Julianne Moore, 47, and her husband, director Bart Freundlich, 38, have two children, Caleb, 10, and Liv, 6. Julianne has been nominated four times for an Academy Award – and the buzz is that it could happen again, given her outstanding performance in her upcoming film Blindness. Julianne recently sat down with Parade and discussed what matters the most: her family.
On if her kids know what she does for a living: “As a rule, kids are just not very interested in what their parents do for a living. If I ever say to somebody, ‘Quick–what’s your mother’s office life like?’ They go, ‘ Duh…ahhh…hmmm…,’ and they can’t answer. Children are only interested in their parents as parents, and that’s the way it should be.”
On if she wants her children to watch her films when they’re older: “I want them to be interested in their own lives and their own accomplishments. I don’t want them to be interested in mine. Mine are of no consequence to them. I am their mother. That’s all I want to be to them–not some artist who discusses her work with them. I don’t care if they appreciate my artistry. I just want them to appreciate my unconditional love. My daughter is very interested in stories right now. She’s quite interested in fables. She loves ‘The Tortoise and the Hare.’ All the basic ones. She wants me to tell them to her over and over, though she prefers the ending of ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’–it has two different ones–in which the boy’s mother rescues him at the last minute.”
On the last time she cried in real life: “When my son graduated from fourth grade. They have a ceremony at his school in which the kids from all the classes at the lower school come and sing, and then the principal promotes them all. He goes, ‘Kindergartners, stand up! You are now first graders!’ And so on. In their school, the fourth grade is still part of the lower school, and the fifth is the beginning of the middle school. So it’s a big deal. I’m watching my son’s face during all this. Then the principal says, ‘Fourth graders, you are now middle schoolers!’ And my son’s face was just so joyful, and he threw his hands up in the air. It was so moving to me.” As she describes this event, she cries again, “Oh, shucks…here I go again…sorry. It was just so great to see him continue to become his own person. Oh, this is terrible. Look at me! The whole process of parenting is to help them take those steps away from you. So there obviously is some sadness in that, but it would be sadder still if they couldn’t take those steps and couldn’t let go of you. But my daughter said an interesting thing at the ceremony that day. There was another little girl who was crying too. She said, ‘Mommy, I’ve never cried because I was happy before. I only cried because I was sad.’ I said, ‘Yes, well, that’s kind of a grown-up thing.’ And I realized that it’s something that happens in adulthood, this happiness that can be so emotional that we cry.”
On who she would protect, even if violent means were necessary: “My children. Hmm…that’s a tough one. We really don’t know the answer to that–which is a lot of what Blindness is about. I don’t know if there is something I would kill for. We think we know how we’re going to act under certain circumstances, but I don’t know that we do. I was once in a stereo store, and there was a disturbance, and this guy was waving a gun. People started to scream and scatter, and I freaked out in a way I didn’t fully expect. I kind of cowered. I mean, I was really, really terrified. I thought afterward, ‘Jeez, Julie, you’re no good in an emergency.’ We all could say, ‘Oh, I would be a hero for my children!’ But what if we fail? Maybe we wouldn’t be–which is not to say you don’t love them or wouldn’t do anything for them. But the horrifying thing is that maybe you would fail to be a hero for them.”
On if she saw the world more clearly once her children were born: “It’s not like you disappear, and the person that you were–that you are–doesn’t exist anymore when you become a mother. You are still there. I think the time when I began to see the most clearly was after I turned 30. I was 31 or 32, and I quit smoking. I was so emotional. I mean, everybody is emotional when they quit smoking. But I had been so unhappy, and I realized that I had just been–I don’t know–literally stuffing it back with those cigarettes in my mouth. I felt like I woke up suddenly.”
Photo: Splash, April 14