Alyssa Milano wants to get something off her chest. It seems that the last two times the Brooklyn-born bombshell has appeared in FHM, she's claimed that while tending her garden, she routinely doffs her top. Well, today, curled up on a sofa in her San Fernando Valley, CA, home, the 31-year-old blue-jeaned babe is coming clean. "I've never gardened topless in my life," she confesses while batting the brown eyes that became famous when she played Tony Danza's 12-year-old tomboy TV daughter on Who's the Boss?. She would later morph through a bootylicious stint as 1-800-COLLECT's Eva Savealot en route to becoming the belly-button-baring good witch Phoebe on The WB's Charmed. "Let me let you in on a secret," Alyssa says, smiling. "My career took a turn toward being a sex symbol—which is beautiful, and I'm flattered—but the concept of it is so foreign that sometimes I make stuff up."
One thing Alyssa hasn't had to manufacture is the God-given appeal that's attracted high-profile boyfriends. There was ex-fiance Scott Wolf, alt-rock band Remy Zero's Cinjun Tate—who wed her only to see the marriage dissolve 11 months later in 1999—Charmed's Brian Krause and Eric Dane, Justin Timberlake, and Florida Marlins pitcher Carl Pavano. But sweet Alyssa still hasn't found "the one." And she's cool with that—though tabloids have dubbed her "serial dater," she's focusing on such loftier things as visiting troops in Baghdad and working with women and kids in Africa as a UNICEF ambassador.
Still, the tabloids puzzle her. 'When I think about my girlfriends, I'm like, 'Well, so-and-so has been through five guys in six years!' she says. But magazines want me to be 'unhappy in love.' It's crazy. I think we're all just looking for true love—and some fun at the same time."
Does looking for love ever include no-strings-attached sex?
Not since my late 20s. I'm not a prude, but since my divorce, it's been important to have a connection with someone before I sleep with him. That's not only because that's where I'm at in my life, but also because the sex is better that way.
But don't you get kind of horny in between "connections"?
No, because I take myself out on "dates," which is what I call masturbation. [laughs] So I'll do the whole dinner thing for myself, draw myself a bath and... .
See, I'm innately happy, so my life isn't altered if there's a man in it or not—and it's better to be in a situation because you want to be than because you need to be. I'm also the way I am because, well ... I've been duped! There have been a couple of relationships in the last few years where, once it was over, I was, like, "Wait—this is so not who I thought this person was!" So I'm at that point where I need to feel a spiritual and mental connection with someone to really allow myself to open up in a way that's powerful.
How many dates does that take?
It's not even dates. Dates horrify me. Two weeks ago, I had a lunch date with this guy I was fixed up with and I was a nervous wreck. And when I'm a nervous wreck, I don't shut up. I was like, "Regroup!" So I went to the ladies room and was literally talking to myself: "You're such a dork! Shut up!" I'm much more of the just-hangout-and-be-friends-with-someone type. I'll shave my legs when I go out on a date, which is false advertising because that doesn't necessarily happen. [pulls up jeans to reveal stubble] It takes a secure woman to walk around with stubbly legs, but I think the key to a strong relationship is accepting each other for all your quirks and weird fetishes.
What about men's "quirks" with monogamy?
Monogamy is important because my ideal relationship is my parents, who've been married 37 years. But if a man has decided to cheat on me and he can keep it from me—and live with himself—then I'm fine maintaining the relationship. But if he's going to be an idiot and I find out about it, I'm against it!
But is monogamy natural?
Listen, when you go on safari in South Africa, you hear: "To the right you'll see a pack of giraffes. There is one male giraffe to every six female giraffes, and the male will mate with all six females. To the left you'll see a pride of lions. There's one male lion to every 12 female lions, and the male lion will blah, blah, blah." Being that we're all animals, you learn on safari that monogamy is not natural, so I think it does go against men's nature because they're lions in the bush. No pun intended. But I also believe it's a gift that a man consciously gives a woman.
What about your gifts? What do you put on to feel hot for your man?
Well, I actually stole a pair of knee-high socks from this guy who I'm dating—
So you're dating another man?
A man I'm currently dating, yes. And they're bright green socks and I wear them with little white briefs and a wife-beater and I feet really sexy. I actually feel sexier in a natural-type thing like that. I feel less sexy the more I try to feel sexy. When it takes a half-hour to put one garter on? Sorry boys, that's just not hot.
Has a guy ever asked you to do Eva Savealot in the bedroom for him?
No, but I'm not opposed to it. Let's say I still have Eva's leather pants.
Does Who's the Boss? come up?
It doesn't unless the guy's a real ass and is trying to pick me up. I've had guys—famous guys—come over to me and be like, "I used to masturbate to you when you were on that show." I'm Like, "Wow, you're a charmer, let's leave right now." Maybe that's why the younger guys go after me. They've never seen Who's the Boss?.
Like Justin Timberlake?
Well, I've dated a lot of younger men. Oddly enough, it's the younger ones who have the self-confidence—or maybe just more of a "fuck it" mentality—to actually ask me out.
Like, say, Carl Pavano? Did you guys ever do it in the locker room?
Nope, but that relationship gave me baseball. I think from all my relationships I learn something about myself—and about humanity—and my Love of baseball was one thing that I learned there. And, also, that just because you're 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, it doesn't mean you're big all over.
I meant his hands! [laughs] He's got very small hands.
So what would you like to understand about men before you die?
Hmm . . . there are so many things. Men are on a totally different time frame than women in the sense of, like, "I'll call you later." They'll say, "I'll see you soon," when I'm not going to see them for a month. That's not even close to "soon." Also, I like a better understanding of what it would be like to have this thing that comes out of your body and is sort of a driving force in your life. [laughs] I guess what I'm trying to say is: I would like to understand what it's like to think with a penis.