Jessica Alba may play a genetically enhanced supervixen on Dark Angel, but she feels a little more vulnerable than that in real life. As the rising starlet has learned, giving up her privacy is a lot tougher than taking on TV baddies — especially when it comes to her romance with fiancé and Dark Angel co-star Michael Weatherly.

"I just won't talk about us," Alba says firmly. "I know the media will dive into your personal life as much as you allow them to." Feeling she's damned if she does or doesn't dish, the actress simply throws up her hands. "If celebrities don't want to talk about something," she points out, "then the made-up stories are everywhere. In the end, you just have to say to yourself, 'It's not brain surgery, it's just entertainment. Nobody's dying here.'"

By all accounts, Weatherly (who has a five-year-old son with ex-wife and former Loving co-star Amelia Heinle) and Alba were successful in keeping their May-September relationship hush-hush for quite a while. But with the secret out, Dark Angel's Oscar-winning executive producer, James Cameron, concedes that viewers will likely view the couple's blossoming on-screen love affair in a whole new light. "There's definitely an alchemy between the real world and the television world that has to be acknowledged," the Titanic helmer says. "But I don't think you become a slave to it."

As proof, Cameron reveals that the sexy crusaders — who declared their love for one another in May's season finale — won't be following their portrayers down the aisle anytime soon. "Once people think their relationship is resolved, interest is going to wane. [So] we've created an obstacle for them," he teases. "We want to put their relationship under siege."

Alba's legion of male admirers — whose drooling adulation drove her to the top spot on Maxim's Hot 100 Babe List — would no doubt like to throw a monkey wrench into the Golden Globe nominee's real-life romance. For her part, she clearly doesn't take her lofty place in the pantheon of babedom too seriously, though.

"It's ridiculous," she giggles, "because I was probably wearing the most clothes of all the girls they picked. But I find it flattering. It's funny... when women come up to me, they always compliment the show and I know they've really been watching. But a lot of the guys say, 'I've never seen Dark Angel, but you're in my Maxim!'"