He may be tight-lipped about Whitewater and guarded on the matter of marital infidelity, but President Clinton was willing to air part of his dirty laundry in public. "The world's dying to know," asked Laetitia Thompson, 17, during an MTV town hall meeting in Washington in April. "Is it boxers or briefs?" Clinton's response: "Usually briefs." Following the precedent set by the President, PEOPLE went undercover to ask stars about their underwear.
PENN AND TELLER
"I'm accustomed to being cradled in briefs. My mother always bought them for me," says magician Teller (far right). His partner, Penn (right), has a trickier answer: "President Clinton said he wears briefs, so I wear boxers."
The star of The Shadow
really doesn't want to talk about it. "Boxers," he says. Why? "I can't go into it in PEOPLE magazine."
"I prefer briefs, except for sleeping," says Johnny's former second banana. "Then I prefer nothing. I never wear bikini briefs—the clothing authorities have asked me not to."
Michelle Pfeiffer's onetime beau likes things simple. "I wear boxers," he says. "Plain, Fruit of the Loom, 100 percent cotton. They remind me of my grandfather"
His undershorts are no laughing matter. "Boxers," he says." White, with a blue stripe down the side."
"I like to wear both, with the briefs over the boxers," says the Late Night
host. "I get a lot of compliments. I also have a thong made of Apricot Fruit Roil-Ups. They're mandatory for all NBC employees." Maybe that's why Letterman left.
"I wear the Calvin Klein briefs that Marky Mark wears in the ads," says the 51-year-old talk show host. So how does he look? "At my age, I ain't bad."
The Canadian-born 90210
hunk waxes patriotic on the subject. "Boxers," he says, "because boxers symbolize freedom, and freedom is what people come to America for."
On the air or on his own time, the MTV Grind
host opts for boxers. "I play a lot of basket ball," he says, "and I like to feel loose and smooth."
MTV men don't all think alike. "Would it be wrong if I said beaded panties?" the talk host asks. 'Those are hard to come by, so I'll say briefs. I like to feel compact and tight."
"Briefs, because there's less wind resistance," says the actor. "And I like to be fast.
"I wear thong underwear," says the dancer. And that's because..."hey—what more needs to be said?"
"I don't wear briefs or boxers," the comedian says. "However, I do wear a protective cup 24 hours, seven days a week."
The General Hospital
stud disdains briefs and stockpiles boxers. "I've got all kinds," he says, "flannel, silk, polyester." He even likes boxers when he's not the one wearing them. "Girls look sexy as hell in boxers," he says.
What would you expect from Roseanne's soon to be ex. "I wear silk boxers, for comfort," says Tom. "And people send me underwear all the time. I've saved a couple of pairs, but they're leather, and I can't figure out what goes where."
The Letterman regular and souvenir-store salesman has put a lot of thought into this. "I use the BVD briefs," he says. "I used to wear Fruit of the Loom, but when my brother started to buy BVD, I thought maybe that was the best. I am using for almost 10 years."
They have Letterman, their Bangladeshi roots and their store, K & L's Rock America, in common, but you won't catch Islam in Rahman's underwear. "Inside my pants, I usually like the boxer shorts," Islam says. "I don't like too much tight—it's a problem for work, and breathing, and also digestion."
Superman endorses briefs. "I would only wear boxers in a period play or movie, say something from the '30s," he says. "You do what goes with the clothes of the time."
"Both," says Kathie Lee's cohost. "But one at a time, if it's all right with you."
Fans sometimes send tacky underwear to the former teen idol, like briefs that say, "I woke up in love this morning." If only they knew: He wears regular, non-designer briefs. His favorites? "Any that don't have holes."
The New York Yankees' designated hitter likes "Calvin Klein white cotton briefs," although he does admit to owning "a pair of leather G-string briefs that I bought at the Pleasure Chest in West Hollywood.
Ask a 6'6" transvestite model about underwear, and you'll learn the most interesting things. "I'm partial to briefs," says RuPaul. "They lengthen the look of the leg. I prefer cotton Calvin Kleins. Nothing—except the occasional corset—comes between me and my Calvins."
CUBA GOODING JR.
The Boyz N the Hood
star takes a pragmatic approach to underthings: He wears boxers with suits, briefs with jeans. And nothing fancy either way. "My favorite pair," he says, "is a clean pair."
What does Freddy Krueger wear beneath his work clothes when he's tearing up Elm Street? "Briefs says actor Englund, 47. "At my age, I need all the support I can get." Does the fingernailed one have any pet pairs? "Athletic gray, all-cotton Calvin Kleins, after many washings."
star refuses to unveil his preference. "I wear underwear, but just because I'm kind of a conformist," he says. "I don't enjoy it."
There's more than mere underwear at stake here, says playwright Rudnick: "It's a political and moral choice. As a liberal, I wear briefs. Boxers tend to be the Republican choice."
The ABC Sports
correspondent and ESPN commentator doesn't like to go out on a limb, underwear-wise. "I prefer Jockey shorts," he says, "but I have both—I'm an equal opportunity purchaser. I want to be with the fashion, so if it switches, I'll go the other way."
Clean briefs, says the lead singer of the B-52s. "I try to change them quite frequently." And for Valentine's Day, "I like the ones that have hearts on them."
Briefs—but it's more complicated than it sounds. "I like to match them with what I'm wearing, even with the socks," the comedian and radio host says. "For example, right now I'm wearing blue."
Rain or shine, the portly NBC weatherman favors briefs: "Whatever brand I can find that fits."
"I wear whatever's on top," says the Melrose Place
"I've been trying to live up to this overweight lover image for a long time," says the hefty rapper, who finds boxers fill the bill best. "Clean ones," he adds. "My worst fear is getting into an accident, being rushed to the hospital and not having clean underwear. That idea really sticks in my head."
"Briefs keep my stuff together," says the actor, who played Eldin the painter on Murphy Brown
and Kevin Costner's crude companion in Dances with Wolves
. "I was playing this grungy character in Wolves," he says, "and I was wearing Calvin Klein pink underwear. Nobody knows that."
Another guy who likes to play both sides of the street. "Briefs keep the big guy down," says the comedian, "and boxers let the big guy frown." What is he talking about?