Jennifer Garner looks forward to a 'happy summer'

04/24/2008 at 04:00 PM ET

Selfcover Actress Jennifer Garner, 36, sat down for an interview in the new issue of Self to talk about her love for summer, sunscreen, her daughter Violet Anne, 2, with husband Ben Affleck, 35, and much more.

Jennifer recently was contacted by Neutrogena for help in raising awareness on the benefits of sunscreen and the importance of sun protection.  Although Jennifer describes her childhood on the Chesapeake Bay with her sisters, and their time spent "roasting like peanuts" in the hot sun; now, as a mother, she has a new take on the sun and says "any color at all, it’s an accident!"

Jennifer’s newest project, a romantic comedy called The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, with Matthew McConaughey, comes out next year. The family is currently living on the East Coast.

Click below for the interview and photo highlights!

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(Jen is wearing a Beth Bowley top ($100).)

On summer being her favorite season:

What’s not to love about summer?  I love all the fruit that’s available.  I love the farmers’ market.  I love that everybody relaxes a bit more.  You can feel it in their face and demeanor.  People leave work a little earlier.

On being more motivated in the summer to work out:

Of course!  You’re in a bikini!  In the winter, you feel like, Who cares?  I’m in my husband’s sweater.  It doesn’t matter.  But in May, everybody kicks it into gear.

On preparing her body:

I try to decrease the overall size of my butt!

On everyone thinking she is always pregnant:

Yes, everyone continues to think that I’m two months pregnant.  But at this point, it’s just laziness!  I think your body shifts.  If I gained weight before, it didn’t go to my stomach.  Now it’ll go to my stomach and lower half.  Where I used to be flat, now — when I wear a T-shirt — you see a little bit of normal person.

On exercising:

I am exercising again.  I started feeling like I didn’t have time or energy for it, but now I realize I didn’t have energy because I wasn’t exercising.  So I work out with my trainer or do an hour of Pilates at 6 or 7 a.m. I’m done by the time my household is awake.  I don’t do it every day, and if I need to cancel, I cancel.

On not feeling like she has to work out constantly:

No!  It’s not like I"m trying to get into Elektra shape.  I’m just trying to feel good.  We also have a pool, and I’ve been known to swim laps.  But mostly I splash around and throw a kid.  There are always nephews and neighbors over.

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(Jen is wearing a dress from MaxMara and bangles from Melody Rodgers.)

On protecting herself from the sun:

Every day, I use a moisturizer with SPF so I don’t have to worry about it.  But if I’m going to be in the sun, it’s a whole different ball of wax.  Then I get serious and put on, like, SPF 1 million!  I mean, why not?  You might as well do everything you can to protect yourself.  It’s no joke.

On being the sunscreen carrier in the Garner-Affleck family:

Yes, I am, like it or not.  As the woman in the family, whether you’re the daughter, sister, wife or mother, you’re kind of in charge of having sunscreen in your bag and making sure your family is protected.  And I buy everybody big, floppy sun hats.

On Ben wearing sunscreen:

No, my husband gets burned.  I do my best, but I can’t say I do good work.  When I had Violet, I went into a store called Sun Precautions and bought every baby product they had, I was so paranoid.  She’s never had one smidgen of a suntan in her whole life.

On baby skin being amazing:

Gimme a break!  If we’d only known to take care of it, we’d all look like Nicole Kidman!

On noticing a wrinkle:

What do you mean?  That hasn’t happened yet!  No, every now and then I have a moment when I look in the mirror and go ‘Yep, I’m not 22′.  Like after a night when I haven’t slept, for example.  You don’t think it’s going to happen, and then you hit 30!  I’m not freaked out by it, but, you know, if a lotion says age-reverse, I’m more likely to use it now than ever before.  Might as well reverse.

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(Jen has on a dress from Moschino Cheap and Chic and bangles from Roxanne Assoulin for Lee Angel ($270).)

On growing their own food:

Yes! We planted a garden last spring.  Half the stuff dies, half the stuff lives, but I’m happy with it.  We had huge eggplants!  And there’s nothing like fresh tomatoes.  And the herbs?  Heaven!  I grow all different kinds of basil and thyme.  I always have rosemary and Italian parsley.

On her favorite summer meal for the family:

Anything on the grill.  I wish I were better at grilling.  It sounds so romantic to grill, and I’ll go through all the trouble to butterfly a whole chicken and grill it.  Then it won’t be cooked all the way through, and I’ll order pizza because I’m just so mad.  It’s, like, ‘I’m done; I have to eat!’  But that’s my goal for this summer: to really get good at grilling, especially vegetables.

