and as a 1993 Playboy centerfold. Now 34 and a single mom, McCarthy is focusing on more wholesome fare—starring as Santa Claus
's daughter in the ABC Family movie Santa Baby
Dec. 10. The L.A.-based actress and author of three books on motherhood (she and her ex-husband, director John Asher, have a son, Evan, 4) has been dating actor Jim Carrey, 44, for the better part of a year. The two recently hightailed it to Italy to attend the Nov. 18 nuptials of Tom Cruise
and Katie Holmes
. McCarthy talks with PEOPLE's Monica Rizzo about the wedding of the year, her "gorgeous" guy and being a mom.
Are you one of those people that goes all-out for Christmas?
I am over-the-top. I get the biggest tree on the lot. I go to Target and buy everything that's there. [When I was a kid] our traditions were pretty horrible—we didn't have the eggnog, bake cookies, sit around the fire kind of thing—because we didn't have much money, so I love seeing my son experience [the holiday] the way it should be.
Has motherhood changed you?
What has happened is any type of narcissism has left the building. I don't really worry about the latest pair of shoes that are out when I could be out raising money for my son's school.
Rumor has it you're dating a really cute guy named Jim ...
He's not cute—he's hot! I was so p---ed at PEOPLE for not having him as one of the sexiest men of the year. I look at him and I'm like, "You are hotter than Brad Pitt
." And it's not just because I'm in love with him. He's so gorgeous, I can't stand it.
How was it, seeing Tom and Katie tie the knot?
It was so beyond my expectation of a fairy-tale romantic wedding. It was perfect. I even looked at Jim and said, "Wow, they're really beautiful and really happy together." I couldn't imagine ever topping a wedding like that except for me getting married on top of a pyramid in Egypt.
So when should we book our plane tickets to Egypt?
[laughing] A very, very, very long time from now.
What does a person give Tom and Katie as a wedding gift?
It's a hard one. We're still trying to figure it out. Maybe we'll paint a painting because we both like to dabble. Maybe we'll sculpt a vase. To do something handmade is a lot of fun. But for me, I just want cash. Green cash!
In her 20s Jenny McCarthy made her mark as the uninhibited cohost of MTV's dating game show