There's a certain glow to Jessica Biel as she arrives for a breakfast interview at a Beverly Hills hotel.
Part of it comes from her show-stopping, muted-gold halter dress by Oscar de la Renta, which is accented by hundreds of tiny, sparkling beads and an armful of golden bracelets.
Then there's the large, princess-cut diamond on her engagement ring from Justin Timberlake.
Even that isn't it, though. The two tied the knot this fall, so what illuminates Biel is that newlywed glow.
"My life is absolutely amazing," she says, beaming. "We're in this romantic 'ahhhhh,' breathless moment that I'm just trying to extend for forever."
If the 30-year-old Biel is having any qualms about marriage, they aren't apparent.
"It's a new stage and a new moment in my life," she says. "I'm moving forward. It feels quite inspiring, fun and positive."
It's a welcome change, because Biel admits that turning 30 wasn't easy on her.
"I think I'm definitely afraid of the aging process," she admits with a laugh. "Aging is a scary thing, especially when you're a woman and dealing with everything that comes with it."
Surely it's a little less scary for a woman who is rich, famous, in love and the star of two films this holiday season, Hitchcock and Playing for Keeps?
The Minnesota native plays actress Vera Miles in the critically acclaimed Hitchcock, starring Anthony Hopkins as the legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and now in limited release. The film tells the story of the making of Psycho (1960), generally considered Hitchcock's greatest film.
She goes in a different direction entirely for Playing for Keeps, set to open nationwide on Friday. Directed by Gabriele Muccino, the film stars Gerard Butler as a charming, down-on-his-luck former soccer superstar who, when his career hits the skids, starts coaching his young son's soccer team. Biel plays his ex-wife, who is less than thrilled to have him come barging back into her life.
"My character has moved on with her life and is getting ready to marry her boyfriend," Biel says. "But she can't ignore her feelings for her ex, although she really wishes he would just grow up. They do that dance of wanting to say something to each other, but it remains unsaid. They're afraid to say what they need to say to each other."
To research her Hitchcock role, the actress spent time with Miles' grandson, who proved to be a wealth of information.
"Vera is alive, but doesn't have a public life at all," Biel explains. "She isn't interested in having a public life and wasn't interested in speaking with me. It wasn't an insult.
"I was lucky that her grandson was interested in talking with me," she continues. "I sat and picked his brain for hours. He's married and was very nice and respectful. He's also highly protective of his grandmother as someone he loves. He's the best historian of her career.
"What I learned is that Vera's life was exactly what she wanted."
So is Biel's, so far. Born in Ely, Minn., and raised in Boulder, Colo., she spent her childhood singing in local musical theater, starring in productions of Annie and The Sound of Music. She got her first professional break on the inspirational television series 7th Heaven, on which she played preacher's kid Mary Camden from 1996 to 2003 and then again in the show's final season in 2006.
Since then she has focused on films, moving readily from genre to genre in accumulating such credits as Ulee's Gold (1997), Summer Catch (2001), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Blade: Trinity (2004), Elizabethtown (2005), The Illusionist (2006), Easy Virtue (2008), Valentine's Day (2010) and, most recently, Total Recall (2012).
She signed on for Total Recall, Biel says, because she loves action films -- even if she also hates them.
"I love the discipline of doing physical movies and pushing your body to an extreme," she says. "The loving of it is also the hating of it. Five or six weeks into the diet and this absolutely crazy training regime, which is brutal, you're stronger and you have the utmost energy. You're not having a cocktail at night. You're keeping your body really clean and the toxins are gone."
The tabloid frenzy over her wedding was no surprise to Biel, who has been thronged by paparazzi ever since she and Timberlake started dating in 2007. Throughout their on-and-off relationship, it has been a constant in their lives.
"It's very challenging to have a private life that's actually private," Biel says, sighing. "It's been very hard for me to have any sort of privacy. I get it. It's a balance that you have to create between your personal and professional life.
"I could really love the days when there was no TMZ and no Internet," she adds, "although Google is great. I love looking things up. Otherwise the Internet makes life quite a challenge for us."
The two have never appeared in a film together, but Biel talks as if that won't last long.
"I want to work with my partner," she says. "I'd love to act with Justin."
Other than that, the actress aspires to nothing more than some time off.
"I want to take a minute now and enjoy my life," Biel says. "This moment won't come again."