As Brenda Chenowith, the smart-cookie female lead of Six Feet Under, Oscar-winner Rachel Griffiths has finally made it into the showbiz major-league. But it took some pretty gruelling sex-scenes to get there, and now she's dealing with every celebrity's nightmare, her first stalker. David Spedding speaks exclusively to everyone's favourite bad girl.

Well well, Rachel. Series two of Six Feet Under shows you being a very naughty girl indeed…

[laughs] That's so typically British of you! Everyone else starts out with the subtle questions, but no, the British go straight for the sex angle, right in there.

Well it's a pretty extraordinary journey your character goes on - random sex with complete strangers.

That's very true. But it wasn't 'fun' sex. Well OK, it starts out with a sort of mischievous element, but then it goes to a place that's downright dangerous. It wasn't like a girl having a good time, orgasming in a kind of great joyful way. There were obviously very painful scenes in there.

It's something we've not seen seriously discussed on TV before, this whole female sexual addiction thing.

That's true. And it's all a little strange. You know, it's where sex is kind of being used to numb pain you know, and there's nothing pretty about it: you see a girl putting herself in a position where she doesn't even know the person she's having sex with. I mean, she could be getting into a car with Fred West! It's kind of dangerous to the soul and, therefore, very self destructive.

How does an actress put herself into those shoes?

Well like you said, it's something that's we've not really been presented with and it's certainly not something that I could connect with. So I couldn't draw on any personal experience, and no female friend that I talked to about it has had that kind of experience. Most of my friends are more likely to have romantic addictions than sexual addictions. You know, "This one's the one" type of addictions or, you know, kind of compulsive monogamy where every one is the one. Believe me, I have friends that fall in love, like, five times a year.

So where did you find the inspiration?

Actually, the best feedback I got was from gay men who have anonymous sex. And I had such a wide response about why men do that. But in the end, I just kind of did it and let the audience fill in the dots… it's not something, to be honest, I truly understood.

You only recently got married - it must have been quite tough for your husband to see his new wife being, well, such a slut. Even if it was only pretend…

Actually he was fine with it, and if anything it made the process easier. I don't want to sound smug, but our relationship is so solid and I feel so supported. He's an artist too. and we definitely have discussed how much braver you feel as artists when you have such a solid base to come back to. If you're single, I think it takes much longer to let go of some of the places that we go on the show whereas, if you come home to, you know, your beautiful wife, your beautiful husband, just seeing them instantly… [beams] oh, well you are happy. you have a great life. and that stuff's not real. But if you're by yourself, the feelings can linger.

How are you handling the whole fame thing? You're in a show that goes out all over the world now.

Yeah, and that's pretty strange. But the work is still bigger than the, you know, celebrity. I really hate that word, actually. The fact is, I go to work at 5:00 a.m. and go home at 7:00pm. I drive myself, there aren't any limos. So basically it's still all very real and the job is so much bigger than this little bit of stardust sprinkled around the outside. Having said that, I was, stalked home the other day for the first time ever by a big black car, and it totally freaked me out.

Erk - what happened?

Oh, it just, like, crawled behind me; and then it went past me, and then it waited for me, you know, stopping and starting. To start with I couldn't work out if it was a photographer or something, and then he went past me. and then he was crawling behind me about 50 meters away.

Sounds scary…

It was bloody terrifying! And no one was home on the street where I lived. Finally, I saw a tradesman, and I went over and said, "I'm being followed." And still this car was, like, hovering with the engine still running. It was like one of those scary hitchhiker movies, you know? Eventually it left and I just ran home. I was shaking by that time. I just shut the door behind me and said, "Andrew, I’ve just been followed." And I’ll tell you this much, it's a good thing we don’t have a gun in the house because Andrew was like, “OK, where is he…”

Bless. That's what husbands are for, isn't it?

[beams] Indeed.

You'll forgive me saying, but you do seem utterly, disgustingly loved up…

[laughs] Well of course I am! Marriage is wonderful and definitely transformative. I was already in love, and I knew I'd spend the rest of my life with Andrew. But the actual ceremony is an event that was probably more transformative than I imagined. It's like a gate that you kind of walk through and yes, you do feel a little bit different on the other side.

Six Feet Under series 2 starts on Channel 4, Sunday (May 25th), 10pm.