James Denton panicked when the new script for the ABC hit Desperate Housewives had him taking his shirt off. The 41-year-old actor wasn't unaware of the plotline involving his character '- in which more than one of the women on Wisteria Lane were hot-blooded, lonely and oh-so-susceptible to the charms of the neighborhood's only tall, rangy bachelor, a mysterious plumber named Mike Delfino '- but Denton had assumed that the topless moments would go to the buffed kid who played the gardener. Now he had less than two weeks to turn himself into an object of desire.
Denton devised his own training regime: "Stop eating." For 10 days, he sustained life on "Red Man chewing tobacco and Jack Daniel's '- and that's no exaggeration." He ran every morning. And he went to the gym every day: "I knew I could bulk up quicker than I could lose weight. I tried to beef up the top half so the middle would look smaller." The crash course worked '- his "six-pack" became legend. The ultimate accolade followed a few weeks later, when People magazine featured him in its "Sexiest Man Alive" issue. It's now official: James Denton, hottie. James Denton, hunk.
There is one household, however, where this view is not shared, and that is Denton's own two-bedroom North Hollywood home. He's no sex symbol here. He's "Jamie," a guy who cuts his own lawn, finds fame alternately distasteful and amusing and thanks his lucky stars that he met Erin O'Brien, an actress who abandoned that difficult career to become a personal trainer, mother and '- truly sorry, ladies '- thoroughly contented wife.
Here, the happy couple answers a few questions posed by iVillagers, and weigh in on Hallmark holidays, generosity and Jamie's status as sex symbol.