Army Wives star Catherine Bell will light up the small screen tonight in the action thriller, Last Man Standing. In the Lifetime TV movie, Catherine portrays a happy suburban wife and mother who has been concealing her dark past as a military-trained special-ops agent.
In a conference call, the mom-of-two kids – daughter Gemma, 8, and son Ronan, 10 months – opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her exciting new role, spending quality time with her family in South Carolina, and the secrets to her successful 19-year relationship with her partner in life and her career, hubby Adam Beason.
How’s baby Ronan doing? Any plans for his upcoming first birthday?
CB: “Omigoodness is he really going to be 1 already?! I haven’t even really thought about it yet – it goes by so fast. He’s doing great! My mom is taking care of him back in Charleston and she’s texting me pictures of him all day. He just started standing and pulling himself up so all the pictures today he was standing on all sorts of different pieces of furniture and trying to grab everything he possibly could. He’s a happy, happy, easy going baby. We got lucky.”
How did Gemma do with the transition into sisterhood considering the age difference between the two?
CB: “She really did well. It took her a couple weeks to get used to it. At first she was so excited when he came home and then it hit her that there’s another little person in the house that is getting equal amounts of attention. I think it was a bit of a shock at first, being an only child for so long. After those first few weeks of adjustment, she’s just become the best big sister. She’s really, really sweet and considerate and loving. I call her second mommy to him. She’s just so great with him.”
You had your second child in your 40’s. Is motherhood easier or harder now?
CB: “Pregnancy was a little harder on my body. But motherhood is easier. I’m more relaxed and comfortable as a woman and as a mom. I’ve had 8 years of experience as a mom. I’ve also noticed that Ronan’s much more easy and relaxed too because I don’t freak out and every little noise he makes. He’s just a cool kid.”
As a mom and an actress, how do you maintain a sense of normalcy in your family life?
CB: “I constantly work at that. With my career and my schedule, it’s constantly changing so it’s not like a have a normal 9-5. Some days I might have off which is great so I take advantage of that. Other days, I might work 18, 19 hours and not see them at all. So it’s a go-with-the-flow process where I’m always trying to find the time to give them consistency.
We love to go for bike rides on the weekend, so we always try to squeeze that in. Whenever I’m not working I try to take my daughter to school because she loves when I do that. Or putting my little boy to sleep. Just finding those moments and special things that you do that are so important.
It’s different things. I love putting my little boy in the Bjorn and we walk over to the park just a few blocks from our house. We play on the swings and hang out and play in the sand. That time I love.
With my daughter I love to read. She loves books so I’ll read to her in bed. Fairy tales and all sorts of different adventures. Any of that stuff is really wonderful and special time. Also, my daughter loves to cook so she’ll get her step-stool and help me cook dinner. I just love stuff like that.”
What’s the best advice you give to new moms?
CB: “Make sure you take some time for yourself and for your spouse as well. As important as those babies are and you want to spend every second with them, go get a pedicure or a massage or go for a walk by yourself. Go out for dinner with your husband! Get a babysitter – I know it’s hard and you don’t want to – but I think it makes you a better mom and a better person.”
What did you like the best about your role on Last Man Standing?
CB: “I love that there’s this woman that has this beautiful, simple, soccer mom life and this entire hidden past that you know nothing about until a member of her unit is killed and her husband is kidnapped. Her former skill-set kicks in and she’s got to do everything that she can to get him back and keep their daughter safe at the same time. I love this role! Action heroes, action movies and doing some of my own stunts is my favorite thing to do.”
What’s it like playing an Army Wife to playing a marine?
CB: “I love it! For me, the best thing about acting is being able to mix it up.From a wife who’s being abused by her son and all sorts of emotional stuff, and then going into full-on action mode and special-ops, secret agent stuff. I love it. Maybe next I’ll get to do some period piece, completely different from those two roles. We’ll see.”
What can we expect from the Army Wives finale?
