Actress Keri Russell, 31, has had a busy year — she tied the knot with husband Shane Deary in February, did a spring press tour for Waitress while heavily pregnant, gave birth to son River in June, and is now promoting her new film, August Rush.
She sits down with Self magazine to discuss Shane, pregnancy myths, adjusting to life as a mom, being a child actor, friendships, and her favorite chore — laundry.
Click below for the photo and interview highlights.
On her husband, Shane:
He asked me out for coffee, but we ended up going to this little Italian place in the West Village. I tell him now, ‘You didn’t seem interested at all!’ I was thinking ‘You’re really cute. You seem cool. We’re having dinner. This is so awkward!’
I had spent the whole day asking my girlfriends, ‘Heels or flip-flops? What do you do on a first date? Do you do fancy? I don’t know!’ And they all had different opinions: "Definitely heels! Definitely flip-flops!’
And he showed up in workout clothes! He’d just come from a kickboxing class. Now he says, ‘I was trying to act like I didn’t care!’ So it was a slow start.
When we met, he said he grew up on Martha’s Vineyard, surfed andbuilt houses. That is so much more appealing to me than, ‘Oh, didn’tyou audition for that? Yeah, I remember you.’ It’s 100 times over moreappealing.
I’m not just attracted to Shane; I genuinely like him. I’m interested in him. And I don’t know everything about him yet.
He’s the best guy. He really is. I wish I could clone himand give him to all my girlfriends.
On finding out she was pregnant:
We were in shock, but we were ultimately excited. Somewhere in us, we were ready for it.
On pregnancy moodiness:
There’s one [tantrum] involving a pregnant woman looking for Taco Bell and not finding it quick enough. Shane knows what I mean, and it frightens him to this day.
On pregnancy myths:
They say you get crazy horny at the end. Um, no. Poor Shane. He kept reading the books. They said, ‘By this point, you may be surprised how your pregnant partner is craaazy.’ Shane was like, ‘But it says…!’ I was like, ‘Really? Not feeling it.’
On her labor:
There was a harrowing cab ride from Brooklyn to the Upper West Sidein rush hour traffic — that definitely wasn’t the most enjoyable hour anda half of my life. We almost didn’t make it! That poor, poor cabdriver, is all I have to say. And poor Shane. Shane lost about 10 yearsof his life in that cab.
On adjusting to her new lifestyle as a mom:
The hardest thing for me is learning how to manage my time. Todelegate. I’m such a control freak and I want to be able to doeverything myself. It’s very hard learning to ask for help. I want tofeel like I can do it all but I can’t.
You can’t work, keep the houseclean, try to make dinner, be a good wife, try to look cute, buy yourfriend a birthday present and be a good mom. You need a little bit ofhelp.
The best change has been being less worried about the way I look. You’re just instantly less self-absorbed. Before, I was in the habit of straightening my hair, but now when I have 35 minutes to myself, I want to put it in a bun and go to sleep, or walk. There’s no room, no time, no energy for vanity anymore.
Her body secrets:
I stayed really physical during my pregnancy. I stuck to my normal pre-pregnancy workout, minus the stomach exercises and twisting. I really felt it helped my whole well-being.
Ideally, I’d do Pilates, usually on the reformer, for an hour every other day. And I walked almost every morning in this hilly park near our apartment. I did two laps, or 20 minutes, at a pretty good clip, arms pumping, the whole deal. The nerdy mom walk!
I really felt pretty strong and energized until maybe that last month, and I felt great about my growing body. C’mon, I had boobs for the first time! Awesome!
I think I gained around 25 lbs. I haven’t lost it all, but I feel good about the way I look. Things are definitely less toned now. Hello, flabby butt!
However, I do feel good about my shoulders and arms. All that baby lifting and carrying leaves you with some pretty toned upper arms.
I don’t really have time for the workouts I did pre-baby, but I do walk everywhere. Not my focused power-walk, but a general, all-day, park-coffee shop-laundromat-grocery store-subway stairs walk, all while carrying a baby. Babies seem small, but I gotta tell ya, they get heavy after an hour!
And I still try to take a private Pilates class once a week. I do see some general toning. I’d see more results if I could make it more than once a week, but you know…
On eating habits:
It’s hard to sit down and make a perfectly healthy meal with a baby who needs constant attention, so for breakfast, I put him in the sling and walk to the coffee shop, where I get eggs, toast, and salad.
At home, I just wolf down whatever I can find when he’s sleeping. So it’s like, ‘What do we have? Cereal! And tuna fish! Great!’ Or I’ll eat last night’s Middle Eastern takeout, cold.
I’m breastfeeding, so I try to eat something other than brownies all day. I attempt to incorporate healthy stuff. I take vitamins, and, thankfully, I actually started liking vegetables a few years ago.
Look, I’m naturally thin, so I don’t have to work too hard at it. I love food, but I also love to work out. I think it makes everything work better. But I also think surrounding yourself with people who are cool helps. I have really great girlfriends, and no one’s too hung up about that stuff.
My friendships are everything to me. I really put my relationshipwith my girlfriends as high as my relationship with Shane. There isn’tjust one person in your life — there are many people who make up a greatlife and your love relationships.
On relieving stress:
Naps are the key to relieving stress. When you are working on twohours of sleep, the fact that cheese comes on something when youordered it with no cheese is enough to send you crying under the coversfor an hour.
Also, eating right. It’s like, why am I so stressed out?Because I haven’t eaten for six hours. So naps, eating right andlaughing with my friends. I was getting a little down this summer andrealized that I hadn’t talked to my girlfriends in weeks. Especiallywhen you get into this isolated family bubble, it’s important to makesure that I’m reaching out and still engaging with them.
On her favorite chore:
I love doing laundry! It’s so satisfying. I love the way it smells.I love doing the sheets. Shane’s like ‘You just did those last week.’And I’m like, ‘News flash, most people wash their sheets every week.’So hilarious. I live with such a boy.
I go across the street to the laundromat to do my laundry, but in the new house we’re going to have alaundry room. I’m so excited. All my friends can come over and do theirlaundry. It’s a sliver of a room but it’s going to be my favorite roomin the house.
On being a child actor:
I had a nice experience as a young actor, but if River wanted to beon a TV show, that would not be happening. I think the whole kid actorsthing is creepy city. It’s creepy watching child actors speak. They’renot acting like kids anymore.
I feel like I missed out on certainthings, like sleeping in or messing up — just things that teenagers orcollege-aged kids do in their social growth. When you’re waking up atthe same time every day and showing up to set, you never learn to fail.You’re always just doing what’s expected of you. And I think that beinga teenager is doing something wrong and then going oh, right, thatprobably wasn’t right.
So I think there are a few steps that you missas a child actor — and you see all these people who have just fallenapart.
Source: Self, Dec issue, p. 176-181 — click the link for more interview excerpts.