February 13, 1995 12:00 PM

They called it a May-December marriage, not just because actor Maxwell Caulfield had celebrated his 21st birthday only nine days before committing to his 39-year-old bride, actress Juliet Mills. Eight months was about how long most people thought the union would last.

And yet, 14 years later, the two Brits seem as smitten as ever. He rhapsodizes about the virtues of “devotion and trust.” She happily shares advice on how to ignite passion. “Even if it’s just a special dinner or a rose beside the bed,” says Mills, “keep the mystery going.”

Mills met Caulfield in 1980 while rehearsing The Elephant Man in Palm Beach, Fla., but she believes they go waaay back. “I’m convinced that we had past lives together—and not just one, either,” she says. “We were instantly such familiar friends, I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t always known him.” Ensconced on the hills above Santa Barbara in a Spanish-style, four-bedroom house where they meditate and practice yoga, the couple claim to be unabashedly traditional. “He likes a woman to make his house pretty and be pretty for him,” Mills says, “and that’s the way I like to be.”

Recent roles have pried them apart. Caulfield is performing in An Inspector Calls in Manhattan, while Mills is tackling The Cherry Orchard in Edmonton, Alberta. It will be the first time since their wedding they haven’t spent Valentine’s Day together. “We can’t have it our own way all the time,” Caulfield says. “But we’ll make up for it.”

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