From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
In theory Heather Locklear shouldn't have that lithe figure or flawless complexion. The Spin City star has a penchant for Taco Bell takeout and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a distaste for greens and an aversion to H2O. "She's a genetic freak," concludes Lisa Ashley, Locklear's close friend and makeup artist. "We call her Camel because she can go so long without drinking water. I don't even know how her skin stays looking so pretty."

The 39-year-old actress has not only hit the genetic jackpot, she's also sustained a prime-time television career that's spanned two decades. Before jump-starting Melrose Place in the '90s, Locklear held down simultaneous roles in the '80s as Dynasty's back-stabbing schemer Sammy Jo and T.J. Hooker's rookie cop Stacy Sheridan. The decade suited her, she says, and for this year's Golden Globes Locklear wore a black Celine number and an '80s hairdo: "I was like, 'Oh! No wonder I was big in the '80s—that looks good!' "

Twenty years later the L'Oreal spokeswoman is still turning heads. "I think she gets better with age," says Ashley, who has known Locklear for more than 15 years. "I've seen her when she wakes up in the morning, and she's beautiful." The 5'5" actress credits her age-defying looks to a daily sun-block and the religious removal of her makeup every night. Still, she admits that her image can be hard to re-create at home: "I always go, 'Why don't I look like that girl on TV?' "

It's that modesty that makes her so appealing, says her Spin City costar Barry Bostwick: "She's just this down-to-earth, sweet, no-trouble star"—oh, and "every man's fantasy." Spin City has "given her a world to be zany in," says Bostwick. "She really is just a goofy girl." Completing the picture is her ideal family life, which, he says jokingly, is "sort of sickening."

Locklear lives in L.A. with her husband of six years, Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, 41, and their 3-year-old daughter Ava. Sambora writes his wife love letters, serenades her to sleep and, she says, "sends me flowers all the time. He just thinks I'm really great." Ava's arrival has brought some healthy changes to their household, namely a 9 p.m. bedtime and more of an awareness on Lock-lear's part "of my daughter not eating green stuff." So she recently signed on with a meal-delivery service. "I would never cook vegetables and eat them," says the actress. "Or couscous, or whatever it is they make. But they're all tasty."

Ava has also helped Locklear put her 40th birthday (coming up Sept. 25) in perspective. "I'm so lucky to see my daughter," she says. "Sometimes I look at her and think, 'Gosh, I hope I'm alive to see her get married.' I'm just grateful."