CB: “Every character is going through so many different things. Roxy is running into her challenges with opening up her truck stop. Denise and Tonya, Jeremy’s fiance, are getting closer and helping each other get through the loss of Jeremy. The big thing is that there’s some huge, unexpected news that we all get as a group that forces us all to take a look at where we’re going next in our lives. It’s a big shocker and we all have to figure some things out.”
When do you go back to work? Do you have a plan during the time off?
CB: “I’m not sure, but we probably have 5 or 6 months off. I’ve got some family time planned. I’m going to take the kids next week and head out to see some friends. I’m not sure where we’re going yet. We’ll get in a little bit of work and a little bit of play.”
What are some of the ways you stay green on-set and at home?
CB: “One of the coolest things that I’ve never seen on any other sets is our caterers have plates and forks made of corn and different biodegradable materials. We also do recycling on the set. And at home we recycling. My daughter just learned all about that at school in her second grade. We use glass and not too much plastic, paper and stuff like that.”
What drew you to the role in Last Man Standing?
CB: “This is something that my husband actually wrote. He came up with the idea a couple years ago and we were trying to find something to do together. This was something that literally started with, ‘Hey honey, what do you feel about playing a female bodyguard?’ And I said, ‘Yah cool!’ He had been doing lots of research on how people were hiring female bodyguards. Next thing you know, he started writing a pitch and Lifetime loved it. We really created it from the bottom-up and it was fun to play someone really strong. It’s a thriller, it’s action-packed and it has everything I like.”
You’re big on Twitter! What do you love about it?
CB: “I love Twitter! I was always afraid of Twitter because I thought I had to let everybody know every time I grabbed a cup of water! But I realized it was just a really cool, fun and fast way to communicate with people, hear back from them immediately, and really stay in touch with your fans. I love that.”
What’s it like working with your husband?
CB: “We’ve been together for 19 years, so we’re really close and really good friends. We met on a movie set. He was a production assistant and I was an actress. We’ve been through different phases of our careers. He became a writer and we always wanted to work together. He’s always been a part of my production company. We love to create together. He’s very, very smart and I call him my ‘walking IMBD.’ If the computer’s down, you can call Adam for your IMBD questions!”
Do you think your relationship has worked because he’s not an actor and you don’t have to deal with that competition?
CB: “I’m sure that’s helped. We’ve never had that competition. He’s been an amazing dad while I worked crazy hours and we traded off. It’s a collaborative relationship. We’re either doing projects together or he’s helping me with some of my projects?”
How do you stay in great shape?
CB: “When you have your husband write an action movie 9 weeks after your baby is born, you’re forced to get in shape! I do work out regularly around half hour, 45 minutes 3-4 days a week. I try to eat well most of the time. I cheat here and there.”
It’s been big for Denise on Army Wives losing Jeremy. How has it been filming without Jeremy (a.k.a Bubba) on set?
CB: “One of the hardest things about filming those episodes what that Bubba, who is Jeremy, we call him Bubba, was leaving. I adore that man – I call him a man because he’s actually 25. He’s such a sweetheart. He’s almost like a real kid to me. Such a good, good person. Born and raised in Charleston. We still see him and hang out. He takes my daughter Gemma fishing sometimes. We miss him. That final scene of him in the coffin was heartbreaking. It was so hard to get through because we were saying goodbye to him and his character.”
You moved to South Carolina a few years ago. What keeps you in the south?
CB: “A couple of things. Partly because my daughter was starting Kindergarten and I didn’t want to keep moving her around. And I do a lot of traveling so we thought we’d make Charleston our home base since we love it so much. It’s beautiful, the people are really nice. It’s Southern hospitality at its finest. It’s on the beach. It’s really a wonderful place to raise your family. I lived in L.A. my whole life before moving here and I never knew a single neighbor. I get to the south and literally you’re moving in your furniture and people are bringing homemade cookies and notes with their phone numbers.”
Last Man Standing premieres on Monday, June 6, at 8 pm PT/ET on Lifetime Television.