Over eight seasons as the hunk on "Desperate Housewives," actor James Denton had pulses jumping …especially during his shirtless love scenes.
Now, he's baring only one thing: his heart.
Denton is a cancer warrior these days. His mother died of breast cancer and now his beloved sister-in-law Meg is dealing with chemo to fight the disease.
"It's unbelievable, but I meet people every single day who have dealt with cancer. There is a mom or a sister who faced it," says Denton who isn't just talking about breast cancer. He has joined with Ford to inspire a limited edition T-shirt to raise money for to help others deal with their treatment.
He's part of Ford's Warriors in Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. For every shirt sold, 100 percent of the net profits go directly to the Pink Fund, providing real help now.
DEALING WITH CANCER
His sister in law has two children. "She can only work part time," Denton says. "Thank God after eight years of 'Housewives,' my family can move and help.
"It's also a lot of fun because my kids can be around their extended family," he says.
The only trouble is the Midwest weather, "We had frost the other night," he says with a laugh.
"This T-shirt came about because my mom passed ten years ago and then my wife's sister was diagnosed with breast cancer last December," Denton says. "At the time, 'Desperate Housewives' was just ending and my wife and I were living in California. Her sister Meg and her kids were living in Minnesota.
"My wife and I looked at each other and said, 'Why don't we just move to Minnesota to be close to Meg and her family?'" Denton says.
It turns out Meg needed the help
HELPING MEG AFTER CANCER STRIKES HIS FAMILY
His sister-in-law was in nursing school and lost her job. "She had to do her chemo and could only work part time. She didn't get time off with pay. So, she lost her income and she has two little kids," Denton says.
"Thank God, we could move. I don't even know what I'll do workwise, but this is family," he says. "And my kids are having fun being around their grandparents and extended family."
The upshot is that Meg is getting better…and much more!
"She didn't quit nursing school. Meg stayed and did her chemo. She even just graduated," Denton says with pride. "This proves you can do anything. Meg finished chemo and school at the same time."
GRATITUDE IN LIFE
Denton says all of this has been a great life lesson.
"It's a shame it takes something like this to remind us that we really shouldn't complain in life," he says. "My kids are seven and 9. They're healthy. I read stories now about kids with cancer and then I don't dare have a bad day.
"What am I whining about when my family is healthy?" he says.
LOOKING PAST "HOUSEWIVES"
Denton says there is life after "Desperate Housewives."
"It really was time for the show to be done. I think we certainly could have milked it a couple more years. The numbers weren't that bad," he says.
"The network probably would have been happy to have another year or two," he says. "But I think the show ran its course."
He says he's not looking for a new series.
"I'm not interested in doing a series because of my kids," he says. "It doesn't make sense right now for our family."
He just did a movie about a family of musicians. "I get to play guitar and sing," he says.
"Ideally, I'd like to do a movie here and there to keep my SAG insurance. But I don't want to do anything that locks me into being away from home," he says.
AGING AND HOW HE LOOKS SO GREAT
"I stayed in better shape on the show," he says. "I as on the show with the constant threat of taking my shirt off."
He isn't a gym guy.
"I never belonged to a gym in my life before 'Housewives,'" he says. "I'll hit 50 in a little better shape than a guy not on 'Desperate Housewives.'"
He says his workout plan is simple.
"I do 20 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of weights and then 20 minutes of cardio," he says. "It keeps my heart rate up for an hour.
"I found at my advanced age, I have to do a full hour of working out to keep my heart rate up," he says.
"It's more bearable if you break it into 20 minute chunks," he says.
Denton has a confession.
"I hate exercising," he says. "There are so many things I'd rather do.
"The funny thing is my wife is fitness instructor," he says with a warm laugh. "She loves to workout while I say that 20 minutes on the treadmill are the longest 20 minutes of my life."
He gets some natural cardio thanks to his Minnesota move.
"In LA, we had an hour commute to school. Now, we walk every morning in that crisp Minnesota air.
"I love it," he says.