The Stars and Real-Life Wives
Teri Hatcher
Over 21 million people tuned in for the series premiere, making Desperate Housewives the highest-rated new show of the season.

Teri Hatcher is best known for her role as Superman's girlfriend in the Lois and Clark TV series. Now, in Desperate Housewives, Teri plays Susan, a broken-hearted, love-starved divorcee raising a teenage daughter.

How are Teri and Susan alike? "Well, we are both single moms, I have a 6-year-old daughter," says Teri. "But I think where we most relate is that I can be incredibly well intended, try very hard to get something right, and it just goes wrong. You know? I'm unlucky that way and I think she's very unlucky."
Nicollette Sheridan
Former Knots Landing bombshell Nicollette Sheridan plays Edie, the sex-crazed divorcee of Wisteria Lane in Desperate Housewives. Edie is Susan's (Teri Hatcher) archrival—both women are vying for the affections of the hunky new plumber in their subdivision.

"I could not have more fun than this character," says Nicollette. "She's strong. She's smart. She's a minx. … You keep picking on Edie. You know she [Susan, Teri Hatcher's character] is gonna win! She's so sweet. She's so gorgeous."
Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria has been sizzling on TV since her days on The Young and the Restless. On Desperate Housewives, Eva stars as the sexy and fabulously wealthy Gabrielle, a former model who has a rich husband, a huge house and everything money can buy. She's also hiding a naughty little secret—her affair with the hot young gardener.

While Eva says it's great to play a Latin woman who's the richest person on the block "with a white gardener," Eva says Gabrielle's world isn't perfect.

"I think one of Gabrielle's lessons that she learns, and she says it in the pilot, is, 'I have everything I've ever wanted, but I wanted all the wrong things,'" says Eva. "And to know that, as a woman, you can change that…if you wanted that and you have it, you can want something else. You can be empowered to change that."
Marcia Cross
Marcia Cross is best known for her starring role on Melrose Place. Marcia took some time off from acting to get her Masters in Psychology and now she's back as a desperate housewife. Her character Bree is part Stepford, part Leave it to Beaver, but her obsession with being the perfect housewife is tearing her family and marriage apart.

Marcia says she is nothing like her character. "Oh, honey, there's nothing about me that's perfect. Trust me. … When your producer called, I was late to work, I didn't know who was shooting…no, there's nothing perfect."

Although Marcia says trying to be perfect is "frighteningly tiring," Bree does have something she envies. "My joke is that I'm desperate to be a housewife," says Marcia. "I'm missing the husband and the kids and the nice house."
Felicity Huffman
Actress Felicity Huffman played a savvy TV producer on the sitcom Sports Night. In Desperate Housewives, she's a reluctant stay-at-home mom in crisis. Felicity's character Lynette went from corporate bigwig to a frazzled stay-at-home mom of four children—all under the age of six.

In real life, Felicity juggles two kids and a career with her husband, fellow actor William H. Macy. Felicity says she can relate to the insanity that comes with motherhood. "I have two [kids] and my husband's home right now and I have help. But I find I'm pushed to the brink many times during the day. So, yes, I understand the insanity."

Being in "frazzled mommy mode" apparently helped Felicity get the role of Lynette. "I thought I pulled it together," says Felicity. "I had taken a shower. My shirt was clean. My shoes matched my pants. And then when [Executive Producers] Michael [Edelstein] and Marc [Cherry] talk about it, they were like, 'You were a mess! You came in, it was perfect!'"
Melissa, a flirtatious wife
Melissa's friends tell us she's the real-life version of Nicollette's character Edie, because she is known in their cul-de-sac for her flirtation and romantic conquests. Melissa says she's always trying to turn a man's head—whether it's with her innocent flirting or walking around her yard…naked! Her girlfriends don't seem to mind Melissa's antics around their husbands either. They say it's all in good fun.

"I flirt with everyone," Melissa says. "It just makes me feel good. I'm relentless when it comes to flirting with my girlfriends' husbands. I stand beside them a lot and I'm very touchy, so I touch them a lot. I hug and kiss them, and I just try to make them feel good. You know, sometimes they don't get that at home. I'm having so much fun in my life, because I can finally be myself!"

Melissa also admits that she and her current partner have had sex six times in one day! Nicollette Sheridan says, "I think Edie has something to live up to now!"
Maggie, wife who was unfaithful, depressed and lonely
Maggie says she has been a real desperate housewife and relates to all of the characters on the show. She says that behind the façade of her suburban perfection, she was growing more and more lonely. It became so unbearable for her at times, she had thoughts of suicide and eventually was unfaithful to her husband.

"I was just was so lonely and empty," Maggie says. "When I met this guy, we started out as friends. I feel guilty about the affair. I was a desperate housewife looking for the thing that was going to fix it and make it feel better. … Every day just felt like a freefall. A lot of times I felt like I needed to take medication, sort of hoping that it would just kind of numb me."

Maggie and her husband were separated, but are now back together.
Dana, a perfectionist housewife
Dana admits that she's a perfectionist housewife, like Marcia's character, Bree. She and her family have watched Desperate Housewives and couldn't believe the similarities. Rick, Dana's husband, says that Dana doesn't realize the toll it's taking on their marriage. He says that days before they host a party, their home becomes "hell on earth," and that Dana's obsession with perfection has decreased their level of intimacy.

"There have been times where I didn't think we were going to stay married," Rick says.

"My perfectionist attitude has a tremendous effect on my relationship with my husband," Dana says. "He's a great guy and I drive him nuts. And I don't want to do that."

Dana says seeing herself in Bree was hard, yet helpful. "Both of my kids literally turned around and said, 'Mom, that's you,'" says Dana. "Oh, my heart just sank. … Desperate Housewives is like therapy because I see how miserable the husband is. I see the kids. And it's like I need to learn how to tone it down."
'Desperate Housewives' creator Marc Cherry
Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry says that Oprah actually inspired him to write the show!

"One day I sat down and I was watching The Oprah Winfrey Show, this amazing episode about women who had given birth and didn't feel particularly maternal," says Marc. "And they weren't telling their friends. Some of them worried about being judged. And that was kind of a revelation to me. … These four women in my neighborhood on Desperate Housewives, they're friends, but they're not telling each other what's going on in their lives."