Melrose Place to Wisteria Lane: Real Life Love


Laura Leighton and Doug Savant: From Melrose Place to real life love.

Savant worked, but not steadily. Meanwhile, Leighton's career also hit a speed bump. Good news: a new baby (their first) in the house. Bad news: the money flowing out. In 2003, Savant went to work with his brother in commercial real estate. He hated it and, unsurprisingly, wasn't good at it. And then, the very bottom—he contracted spinal meningitis.

Love often goes out the window when money gets tight and health is threatened. But what Leighton and Savant felt for one another was never close to being tested. "At the end of the day, it's not just 'Wow, she's hot'—it's about values," Savant says. Recovering from his illness, he knew he had to go back to acting. "One of us has to get a job right now," Leighton told him. "Something has to change.'"

Around that time, his parents were in a religious store, buying a present for a baptism. They spotted a medal of a saint who was unknown to them. Who was he? St. Genesius—patron saint of actors. "We’ll take two," they said.

Steady work began to come in soon after the saint showed up. Savant's not taking any chances: He rarely removes his medal.

By 2005, Savant and Leighton were both employed on primetime shows, they had three kids in three schools, and they had no significant household help. They operated off a school calendar taped to the refrigerator and prayed that they'd never have crucial scenes on their sets at the same time. Ninety percent of the time, that worked. Only once did Savant have to bring a child with him to Desperate Housewives and Leighton have to rush over at lunch from her show, Eyes, to bring the kid home.

Their Morgan Stanley guy—you know, the one uncommonly dedicated to their well-being—actually asked them if Savant's sudden return to prominence had inspired a buying spree. Like, say, new cars. Savant and Leighton didn't remind him of the critical math: the lean years between 1997, when their Melrose Place gigs ended, and 2004, when Desperate Housewives showed up. And despite the way that his role has grown, Savant points out, "This isn't Friends. I'm not a desperate housewife. I'm a husband on Desperate Housewives."