why: charming downtown, trains to the city, having Bill’s family close at hand. “I picture us in a great house with a white picket fence of some sort,” she says. “With three kids and people over all the time for fun barbecues in our backyard.”

It looks like she’ll get her wish. For the last few weeks Bill has been house-hunting both downtown and in the suburbs (she’s been rooting for the suburbs, although they currently reside in the Gold Coast), and Giuliana is completing a muchtalked- about round of IVF treatment. “My ovaries are large, and my pants are tight,” laughs Rancic. “I don’t appreciate it because my stylist is like, ‘You’re pregnant!’ And I’m like, ‘Jose, back off! My ovaries are the size of freakin’ golf balls.’” It’s this kind of candor that marks Rancic’s enormous appeal. She’s just as well known as many of the celebrities she covers, and she speaks to the camera as if she’s chatting with a close friend. Still, while it’s unusual for a working woman to announce her intention to get pregnant, it’s especially bold when that woman has one of the most coveted jobs in television. “It is scary,” she admits. “I had a conversation pretty recently with a boss of mine here at E! who said, ‘What are we going to do when you get pregnant and want to leave and move to Chicago?’ And I said, ‘Well, wait a second. There are a lot of women who get pregnant and become bigger and better than ever. If I’m shooting from Chicago, the show will get even higher numbers.’”

Bill has had to get on board with the share-it-all philosophy, and that’s caused some friction. While taping a recent show, she says, “There was a part where Bill had to get [his fertility] checked, and there was a lot of, ‘Uh, I don’t know if I want the doctor to talk about that.’ I was like, ‘You signed up for this, dude. Let other guys who watch the show know what you’re going through.’”

It’s these unnatural conversations that can bring on the “reality show curse” (Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, anyone?), but Rancic is prepared to tough it out. “Reality shows do put you in weird situations that aren’t real, like you have to have conversations about, ‘Are we going to air your sperm count on TV?’ It becomes a little crazy, and you can see how Jon and Kate and these people break up. Unless you’re a supersecure, grounded couple who are truly in love, you cannot survive a reality show together.”

With the decision made to have their fertility issues play out publicly (she and Bill have been trying for a year and a half and attempted artificial insemination, which failed), Rancic still believes there are limits to what’s appropriate for discussion. Case in point: She was floored when she went on The View and cohost Whoopi Goldberg accused her of being too thin. “Whoopi pretty much insinuated that if I wasn’t ready to gain more weight to get pregnant, then I’m not ready to be a mom,” she says. “I kind of got blindsided by that and I felt like she oversimplified infertility. She made it sound like, ‘Gain five pounds and you’ll get pregnant.’ Well, no, one in eight women are infertile and it’s not because I didn’t gain five pounds, Whoopi. I got so many e-mails after that.”

For the record, she did gain five pounds a few months ago (it was on the advice of her Chicagobased fertility team: Dr. Brian Kaplan at the Fertility Centers of Illinois and Dr. Elias Sabbagha at Northwestern Memorial Hospital). But she’s balancing that with a career choice that has had her on television daily for the last seven years. “If you’re in shape and work out, people just assume you don’t eat,” says Rancic. “I’ve never in my life had an eating disorder. I’m always the one eating off of people’s plates.” But, she admits, “If I gain 20 pounds, they’ll find someone 20 pounds skinnier to do the job. That’s just the way it is.”

Rancic estimates that since her marriage almost three years ago, she has spent nearly half of her time in Chicago—alternating weekends with Bill’s visits to LA, and often shooting E! News on Fridays and Mondays from a satellite set in the John Hancock Center. She’s hoping her show can accommodate more time in Chicago when her contract is up in a year and a half. But if they can’t, that would be OK, she says.

“Career-wise, my dream is for Bill and I to do a daytime show in Chicago,” she says. “It would be a he said/she said where couples come on and have arguments. Maybe the audience would be all around in a circle as opposed to just in front. I just want to do it out of Chicago. That’s our dream in life, to commute into Chicago.” Here’s hoping dreams do come true.

GIULIANA SOUNDS OFF

On cheating husbands: The whole Sandra Bullock/Jesse James thing, I saw that coming a mile away. During the whole red-carpet season I would always point out that he would never stand by her. At her movie premieres he would run inside, and I was always like, He’s not a real man.

On celebrity marriages: It’s so hard to have a successful relationship as an actor. There’s nothing normal about your spouse going to a set and getting in bed with a girl and making out with her and rolling around. At the end of the day, there are emotions involved. Actors are the most emotional people in the world.

On Chicago women: There are the most chic women in Chicago that I’ve ever seen. In New York they’re chic but they’re frowning and miserable. What makes [Chicago women] more chic is that they smile. They put themselves together so well. They all go out and their hair is perfect, dresses are beautiful, their jewelry… they take pride in looking gorgeous. I love that they do that.

BOTTOM: Dress, Sue Wong ($528). Saks Fifth Avenue, 700 N. Michigan Ave.; saksfi fthavenue.com. Earrings, Bulgari (price on request). 909 N. Michigan Ave.; bulgari.com. Gloves, Gaspar Gloves ($97). Visit gaspargloves.com. Shoes, Badgley Mischka ($175). Nordstrom, 55 E. Grand Ave.; nordstrom.com Retouching by Mattia Balsamini

Styling by Jeffrey Relf at The Fashion Offi ce Hair by Eli Thomas for Thomas Chance Hairdressing Makeup by Sammy Mourabit for Dior at traceymattingly.com Shot on location at Montage Beverly Hills. Just one year after opening, Montage Beverly Hills achieved Forbes Five Star recognition. The Gold LEED-certified hotel elegantly marries Old Hollywood style with modern luxury, featuring panoramic views from its pool, delicious meals at The Conservatory Grill and the ultimate in pampering at the expansive Spa Montage. Visit montagebeverlyhills.com

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