Like her character Lynette Scavo on the landmark 2004 to 2012 hit Desperate Housewives, Felicity Huffman is a wife — to fellow Emmy winner William H. Macy — and a mom to teen daughters Georgia, 16, and Sophia, 18. And just like Lynette, she was a bit desperate herself when her kids were younger.
“I found myself overwhelmed by motherhood,” Felicity, 55, exclusively confessed to Closer Weekly. “I had mommy guilt all the time.” But it helped that she got up early each morning to spend time bonding with her kids and helping them get ready for their day.
During a recent, exclusive sit-down with the actress, Closer caught up with Felicity, 55, to talk about advice she’s gotten from hubby Bill, how she feels about a Desperate reboot, and her two upcoming Netflix projects, Otherhood and Central Park 5 — scroll down to read our Q&A!
You’re so busy! But it’s great to hear you’re starring with Angela Bassett and Patricia Arquette in Otherhood and Vera Farmiga in Central Park 5…
I loved making Otherhood, and it’s been wonderful working with [director] Ava DuVernay on Central Park 5, a miniseries about young men who were falsely accused in the attack of a woman. Then I’m off to Canada to do the movie Tammy’s Always Dying. It’s so great, I have to pinch myself.
With all these TV reboots, has there been talk of one for Desperate Housewives?
Everyone always asks me. Even my agent, literally last week, said, “OK, I have an idea, this is what you should do: Desperate Housewives, the reboot!” It’s just not going to happen. We used up so much narrative, 22 to 23 episodes a year, that I don’t think there’s anything left to be done. It’s going to be on my tombstone, so we’ll leave it at that.
What’s it going to say?
Felicity Huffman: Desperate Housewives, Crazy Mom!
Ha! Do you keep in touch with your co-stars?
I’m in touch with Eva [Longoria], which is awesome. To know Eva is to love Eva.
How did you become a spokesperson for Renew Life probiotics?
They called a year ago and asked, “Do you take a probiotic?” I said, “Yes, I have bottles of you in my refrigerator now. I’ve been taking you for many years.” I jumped at it, because I totally believe in having a better life through a better gut.
They promote taking a #PowerHour before school starts with your family.
I bet most moms do it, because it’s kind of the trampoline — how you’re launched [in the morning] is a real reflection of how the rest of your day goes.
What’s your routine?
I get up a half-hour before my family. I learned that from a mom; when I asked why she did, she said, “Because it’s my time.” I make butter coffee, then read a novel for 20 minutes. I make my kids get up 15 minutes before they have to so they can be a little slower, drink water, and take the probiotics.
Bill has included this thing where we all grab hands and everybody takes a breath. I know it sounds corny, but it actually makes us all land at the table at the same time. Then everybody loses their homework, can’t find their keys, all these horrible things.
Do you have anything in common with Lynette on Desperate Housewives?
Oh, certainly. I don’t know if that’s because I played her for eight years and the lines start to blur. As she did, I went, “Wait, where’s the old me gone? I had an identity before I had these kids!” And I think she adored her husband the same way I adore mine.
Bill just directed you in the film Krystal. Do you want to work more with him?
Oh, sure. I’d do the phone book with Bill!
He was an Oscar nominee for Fargo years before you got a nom for Transamerica, and Desperate Housewives made you a big star. Did that change the dynamic of your relationship?
No, it didn’t! The only time it got a little weird was when we were in Paris, and it was like I was a rock star! We had to run down the street. That was the only time I saw him go, “This sucks.” Then [his show] Shameless began and it swung back.
You talked about mom guilt. How have you worked through it?
I’ve written about it on my website WhatTheFlicka.com. I haven’t been successful, but I’ll tell you two things: put your own oxygen mask on before your kids, like they tell you on the airlines, because what’s good for the mom is good for the family.
The other thing Bill tells me is: “Figure out what your motivation is. If it comes from guilt, figure out a new one.” It’s a litmus test: Am I rushing home before I eat because I feel guilty about being away? Then you go, OK, could I get a smoothie?
What did you learn from your mom?
I’m in awe of her for having eight kids — she didn’t kill any of us — because having two, I know how tempting that is sometimes!
How about your six sisters?
That really helped, because I’m very familiar with teenage girls. The ups and downs with intense hormones doesn’t scare me. You understand why D.H. Lawrence called them little volcanoes. I’m closer to my sisters and my brother than anyone else in the world. They taught me about unconditional love, what it means to be there for someone.
You’ve done so much. Any new goals?
I’d like to produce period [dramas], perhaps in television. There were times in history when women wielded a lot of power, like Catherine the Great, and some of those stories haven’t been told. And I’d like to give more women opportunities to step into leadership and executive roles.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
Lord, you ask the easy questions, don’t you? Be 100 percent more prepared than you think you ought to be.
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