Teri Hatcher opens the double doors to her 1960s hilltop home wearing jeans, a loose white tank top and a humorously bulky gauze eye patch over her right eye — leaving one beautifully long-lashed mascaraed left eye looking down from the steps next to her front-yard pool.

The previous afternoon on the Desperate Housewives set, Hatcher’s cornea was scratched when a Christmas light exploded in her face during a scene for the hit show’s two-hour season finale (airing May 21, 9 p.m., ABC).

Sitting on a big, fluffy white shag carpet in front of the lit terrazzo fireplace in her high-ceilinged living room, the 41-year-old Golden Globe winner and author of the new memoir/self-help book, Burnt Toast: And Other Philosophies of Life (Hyperion, $24.95), has laid out a spread of berries and sushi. But rather than use her chopstick to sample the spicy tuna rolls, she twists the wooden utensil up into her hair like a makeshift geisha. Hatcher would like you to believe she is not all that different from other overworked divorcées, which is the relatable voice she assumes in her first book.

Published this week (she is also writing a TV comedy pilot version), Burnt Toast offers insight to women like herself who learned from their mothers to eat the lousy over-toasted bread while leaving the good slices to others.

Housewives creator Marc Cherry believes Hatcher is qualified to put her experiences in book form. “A lot of us who struggled through the lean years, come through the darkness and catch a second wave of success have some insight to share,” says Cherry, who has seen a noticeable change in the star from Seasons 1 to 2. “I think she’s calmed down and is at a much more blissful place.”

Much ado about Clooney

In addition to opening up about times she has placed others’ needs before her own, Hatcher, who as a child once kept a scrapbook of her failures, tells tales of a disappointing dating life. She manages to do so without being bitter. Even in a year when she has watched her fellow Housewives meet men, fall in love and get engaged (Marcia Cross to Tom Mahoney, Nicollette Sheridan to old flame Michael Bolton and Eva Longoria, who is not engaged but deeply committed to San Antonio Spurs ballplayer Tony Parker), the eternally single gal is able to celebrate their joys.

“I am so thrilled for them,” she says while sipping coffee. “But I don’t feel competitive. My finding a guy or not finding a guy has nothing to do with them finding a guy. I believe there are enough pieces of the pie for all of us women to go around. But yeah, I would like to have a boyfriend. Sometimes you feel the older you get, the more that window closes.”

For the record, George Clooney, with whom she has been linked, is only a neighbor who invited her to dinner once at the end of December — with no kiss. Yet that one evening spawned a soap opera in the tabloids that continues to this day. “I don’t really even know George Clooney,” she says. “This has been four months of fabrications of nothingness. There was an article last week that I was going to move because I couldn’t stand being in the neighborhood. This week there’s a story that I’m jealous about some girl he was going out with. We weren’t even dating! How much of a bummer would it be to have one of the hottest guys in the world be your ex-boyfriend and you missed the whole thing?”

Abuse had lasting effects

In her book, she says, “I still feel I’m never going to find someone to love who loves me back in spite of and because of all my dark, complicated, insecure places.” Hatcher revealed the root of that darkness in the April issue of Vanity Fair, in which she opened up for the first time about an uncle who began sexually molesting her at age 5.

The childhood abuse had lasting effects and played a role in the dissolution of her 1994-2003 marriage to actor Jon Tenney.

Hatcher pauses to search for words when asked how her life remains affected by the abuse. “I guess the area of love and trust. When it’s a family member who supposedly loves you and violates you this way, what you thought was love and some sort of physical intimacy was really violation. That intimacy can be something pleasurable as opposed to something that’s going to cause you harm, is something I’ve had to deal with.”

A virtually sexless marriage

The book reveals she and her ex-husband had very little sex in their marriage. She did not have sex on her honeymoon and knows the exact date her daughter, Emerson, 8, was conceived. But it is another line that causes the most curiosity. She says in the book, “One of the reasons I chose the marriage that I did was so I wouldn’t have to deal with (the sexual) part of me.”

