Brooklyn Decker: Supermodel Next Door

updated 02/28/2011 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/28/2011 01:00AM

Okay, Brooklyn Decker admits she's not much of a housewife. Her husband of nearly two years, tennis star Andy Roddick, "does the laundry," she says with a laugh, curling up on a sofa in the sleek high-rise apartment the two share in Brooklyn, N.Y. "I don't clean. I'm a horrible cook. I don't do any of that stuff. Oh my God, I need to improve!"

Of course, the 23-year-old model of the moment has been just a little busy. After scoring the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's swimsuit issue last year, she's now launching her movie career, starring with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston in the new comedy Just Go With It and with Liam Neeson and Rihanna in the action movie Battleship, due next year. But she remains self-deprecatingly low-key about it all. "I'm not that good of an actor. I'm not the skinniest model. But I know my strengths and use those," says the North Carolina native. "Brooklyn never takes herself too seriously," adds her mother, Tessa, 43, a nurse. (Dad Stephen, 48, is a cardiac-device specialist.) "She's always the first to laugh at herself."

Scouted at a mall at the age of 16, Decker moved to New York City to model but found the industry unwelcoming. "I never saw flaws in people, and then I was in this business where that's all they noticed," she says. A size 4, she began dieting to get down to the even smaller measurements required of runway models. After a period of intense dieting, her family intervened. "My dad said, 'You can either accept the fact that you are athletic or be something you are not,' " she says. "I credit him and my mom for keeping my head on in this crazy business. I realized I am just not built that way. I should play up my other features." Today she credits a running regimen-three to four miles, four days a week-and a diet rich with lean meats and veggies for keeping her in swimsuit-ready shape. Still, "I have my vices, which are coffee and sugar," she says. "Like today I had Sour Patch Kids and Skittles. They fuel my sugar addiction."

With two busy careers, Decker and Roddick, 28, have been splitting their time between their homes in Palm Beach, Fla., Austin, Texas, and the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn. "We travel a lot," she says. "France. London. Hawaii. It's a big luxury, but it keeps things exciting. It's like a world-tour adventure." When they do manage to squeeze in time at home, "we like to play Scrabble or Catch Phrase," she says-just don't ask her to get on the court. "I tried playing tennis with Andy once, and I ended up throwing the racket. First and last time ever. I'll never be as good as him, and I'm kind of prideful, so I stay away!"

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