COSMOPOLITAN

She’s Superman’s babe on “Lois and Clark” — a mesmerizing Ms. who wears size 4 draped on a voluptuous body!

REGRETS: “No brothers and sisters. It panics me to think I’m the only one to hold on to all those family memories.”

PROGNOSTICATION: “I always said success isn’t going to happen for me until my early thirties.”

SECRET SKILL: “I make the best pumpkin-raspberry-and-ginger-with-lemon-glaze muffins you’ll ever taste.”

HOME MENAGERIE: “Two dogs, three cats, three birds, a tortoise, and a Newfoundland puppy on the way.”

Teri Hatcher is trying to be more powerful than a locomotive when it comes to resisting the urge to obsess on her looks. Of course, she looks great: a size 4 with what she admits is “a heavenly body.”

Indeed, it was *her* breasts that inspired the much-admired “Are They Real?” episode of TV’s “Seinfeld.”

Now that Hatcher is starring ABC’s “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” playing Lois Lane not as the dowdy reporter from the fifties TV version but as a spunky go-getter and dazzling beauty, the trick is to stay size 4 and not go nuts: “Somebody said in some magazine, ‘She’s *always* on a diet.’ I’m not always on a diet. I just try to eat right, because we work so hard that when I get out of line, I get tired and sick.”

Love is currently making a shambles of Hatcher’s fitness regimen.

Engaged to actor Jon Tenney, who played a lawyer on the now-defunct TV series “Equal Justice,” she has just spent a romantic four-day weekend with him in remote Virginia, where he was shooting a feature-film remake of “Lassie.” That meant a lot of pizza delivered to the hotel room.

For atonement — “balance,” she calls it — Hatcher is, at the moment, picking at a grilled vegetarian plate between scenes of “Lois and Clark.” She has said that Dean Cain, the hunk who plays Superman, is prettier than she is, but she was only kidding: “I bring as much beauty and sex appeal to the show as he does.”

Growing up in Sunnyvale, California, the only child of a physicist father and a computer-programmer mother, Hatcher wasn’t as brazenly confident then about either her body or allure: “People look at me now and think, Oh, you’ve always been gorgeous and that makes your life great. But I was incredibly unpopular and nerdy when I was an adolescent.”

Hatcher was majoring in math and engineering at Deanza Junior College, near her hometown (“I used to love when I got A’s and the men didn’t), when a friend asked her to lend moral support at an open casting call. She had spent a summer at the American Conservatory Theater’s training institute, so tagging along appealed to her. Once there, the tagalong tried out too — and was cast as one of the dancing mermaids on “The Love Boat.” She always meant to get back to college, but …

Despite the downtimes, during which she waitressed, Hatcher chipped away putting together a career. In addition to doing television, she played Sylvester Stallone’s sister in “Tango & Cash” and worked with Dolly Parton and James Woods in “Straight Talk.”

And she fell in love a time or two, usually with actors or entertainers. The memories make her shudder: “I had one relationship with an actor for three years, where I really jumped off the cliff for the first time. `I’m not going to be afraid, I’m really going to go for this,’ I told myself. I got completely burned. He was cheating on me all over the place. It was pretty damaging.

“I met Jon a couple of years later, and I think he had to take the brunt of that a little bit. I don’t understand why people have such a hard time being honest. If you don’t like me, if you don’t want to be with me, tell me, and we’ll part. That will hurt for a moment, but the betrayal will hurt more.”

Hatcher and Tenney were introduced by friends, though she stalled for a month before agreeing to see him. (“He’s an *actor*!”) Their first dinner together was at a party: “I was telling a story and everybody started talking among themselves in the middle of it. So I got up and walked across the room and started talking to the plant. Jon says that’s the moment he fell in love with me. `Anyone who gets up and talks to a plant because everyone’s ignoring her — that’s the girl for me!'”

For Hatcher, it was their first month together while he was appearing at the Los Angeles Music Center that won her heart. “We used to go to lunch, planning on an hour. We’d end up staying until he had to rush to the Mark Taper. I just thought anybody I could talk to like that, I was in love with. He really is the greatest!”

With a marriage in the works and age thirty approaching, Hatcher is thinking kids. She wants three or four, she says. But obviously, there is career to think about. “Lois and Clark” is contending for the number two spot on Sunday nights against the invincible “Murder, he Wrote”. “One of my producers told Jon she’d sue him if he got me pregnant. I don’t know why she’d sue *him*, since I’d be partly responsible.” Hatcher says it’s her intention to ride the show out and see what happens.

Children are an interesting dilemma for women in Hollywood, she says. She would want to be at home and not have her kids raised by a nanny. But many actresses are too career driven to walk away from the business: “Jon always wanted to be an actor, from the time he was three. But I still don’t know if that’s what I’ll always want to do, although I’m finding it really challenging. While part of me can’t imagine doing anything else, another part of me can imagine running my own business or going back and finishing my degree.”

People who know her, Hatcher says, understand she is smart enough to do anything she wants, despite her image from films like “Soapdish” that feature her in “tight dresses, huge hair, and legs up to the ceiling. I *am* smart,” she says, settling that argument.

This is not a Lois Lane who needs Superman to save the day.

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