She recently joined Instagram, and it’s no coincidence that one of the first photos Michelle Pfeiffer posted online was of her sharing a romantic toast with husband David E. Kelley. “The luckiest girl in the room for 25 years,” she wrote to celebrate their anniversary. The actress cherishes her marriage to the Big Little Lies producer, whom she wed in 1993 after she’d starred in such Hollywood hits as The Fabulous Baker Boys and Batman Returns. She’d married her first husband, actor Peter Horton from thirtysomething, before landing her breakout roles in Grease 2 and Scarface. They divorced in 1988.
If only she’d listened to her mother’s words of wisdom. “She always used to say to me, ‘Michelle, whatever you do, before you get married, have a career first,’” the actress, 60, recently recalled. “It was the best advice she ever gave me.” Growing up in Orange County, California, Michelle was raised by her mom, a housewife and her father, an air-conditioning contractor. “I didn’t come from a lot of money,” she revealed. “We were living paycheck to paycheck, so my dad really stressed the importance of saving for a rainy day.” He used to pay her 50 cents to clean broken refrigerators he brought home to fix.
“They were disgusting,” the mother-of-two said, adding, “But I made some pocket money.” Michelle and David, 62, have tried to pass along the same kind of values and work ethic to their children: Claudia Rose, 25, and John Henry, 24. “Being a parent is the hardest thing in the world,” she has said. “These lives are in your hands. I take it very seriously.” Still, she knows that nobody’s perfect. “Like all parents, my husband and I just do the best we can, hold our breath and hope we’ve set aside enough money for our kids’ therapy,” she quipped.
Michelle put her career on the back burner when her children were in school. “I never really made a conscious choice to stop working for that long of a period of time,” she revealed. “It just became harder and harder the older they got. You’d think it would be the opposite.” Once they left for college, however, she found herself focusing on work again. “People make a lot of jokes about the empty nest,” the Oscar-nominated actress said. “Let me tell you, it is no laughing matter. It is really hard.” With her recent roles in Ant-Man and the Wasp and Murder on the Orient Express, Michelle’s career is at full-steam again. “I’m back working because I can,” the What Lies Beneath star said. “It really feels good, and I love it. I’m having a great time.”
She’s equally happy at home with David. “I’ve never met a person who has more integrity than my husband,” she gushed. “There’s his humor and intelligence, too, and he’s really cute — all those things — but if you don’t respect your partner, you’ll get sick of him.” Michelle believes her marital bliss is one of the secrets behind her remarkably youthful beauty. “I’m a really happy person,” she said. “I enjoy life. I think you see that on people. There’s nothing more aging than misery.”
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