"I sniff you a lot. And I growl a lot," the actor jokes to model-actress Audra Marie

By Jeffrey Slonim
September 16, 2010 10:05 AM
Sara Jaye Weiss/Startraks

True Blood‘s hunky werewolf Joe Manganiello sometimes brings his work home with him. And that’s just fine by his girlfriend, actress and model Audra Marie.

“I sniff you a lot. And I growl a lot when you ask me to do things, like clean up,” Manganiello joked to Marie while talking with PEOPLE at Wednesday’s New York premiere of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.

Asked if it’s a turn-on that her boyfriend plays a werewolf, Marie replied, “Of course!” She added that Manganiello is perfectly cast, “if you saw how he eats at home. He likes to eat meat without a utensil.”

They draw the line, however, at Manganiello coming home in full werewolf makeup. “No,” says Marie. “He washes that off, scrubs if he has to.”

The pair met in early 2009, “on the way to the Commissioner’s Ball when the Steelers won the Super Bowl,” Manganiello says. But it took a while to win Marie over. “She wouldn’t go out with me for six months,” he says. “We started dating a few months before I got cast [on True Blood].”

Asked to name each other’s best qualities, Manganiello says Marie is “a great dresser. She’s gorgeous, and she’s tall. And she’s sweet … nice. And she makes crazy English breakfasts.”

Marie, meanwhile, while surely fond of Manganiello’s abs, points to his “sense of humor, his work ethic and how humble he is with everything that has gone on.”

And apparently she’s a fan of his acting, too. “Joe introduced me to the show on our first date,” she says. “And on our second date … he brought the DVD.”