December 07, 2009 12:00 PM

>• With a hit show—and a baby on the way—the actress, 35, is back on top.

When Tiffani Thiessen signed up for a supporting role in the New York City-based series White Collar, she knew that working thousands of miles away from her Los Angeles home and her husband, actor Brady Smith, would be tough. What she didn’t foresee was having to tell Smith that she was pregnant with their first child over video chat. “Skype has saved our lives,” says Thiessen, who is due in May. “It was nice to be able to see his reaction: He almost fell off his chair.”

The happy couple, who wed in 2004, have plenty to celebrate. Thiessen’s role as Elizabeth Burke, the feisty wife of an FBI agent, on USA’s breakout drama has become her greatest success since Beverly Hills, 90210. “I fell in love with the script from day one,” she says. “I’m finally playing someone who is a little closer to home.” While Thiessen says she and Smith, 37, had “been wanting a baby for a couple of years,” plans were sidelined in part by a yearlong bout of mercury poisoning she suffered beginning in 2007. Now, nothing is stopping her lucky streak. “All the dominos were lined up and are running down smoothly. I have the greatest job, the greatest husband and we’re having a child,” she says. “I couldn’t feel more blessed.”

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