Frasier in Love

updated 02/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

LAST JUNE, WHEN KELSEY GRAMMER FIRST laid eyes on Tammi Alexander, the two were in Harry O's, a restaurant-bar in Manhattan Beach, Calif., 30 miles from Grammer's Agoura Hills villa and not far from Alexander's two-bedroom condo in Marina Del Rev. But they just as easily could have been 2,600 miles away, in a Boston tavern called Cheers. Grammer, 38, sounding much like the garrulous Dr. Frasier Crane (the character he plays on NBC's highly rated Cheers spinoff, Frasier), nervously approached Alexander, 28, and said, "Ah, hell, I've got to introduce myself. My name is Kelsey Grammer." Alexander, a Kansas-bred convention rep for an L.A. banking supply company and a longtime Cheers fan, knew exactly who he was, but she replied demurely, "Nice to meet you."

From that quotidian encounter a serious romance has blossomed. "She's the best person I've ever known," says Grammer, who, when he met Alexander, was in the death throes of a tumultuous marriage to second wife Leigh-Anne Csuhany, 23, a former exotic dancer, whom he divorced last December. During the proceedings, Alexander offered moral support and has continued to inspire him—both body and soul. At her insistence, Grammer began working out (shedding 15 of his 210 pounds) and attending St. Monica's, a Catholic church in Santa Monica, with her. "I like to think that I'm a good influence, but he was ready to change," says Alexander. "Through therapy, he's learned that he's a good person who deserves to be loved."

In December, Grammer met Alexander's mother, Judy Butler, a computer operator, who was visiting Tammi's younger sister, Tonda Baliszewski, a real estate saleswoman, in Las Vegas. "He's the first guy I've ever gone out with that my family approves of," Alexander says. Last month the couple took a ski vacation in Squaw Valley, Calif. On the slopes, jokes neophyte downhiller Alexander, Grammer "was a good boyfriend—he didn't leave me."

And while there's no talk of wedding plans, Grammer appears eager to take the plunge yet a third time. "I wanted the next relationship to be right," he says, "and this is it."

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