She declines to elaborate, explaining, “For me to comment on it without Jon being here to comment back is unreasonable.”

Reached for comment, Tenney would only say, “She’s the mother of my child and I wish her all the best.”

After achieving what she calls “hard-won” peace, Hatcher now calls Tenney a “good guy.” The two were together two weeks ago to root on Emerson when she won her first horseback-riding trophy.

Emerson is so much the focus of Hatcher’s life that her book’s dedication reads: “To Emerson, whose birth was the sole source of my personal evolution over the last seven years. Thank you for giving my life meaning.” And it was Emerson, she says in the book, who prevented her from jumping into the Hudson River in the darkest days shortly before she filed for divorce.

It is difficult to decipher what is Emerson’s and what is Mom’s. Their house is filled with a collection of giant pillows in the shapes of candy bars and a large Dumbo cookie jar in the kitchen, where her two King Charles spaniels, Klaus and Pip, are sleeping on pillows beside tomato-red cabinets Hatcher painted herself. In the backyard grazes Silver Bells, a horse Hatcher bought Emerson last year for Christmas.

And she has contemplated adopting a second child.

“Emerson and I have talked about it,” she says. “She wants it to be a girl, and I think she’d be a great big sister. But the way I look at it, one child would have a father, and one wouldn’t. One child would come and go from (the father’s) house, and one wouldn’t. I’m not saying it’s impossible … (but) I haven’t completely given up on finding a partner.”

In Burnt Toast, Hatcher’s food-themed chapter titles (“Chickening Out,” “Sour Grapes Can Make a Fine Wine,” “Recipe for Disaster”) are accompanied by girlish portraits of Hatcher drawn by her friend, artist Colleen Ross.

“Teri loves whimsy — lives it, breathes it, spreads it around like magic,” says Ross. The artist remembers celebrating Hatcher’s 40th birthday at a playful all-girl weekend getaway at a Napa Valley resort. “I went over to her room, and she was in this big Jacuzzi — nude and bouncing around like a 3-year-old in the water.”

Hatcher wants a monogamous partner to bounce around with and offer “lots of sex.” But no more husbands. (Her first marriage to Marcus Leithold in the late ’80s lasted less than a year.) “I don’t want to get married necessarily,” she explains, “because I don’t believe in the paperwork and the government endorsement of a marriage.”

Ready for a relationship

Hatcher says she has not had a boyfriend since her divorce, has had very few dates and won’t bring a man into her home as an overnight guest around Emerson until she has confidence in the relationship. Whether she is now finally ready to enjoy a free, trusting sexual relationship with a man is a question Hatcher still wonders herself. “I think I am,” she says. “But I guess I won’t know until I have that person in my life.”

There are days when she stares at her naked self in front of the mirror, wondering, as she states in the book, why anyone would want to be with her. But she now wants to amend that quote a bit. “It goes back and forth. On a bad day, I wonder. On a good day, I think someone eventually will.”

With an improving body image, the woman known as a girl as “Hairy Teri” because of her thick brows adamantly denies anorexia rumors and says she does not weigh any less this year than last. Friends who know her say she is always in her kitchen cooking. “She loves to eat,” says Ross.

Hatcher has admitted to a very few Botox and collagen injections about four years ago when she was a “mom in the real world” feeling “old, tired and ugly,” but she says she has not done anything to her face during the time she has appeared on Housewives. “I don’t have anything done. I want to see who I am naturally.”

But now, of course, she worries that the tabloids will speculate that her eye accident is really an elaborate ruse to cover cosmetic surgery. “I’m waiting for people to go, ‘Oh yeah, glass went in her eye — sure,’ ” she says with a laugh. “I’ll be the only person in Hollywood who had one eye job. I want that special half-lift look.” - Privacy Policy - DMCA