STUDIO CITY, Calif. – When you’re an actor, you never know where your next job is coming from. When you’re married to another actor, it’s double jeopardy. That’s the situation for Laura Leighton and her husband, Doug Savant.

Sitting herself at a corner table in a busy bakery on a windy, rainy day, Leighton sighs, “Both of us have a very clear understanding that nothing is forever, including successful series. So we take this time while he’s on a successful series. We know it’s going to end and we’re very clear on that.”

Savant plays Lynette’s devoted husband on ABC’s hit “Desperate Housewives.” “When he started, he was a guest star on the show and there really was no future,” recalls Leighton, tucking her red hair under a damp head scarf.

“I was a series regular on an ABC show called “Eyes.’ It tested through the roof and we had everything to gain from my series being a success that year. And because of the time slot it got, and circumstances completely separate from the quality of the show, it didn’t last … I was the one with the regular salary and he was a guest star struggling for more of a permanent place on the show. His show stayed on the air, mine didn’t. And he became a permanent thing, and you just never know. And nothing is what you think it’s going to be and nothing is permanent,” she sighs.

Having said that, Leighton is starring in the Hallmark Channel’s drama “Daniel’s Daughter,” premiering Saturday. She plays a high-powered editor who is forced to return to her small New England hometown when her father dies. What she finds there is not what she’s expecting.

Most people know Leighton, 39, from her roles on “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Melrose Place,” which also began as a guest spot. “I auditioned for that (“Melrose Place”) and auditioned and auditioned and auditioned and that was my first job. It was for two episodes on the show.

She was 18 when she left Iowa in her Nissan Sentra, puffing toward L.A. to join the Young Americans – young singers and dancers who toured the country for food and lodging and a chance to perform.

Luckily for Leighton, she had no idea what she was getting into. Snatching the role of Sydney Andrews on “Melrose Place” was a turning point, she says. “I think it gave me confidence that I could succeed at what I set out to do and what I wanted to do. It gave me the feeling I could make a living at it.”

When Leighton married Savant she became an instant mom to his two little girls, who were 3 and 5. (They’re 14 and 16 now.) She and Savant also have a boy, 7, and another girl, 2½. Leighton is reluctant to leave her family now and says she looks at her career in a whole new light.

“I don’t want to drop any of it. I want the family and the career, but it does change the nature of the career that you envision. I’m no longer driven to ‘Oh, I need to be a huge movie star.’ I no longer have that aspiration.”


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