11/26/2001 at 01:00 AM EST
It's official: Dr. Phil McGraw is the rock star of TV therapists. "I get underwear mailed to me all the time," he says. "And I wonder, Does this person really think this will work?" Hope springs eternal for admirers of the 6'4", 51-year-old Texan (his Ph.D. is in psychology), a man so popular that he rates a weekly pulpit, "Tuesdays with Dr. Phil," on The Oprah Winfrey Show
and will host his own syndicated show next fall. "I have not come across anybody who knows their stuff better than Phil McGraw," Winfrey has said.
It's a tough love that he dispenses, but the master of catchphrases such as "What are you, an idiot?" is the same man who wrote a book of poems for his wife, Robin, 47, for their 20th anniversary in 1996. "I flirt with her incessantly," says the father of two sons. "Whenever she's around I have to be touching her in some way."