By Stacy Jenel Smith and Stephanie DuBois
With Eva Longoria
and Tony Parker due to tie the knot in Paris in July, it's worth noting that chances are very good for a solid marriage between the diminutive "Desperate Housewives" star and the 6'1" San Antonio Spurs Point Guard.
It's a family thing.
"Family is my number one priority," Eva told us. "And I made a vow that no matter how crazy things get, I will never miss a family event like weddings and baptisms. Those things are so very sacred and special to my family that it's important...way more important than any photo shoot or cover of any magazine."
Her NBA All Star and Championship player fiance is close to his family, too. He credits them for instilling in him a love for the game that's won him NBA All Star player status as well as championship rings. He and his brothers, T.J. and Pierre, grew up in France playing basketball and other sports together, and going to their father, Tony Sr.'s pro games.
When Eva made a point of meeting Parker's kin, including his mom, a former model from the Netherlands, it was obvious things were getting serious.
The Corpus Christi, TX native, who plays sexy Gabrielle Solis on "DH," believes that her tight-knit kinfolk have helped keep her from getting burned by the constant spotlight on her. "I'm really grounded. I am very close with my family. My home is Texas and that's where I love to be. That's what's closest to my heart. It gives you a different perspective on life and my priorities are much different than other actors."
She also noted, "I don't believe my own hype. I don't buy the magazines. I don't read the magazines."
Longoria and Parker are certainly not the only celebrities who find that keeping family in the forefront of their lives keeps them anchored amid the tempests of fame.
Hilary and Haylie Duff are just two of the many young stars who maintain that their loving, faithful family provides them with needed ballast.
"It's nice to have a sibling doing the same thing," Haylie observed of her and Hilary's careers. "Whenever people are getting all wrapped up in Hollywood tabloids, we have each other and we can go and hang out together."
"We're like each other's security blanket," added Hilary.
Family ties are often talked about as vitally important to a slew of celebs - from Brad Pitt to the Gyllenhaals (as in Jake and Maggie and their filmmaker parents), the Paltrows ( Gwyneth, her mother, Blythe Danner, late father Bruce, etc.), the Smiths (as in Will and Jada), the Stillers (as in the Jerry, Ben, Anne Meara clan) and Celine Dion, who makes it clear she wouldn't be the woman she is today without her large family.
John Ondrasik, a.k.a. Five for Fighting, is among the notables who step back from their busy careers on occasion in order to have quality time with their families.
The married father of two young children told us, "At times I limit my touring because it's important to not just write about parenthood, it's important to be a parent yourself. I want to be a part of their lives and if it sacrifices the career a little bit, that's part of being a dad. We're so fortunate that I have the luxury of being able to make my schedule and do what I want and part of that is being home, doing homework, carpooling and coaching soccer."
He added, "I think sometimes priorities are out of whack, especially in celebrity culture and the current tabloid world we live in...As great as performing is, the gigs tend to fade into oblivion. The things you remember are the first time your kid caught a fly ball or your daughter's first ballet. It may sound a little cheesy, but on the other hand, that's life man."
Benjamin Bratt, who has a four-year-old daughter and one-year-old son with wife Talisa Soto, feels the same way.
"I love traveling the world making films," he said, "but if you're a married man, aspiring to be not just a good father but a great father, you can't do that. My number one priority in life is to be both a good husband and a good father. And if I can get some work in while I'm doing that, all the better.
"My mother raised me right," he added with a smile. "Someone asked me on camera who my hero is. I took a long pause and I said 'You know, it's too damn corny to say it's my mom -- but it's my mom."