A Change in the Heather

updated 01/09/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/09/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

What did Heather Locklear and Richie Sambora do on their first date last February? "We definitely didn't have dinner," Locklear says. The unblushing Amanda of Melrose Place would have stopped at that suggestive juncture. But though Locklear may play a bad girl on TV, she's a good girl at heart. So after the briefest pause, she adds, "but we didn't have anything we weren't supposed to have either."

Much the same can be said of the couple's Dec. 17 nuptials in Paris. For a rock star and a sex symbol, Sambora, 35, and Locklear, 33, pulled off a wedding of striking propriety. Locklear's mother was thrilled with her tattooed son-in-law. "We love Richie," says Diane Locklear, a San Fernando Valley, Calif., homemaker, of the Bon Jovi guitarist. "He and Heather are so much alike. His goals are the same. He's very close to his mom and dad. Just like Heather." Moreover, at the luxurious Saint James's Club, where the bridal couple and their two dozen or so guests stayed, not one of the $500-a-night hotel suites was trashed. "Everything," says a hotel staffer, "went very well." The closest thing to wanton excess occurred the night before the nuptials, when the wedding party stayed up sipping Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac that costs about $100 a glass.

Still, at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon, a clear-eyed bride and groom climbed into separate his-and-hers limos for the 10-minute drive to the American Cathedral. There, Locklear slipped into a white lace and satin halter-top wedding gown and bolero jacket designed by Nolan Miller, who once did the costumes for Dynasty, the TV drama where Locklear first earned her vixen stripes. After 45 minutes, Locklear and Sambora emerged from the Episcopal church and drove in a single black limo to the nearby Ritz hotel for a champagne reception that lasted into the night.

In fact, the Paris nuptials were the couple's second in 48 hours. Because France does not recognize religious ceremonies as legal weddings, Locklear and Sambora had wed in a civil ceremony on Thursday in front of just a few friends and family members at Sambora's Rumson, N.J., home. But, says a friend, "Heather considers the Paris ceremony the real one."

Still, the two opted for an all-American honeymoon. On Monday, Dec. 26, they were spotted on Maui, Hawaii, where after checking into the posh Stouffer Renaissance Walea Beach Resort, they took a helicopter tour of the island and had a romantic dinner. The couple then bounced around the islands—flying to Kauai, then Honolulu—and, like most young newlyweds, they were grateful for tourist tips from knowing locals. "I recommended a good Italian restaurant in Waikiki," says their limo driver Bart Bascone. Bas-cone also gave the couple a wedding gift: two albums of Hawaiian music. "They talked about how they didn't want to leave," he says. "They seemed like typical honeymooners—very much in love."

Just a year ago, Locklear seemed like a confirmed bachelorette. "I'm not ready to share my space with anyone else right now," she told PEOPLE last December, six months after she had separated from Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, her husband of nearly eight years. (Four days after the Paris wedding, Lee was arrested in Malibu and charged with "willful infliction of injury" upon his girlfriend, model Bobbie Brown. Lee denies the charges, which are under investigation.)

Locklear changed her mind about marriage on Sept. 10, just seven months after her best friend, makeup artist Lisa Christy, introduced her to Sambora. That was when the rocker, who had a well-publicized romance with Cher five years ago, popped the question. The next day, at the Emmys, Locklear proudly flashed her pear-shaped diamond engagement ring from Carrier. "I like everything about him," she says.

Why did Locklear decide to wed again? "Heather didn't plan on this," says Diane Locklear. "You don't plan on falling in love or finding the right person, but if you don't take it while it's here, you could lose it and never find it again."

TODD GOLD in Los Angeles and CATHY NOLAN in Paris

From Our Partners