Isn't it ironic? Girl-on-girl action never fails to get a rise out of viewers, yet being a lesbian can send a starlet's career spiraling downward. Luckily, the new Mrs. Melissa Etheridge, Tammy Lynn Michaels, doesn't give a damn; the former Popular vixen has her priorities in order. "This industry is fickle," she tells TV Guide Online. "What's most important is who's going to be there with you at the end of the day when people stop taking pictures."

Hallelujah! However, the 28-year-old actress, who recently played a homosexual teenage spy in the spoof D.E.B.S., didn't always have a beautiful mind to match her pretty face; she came by her level head the hard way. "I had a single mother, and coming from a small Catholic town in the '80s... that did not fly well," the Indiana native remembers. "Back then, it was like the scarlet letter... so I know what it's like to be the black sheep of the town. That's why I tend to root for the underdog." (No wonder she and her rockin' better half elected to make a dinner guest of quirky singer Vanessa Olivarez immediately after she got voted off American Idol 2.)

If Michaels herself is considered to be something of a Tinseltown outcast, however, she's delighted. After all, that would put her in excellent company! "You know, Julia Roberts was the hottest thing, then she had a couple of movies that fell through, and [media vultures] were talking about her like she was a has-been," the modern-day Bette Davis points out. "Now, she f---ing owns Hollywood!

"Hollywood itself is entertainment — just watching this town," she adds wryly. "That's why you can't take anything too seriously."