Bruce Fretts
March 11, 1994 AT 05:00 AM EST

Those rumors you’ve heard are true: Tom Arnold has another wife. She’s played by Alison LaPlaca on Arnold’s new CBS sitcom, Tom. LaPlaca confirms that Roseanne and Tom’s three-way wedding with Tom’s assistant, Kim Silva, was a hoax, although ”there was a nice ring involved,” she says. ”I was hoping as a third wife I might get some jewelry, but so far, nothing.”

LaPlaca has no trouble pretending to be Tom’s adoring spouse, though. ”I’ve always loved Tom. He’s just a big goof,” says LaPlaca, 34, who costarred with him last season on ABC’s Jackie Thomas Show. ”When I’m standing next to him, I’m quite taken by him.”

Playing a wife may not be a stretch for LaPlaca (who’s married in real life to Roseanne director Philip Charles MacKenzie), but her new role as a mom of five is a long way from her best-known part, as a tactless, childless real estate agent on Fox’s Duet (later Open House). Still, her Tom character is ”pretty hip for a Kansas lady,” notes the Chicago-bred LaPlaca ”She’s fighting to make sure the family doesn’t sink into some white-trash abyss.”

LaPlaca sometimes misses being a bitch. ”It was fun back when I was the comic relief, coming in and dumping on the white trash — not the white trash, the white bread!” she says, catching her slip. ”You don’t have to carry the storyline, but you get the big laughs.”

A veteran of short-lived series (Stat, Suzanne Pleshette is Maggie Briggs) and pilots (Diner, Big — ”I only do pilots based on movies,” she jokes), LaPlaca hopes for a long run with Tom. But she knows better than to plan too far ahead. ”It’s great with Tom and Roseanne, because they command a good, solid order [of episodes]. We know up front we’re doing 12 — that’s rare these days,” she says. ”So you can feel a bit more secure. You can go out and buy a couple new outfits.”

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