At Home with Holly and Rodney

Article excerpt

Last fall, NFL quarterback Rodney Peete took one of the biggest gambles of his life. And it wasn't on the football field. Rather, Peete was on a Hollywood soundstage making a surprise proposal to TV star Holly Robinson in front of a studio audience on the set of her sitcom Hangin' With Mr. Cooper.

To the cheers of the audience, he dropped to his knees and proposed the Big Question.

To his delight (and, no doubt, relief), she said, "yes."

The celebrity couple married in a star-studded ceremony in the elegant Brentwood section of Los Angeles and honeymooned for three weeks in France before returning to their home in a rustic section of Beverly Hills.

The Peetes' home is a massive, four-story structure that measures more than 7,000 square feet. Almost all of the rooms in the home overlook the hills and canyons of Los Angeles' elegant Westside. Like many homes in the area, the Peete residence is deceptive in size. It appears to be of average size at the entrance but has several levels that are not visible from street level. There is an immediate canyon below the home.

Holly and Rodney compromised on furnishing the home. Although Peete brought some of the furnishings from his previous bachelor digs, she did a bit of re-upholstering and re-tooling here and there, choosing rich, vibrant colors. The house is full of art reflecting Holly's eclectic tastes, ranging from brightly colored Haitian and indonesian art to old Motown posters.

"Rodney had some nice pieces, but they were bachelor things. I think mine are a little better," Holly says with a grin.

The couple met two years ago at a nightclub in Los Angeles and were introduced by one of Holly's good friends, actress Lela Rochon. Holly thought he was attractive, but did absolutely nothing, primarily because of his ladies' man reputation. "I was like, He's okay but he was a little on the playboy, side,"' she says.

Holly wasn't about to admit it, but she was actually. quite smitten when she first laid eves on him. "This sounds corny, but there was like this light in his eyes," she says. "There was like a really special warmth in his eyes that I saw, and his smile. Rodney's got a great smile."

Soon after the initial meeting, Holly took off for a vacation in Bali. When she returned, Rodney invited her to a barbecue at his home. This time things were quite different. "Rodney was a guy who was at a point in his life where he wanted to make some changes," Holly says. "And I didn't realize that until I met him the second time at the party at his house. When I finally, realized it, we went to London on a (preseason) football trip and that was where we fell in love."

Both agreed that had they met anytime time earlier than they did the relationship probably would not have worked. Although he was a professional quarterback in Detroit and Dallas, Peete, 29, remained a local hero in L.A. since he had been the University of Southern California star quarterback in the 1980s. And that brought in groupies almost by the busloads.

"I had afl those girls who were easy, and basically I could do whatever I wanted and didn't have to answer to anyone," Peete recalls. "Nobody stood UP to me and said, 'You do this and I'm leaving.' I was spoiled. So many ladies latched on to my identity and what I did was what they did. A lot of time in the past, if someone would come and challenge me about something, I'd say, 'Okay, later. I'm gone."'

Holly, also in her 20s, has her own strong identity and a strong mill to accompany it. And, she has impressive credentials. She was raised in Philadelphia and Malibu, educated at Sarah Lawrence College in New York and speaks four languages fluently. She had performed for several years in the mid-1980s on the drama 21 jump Street and, for the last five years, has been the ditzy secretary Vanessa on Hangin' With Mr. …