Once best known as the randy gardener who romped with Gaby (Eva Longoria) on Desperate Housewives, Jesse Metcalfe has been getting into all kinds of trouble—marital and financial—as Christopher Ewing on TNT's hit reboot of Dallas.
In a cast full of schemers, he's the good guy "but he has insecurities and demons that he's grappling with and he's constantly striving to prove himself to the family," says Metcalfe, 34. He doesn't know what lies ahead for him in the show's third season, which will start shooting in October for a February launch, but he does know what makes a good relationship tick, having been engaged to actress Cara Santana for more than a year:
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YourTango: Who's your date?
Jesse Metcalfe: The same person who's always my date for the last five years: my girlfriend Cara Santana.
YourTango: Was it love at first sight?
Jesse Metcalfe: I wouldn't say it was love at first sight. It was more of a slow burn, which I think is a better start for a relationship. I think if it comes on fast and furious, it generally fizzles out just as fast. We were slow and steady.
Cara Santana: We took the time to get to know each other. We've known each other for like 10 years.
YourTango: What's the best love advice you've received?
Jesse Metcalfe: There's no perfect relationship. All relationships are work. If you put in the work, you'll reap the rewards.
Cara Santana: "It's much better to understand than to be understood," from my mom.
YourTango: What's the last little thing you did to show your love?
Jesse Metcalfe: I bought her a leather jacket.
Cara Santana: I massaged his back.
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YourTango: Any marriage plans?
Jesse Metcalfe: I think we're gonna sidestep that question!
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