It has been a tremendous couple of years for 29-year-old actor Derek Luke. He's gone from working in Sony's gift shop and waiting tables at awards ceremonies to winning an Independent Spirit Award for his starring role in Antwone Fisher. But it hasn't all been smooth sailing for the handsome thesp, who currently co-stars with Katie Holmes in Pieces of April. Despite the heady joys of newfound fame, he's learned the star trip has its drawbacks.

"Sometimes [acting] is a challenge, because you get a lot of attention," Luke concedes. "[Especially] if I just got off a movie, and I had catering people coming up to me. But then, at home, I sit there and watch TV and the garbage piles up. And my wife goes, 'Derek, you've got to take the garbage out.' And I give her a look. Then, I think, 'Oh my God, I have to learn how to separate myself.' It is humbling."

Trash detail may be far from Luke's mind while making movies, but wife Sophia is always in his thoughts. He tried to anticipate her reaction before shooting a steamy April bed scene with the former Dawson's Creek beauty. "It is Katie Holmes," he sighs. "But I still said to [director] Peter [Hedges], 'I've got to go back home after I shoot this, and it is likely that my wife will see this.'

"Basically," he explains, "I try not to do anything that would hinder my relationship with my wife. Because this is not important. I can get another job, but not another wife!"

That's an admirable sentiment to hear from the happily-married (and clearly well-trained) Jersey boy. When asked about their on-screen chemistry, he won't even admit Holmes's looks are off the hook. The loyal hubby will only venture to say: "She's off the creek!"