May 11, 1998 12:00 PM

Stopping for lunch recently at Wild Oats health-food shop in Las Vegas with her 17-year-old son, Chris, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Hunter Tylo was mistaken for his date. “The woman behind the counter said, ‘Do you mind asking your girlfriend if she wants avocado on her sandwich?’ ” recalls Tylo. “Of course Chris went, ‘Aw, Mom!’ But I loved it.”

The 35-year-old mother of four, who is married to actor Michael Tylo, spoke to PEOPLE before their 4-month-old daughter, Katya, was diagnosed with a rare but treatable form of eye cancer. Even then, she relied on the power of prayer. “If I’m having a rough day,” she told us, “I remember this psalm that says, ‘Revive me, O Lord.’ It really helps. It’s better than any beauty treatment.”

Since turning 30, the actress has hit her stride. “I’m at my best age now. In my 20s, my butt was big, I had flabby arms, and I didn’t know how to deal with my thighs. I got a better body with my children [also Michael, 10, and Izabella, 18 months] because I worked out harder. I got healthier.” Her third pregnancy, though, also made her wealthy and wise. Fired in 1996 from Melrose Place when producers thought she couldn’t play a seductress in her clearly maternal state, she sued and won a $4.89 million judgment last December.

If she ever collects, the 5’6″ Tylo doesn’t plan to invest in cosmetics. “She’s pretty nonchalant about her beauty,” says her costar Ian Buchanan. “The only time we’ve ever had to wait on her was if she had to get her hair done.”

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