He's Head Over Heels...

updated 11/23/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/23/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

SITTING ON A CUSHY LOVE SEAT, THEIR LIMBS ENTWINED, they are a flawless human pretzel. And, fittingly, the talk is salty, as Rob Estes, the perfectly hunky star of CBS's steamy late-night crime series Silk Stalkings recounts his honeymoon night of five months ago with the perfectly dishy Josie Bisset of Fox's Melrose Place. Caught up in passion, Estes recalls, he barely noticed he had slammed his face against the headboard until, nearly an hour later, he felt blood dripping. "My eye was split open and all puffed up," he says with a grin. "It was pretty funny."

Maybe you had to be there. In any case, they still can't keep their hands off each other, though each balks at the other flashing too much flesh on their respective shows. "What's with all those pool shots?" asks Estes, 29, in response to Melrose's ongoing bikini binge. "I showed up on the set one day, and she was wearing dental floss!" Bisset, 22 (designer Jane Mancini on Melrose), is likewise peeved that Stalkings, on which Estes plays Chris Lorenzo, a detective specializing in sex crimes, focuses more on foreplay than forensics. "I don't want people thinking my husband's some swinger," she pouts.

Reformed swinger would be more like it. Though Estes confesses, "I used to stay out for two nights straight," all that I changed when he and Bisset met, in January 1991, at a casting call for a TV movie. "Neither of us got a part," says Estes, "but we got each other." Two months after their first date, Estes moved into Bisset's tiny West L.A. apartment. Then, last Thanksgiving, while they were staying at Big Bear, a mountain resort north of L.A., Estes led Bisset down a candle-lit, rose-strewn pathway he had fashioned in the snow—and proposed. Last May 1 they married at a hotel in Bisset's hometown of Seattle. Among the 170 guests were eight ushers, including Estes' former USC fraternity brother, the actor Ty Miller (The Young Riders), all sporting shaved heads.

But Estes wasn't laughing. Recalls Bisset: "He started to sniffle and cry as he walked down the aisle." Even now Estes' voice quivers as he says, "lt's very rare when you find someone that's physically perfect for you and who has it inside too. With Josie I have it all."

The problem is that he doesn't have it all the time. With Stalkings filmed in San Diego and Melrose Place near L.A., the newlyweds see each other only on their days off. Still, the life they share in their airy two-level Santa Monica condo involves an awful lot of self-examination. "We talk forever about our relationship," says Bisset. Such one-on-one therapy, both say, packs a hefty payoff. "I used to tiptoe around feelings," says Estes, "but Josie's totally opened me up to love." And inspired by Bisset's large but tight-knit family (her parents run a glass company, and she is one of six siblings, three adopted), he has reconnected with his own parents and three siblings after years of estrangement that started, he says, when he was 10 and his father, an elementary school teacher, and mom, also a teacher, divorced. "I lost touch with them totally," says the Virginia native of his family, "and through Josie I've gotten them back."

Professionally, Estes first gained notice in his stint (1986-87) as the hot-blooded lifeguard Glen Gallagher on Days of Our Lives; Bisset raised temperatures in a provocatively eerie commercial for Obsession perfume. Guest spots on TV shows and leads in made-for-TV movies followed, and both landed their current roles last year.

In their downtime, the two examine not only their inner lives but each other's wondrous exteriors. Finally, unlocking his legs from his bride's, Estes announces he's found a flaw. "Look at this gap," he says, holding up Bisset's left foot and pointing to the space between two toes. "That is not normal. You could park a Ford in there." But then his wide blue eyes catch her wide blue eyes, and he reconsiders. "Nah," he says with a lustful grin, "her feet are sexy too."

SHELLEY LEVITT
JOHN GRIFFITHS in Los Angeles

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