Julie Newmar may have been an international sex symbol as Catwoman on TV’s Batman in the 60s, but she tells Closer Weekly that her world truly changed when she gave birth to her son, John Jewl Smith, in 1981.

In an exclusive interview with Closer, on newsstands now, Julie says it’s “very helpful” having a child with Down syndrome. “Parents should never feel like they have an afflicted child,” she says.

“He’s adorable,” she gushes of her only child, who was born with Down syndrome and is now 35. “He lives with me, and he’s a wonderful artist. As a matter of fact, he now has an exhibit at the Washington Reid Gallery in Culver City [Calif.].”

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Julie and John in 1984.

She adds, “He’s the cause of the great expansion of my outlook on life. He’s responsible for my understanding and practice of unconditional love.”

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The 82-year-old star considers her son nothing short of a blessing. “John is what makes my life great,” Julie tells Closer.

For the full interview with Julie Newmar, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!