May 09, 1994 12:00 PM

With her gossamer hair and sun-kissed smile, Heather Locklear has defied the odds against small-screen longevity to become, at age 32, America’s Babe Emeritus, even hotter today than when she put the nasty Dynasty a decade ago. Currently her unbanked fires as the scheming Amanda have turned up the temperature on Melrose Place, helping it blaze from so-so spinoff to prime time’s naughtiest indulgence. “She’s lasted because she’s smart and shrewd,” says Melrose costar Grant Show. “And she looks great all the time. At her worst she looks great.”

Rarely linked with fewer than two hunks at a time on her show, offscreen she’s suddenly single, having broken up last August with her husband of nearly eight years, Mötley Crüe-man Tommy Lee. “It’s sad,” says the California native, who hangs out mostly with girlfriends these days. “But hopefully you grow stronger.” What never grows, it seems, is her size 3 figure, despite a taste for Taco Bell. Nor has celebrity swelled her head. “When I look in the mirror I see the girl I was growing up,” she says, “with braces, crooked teeth, a baby face and a skinny body.” Obsessive she isn’t. When Heather visits her parents, her mother, says the actress, nags, ” ‘Heather, will you brush your hair? Company’s coming over.’ ” No stickler for strong jawlines, Locklear admits,’ ‘What turns my head the first time has to do with a guy’s looks, but that’s not what turns on my heart. Ultimately it’s what he’s like as a person that counts.” Nice guys, take a number.

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