And now you’re starring in a Mission: Impossible movie, which will no doubt kill at the box office.
That’s true, but this one is made by great filmmakers, and I know it’s going to be a great film—I can feel it. That’s one big thing I learned from Tom: the importance of pleasing the audience. The guy’s middle name is “Hard Work.” Just when you think you’re tired, he’s doing a second workout, and he’s got more money than God. [Laughs.] He doesn’t need to work so hard, but he does it. So who am I to complain that I’m back in the gym for the second time in one day? Tom goes hard!

Well, as this photo shoot proves, all of that time in the gym has definitely paid off.
[Laughs.] And what’s crazy is that I haven’t always been this confident.

Which I’d think a mirror would instantly change.
If only it were that easy.

 

It's a hell of a lot of fun to be sexy; I love to play dress-up in skimpy clothes.

 

What brought about your newfound sense of confidence?
Being honest with yourself as you get older, and after you live life longer. I’m more comfortable with my flaws now, and with that, you start to feel more confident. When you’re trying to hide all of your flaws, and you’re embarrassed by them, it can be so uncomfortable—very, very uncomfortable. You don’t know who you’re supposed to be. I just hit a certain point when I started to think, “You know what? These are my flaws, and I’m OK with them.” I love me! I’m doing the best I can with what I have. I’m not afraid to say that anymore. I feel comfortable in my own skin now.

Your confidence makes our world a much better place.
[Laughs.] Why, thank you. And you know what? Years ago, back when I was starting out in this business, I never would have done anything like this Complex cover. I wouldn’t have worn the skimpy clothes. I would have thought that I have to prove to the world what kind of girl I am, and blah blah blah. I just go with my instinct now. It’s a hell of a lot of fun to be sexy. I love to play dress-up in skimpy clothes.

We love it, too.
I’m not ashamed to say it. It just feels honest to do something that sexy. I don’t have to prove myself to anybody. Even if my mom doesn’t like seeing me in such provocative ways, it’s OK, because my mom probably isn’t going to like anything that I do. [Laughs.

This is definitely a new place for me to be in, and I’m loving it.

Why has it taken so long for you to get to this place?
You come to a certain place in your life where you don’t feel like people only look at you for your physicality anymore. And I don’t even know if that’s true or not for me. Some people might see a picture of me in a bikini and think, “Who is this chick? I don’t even know who this chick is,” and just look at my body. But I guess I just needed to know that I’m more than that.

So you’re cool with men drooling over these pictures?
It only matters what I feel. I know that I’m smart, and I know that I’m about more than just putting on sexy clothes. It’d be a lie for me to say that I don’t enjoy putting on sexy clothes and showing myself off, and my husband would tell you the same. [Laughs.] He’d be like, “People don’t know who you really are!” Why should I have to hide it? That’s silly.

How big of a factor is your husband in this new confidence?
He is my greatest supporter. He’s never stopped me from doing a single thing; he only encourages me to go for it. He tells me to do things before I even think I’m ready myself.

The two of you have been together for half of your life. For a couple in the public eye, that’s unheard of. How does it continue to work amidst all the stress of fame?
There’s no recipe. There’s no other way to say it—it’s true desire. We’re crazy enough that we just keep wanting to be together. We just don’t not want to be with each other. [Laughs.] It doesn’t mean that we don’t have our ups and downs. We just don’t want to be with anyone else. That’s how we keep it together: desire.

You two seem more comfortable than most celebrity couples discussing your relationship publically. His very sexy “Lost Without You” video felt like a sneak peek into your bedroom.
[Laughs.] I guess it’s because we were in love way before either of us encountered any of this celebrity stuff. We knew each other and loved each other way before any of this. There’s never been a sense of, OK, we shouldn’t talk about it to the press, because we’re in each other’s lives. I don’t know how to keep that a secret.

In one interview, he called you his “sex therapist.” Does it ever make you uncomfortable to read things like that in print?
I hope he’d say that! [Laughs.] Who else would I want it to be? Your wife should be your sex therapist, or if you’re not married, your girlfriend should be your sex therapist. If she’s not, then things aren’t going so well.

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ADDITIONAL CREDITS:
(PROP STYLING) Brian Byrne. (HAIR) Robert Steinken. (MAKEUP) Sam Fine. (MANICURIST) Deana Blackwell. IMAGE 1 & 2: Swimsuit by Hervé Léger / Shoes by Stuart Weitzman / Bracelet and ring by CC Skye / Earring by Alexis Bittar. IMAGE 3,4,6 & 7: Swimsuit by Norma Kamali / Shoes by Stuart Weitzman / Necklace by Fiona Paxton. IMAGE 5 & COVER: Swimsuit by Hervé Léger / Earrings by CC Skye.

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