On how her vacation style has changed since becoming a mom:

Totally.  It’s all about experiencing fun.  A lot of it is having fun through this other person.  I just gave Violet’s babysitter a week off because I wanted to stay home with her and not be available to anyone else, and it was great.  She and I loved it.  We got to cook and make banana bread together.

When I am not working, I’m with Violet. I would
n’t trade it, but I realize I come first too.

But Ben and I try hard not to talk about Violet in the press.  And we try not to give the paparazzi any power.  They really invade your kid’s space.  I say, ‘Please don’t flash your cameras in her face,’ and they don’t care.  They have lenses from here to there, they could take her picture from 100 yards, but they are still as close as I am to you. 

My kid does not belong in magazines!  She’s 2!  People recognize her if she’s in another state with someone who’s not me.  They say ‘Oh, that’s Violet Affleck!’  That’s not okay with me.

On regretting her fame:

No, I don’t feel regret, because I love my life.  I love my job.  I didn’t do this on purpose — I wasn’t trying to be famous when I was trying to be an actor, you know.  But I just got to be on Broadway [as Roxane in Cyrano de Bergerac opposite Kevin Kline].  How can I regret a choice that led me to that?  And that also led me to a great husband and a happy family and affluence?  Would I do it again knowing that this would happen [she points to paparazzi swarming around the cafe where the interview is taking place]?  I don’t know, because I can’t imagine having met Ben without it.

If I had thought that someday I’d have a child and how much her life would be compromised, that would have been really complicated, that decision.

You can’t decide not to live. You can’t work all your life to be an actor, and then when the lead role comes, say, ‘Oh, wait!’

On her favorite summer vacation spot:

I love Hawaii.  We don’t go somewhere every summer, but last year we had a long vacation in Kauai.  Your whole energy just downshifts to a much more mellow place there. I stay as far from the phone and Blackberry as possible. It’s good to force yourself to do that.

Whenever your family takes time out to be all together, it kind of has a golden glow when you look back on it.  On those sailing vacations when I was a kid, it was hot and there was no wind and we were just sitting in the middle of the bay.  But even those things — in retrospect, you think, Oh, we were all together.  How beautiful.

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(Jen’s blouse is from Tory Burch ($175) and the jeans are J Brand ($158).)

Source: Self; May issue. Scans courtesy Jen-Garner.net.

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Showing 20 comments

FC on

She’s the most non-Hollywood, most normal mother I can think of. I love that about her, and her interview was great, hilarious at times. It just seems like you’re reading about a friend of yours.:)

sharon on

oh I miss Jen, Ben and Violet
can’t wait to see them again it’s been too long.
I loved the interview thanx CBB :)

Karm on

Jennifer just makes you realize that you can and should be happy with exactly who you are and where you are, no matter what. What an inspirational mom!!

FC on

I almost forgot, the red and blue halter-style dress she has on in the one photo is cute! :) Though I love how she’s styled in all of them, even the black and white strapless dress.

elsa on

Message to Jennifer Gardner,
Dear Jennifer I had being looking to contact you in any way possible, because I’m a messenger of a poet that leaves in Argentina South America, I do have, a book of poems that he wrote inspired by your performance in the movie Elektra.
He was so impress by your smile and physical features and performance in the movie that he really wrote for you an script for a movie, in English and Spanish, he’s known in Argentina, he’s not getting any younger over 70’s and he wants me to delivery his material to you, I hope I can get an unswer from you or anybody as soon as you can, thanks so much for your time, Elsa

Megan on

Seriously listening to Jennifer just makes ya happy…she just seems so darn normal…and I know that seems so odd to say but in this world of hyper sensitive, over done and made up celebrities–it’s so freaking refreshing to see a “hollywood mom” heck a “hollywood family” that is just that…a family–and yes we’ve seen a lot of Violet but that’s nto because Jen and Ben take her to every premiere and to every hot spot…they get photographed going into Starbucks or going to the grocery store or the library–places that they have every freakin right to be…and i love that about them…

And the way they have no problem just getting out of Hollywood…as much as i miss seeing Miss Violet now and then, I LOVE that they are just living life on the East Coast and being parents…with family and friends…Jen and Ben both are just so real…::sigh:: love this family! And parts of this interview just crack me up…love it!

Bonnie on

When you read interviews where Jennifer Garner and Julia Roberts have stated that they dont like their kids pictures on the web, or in magazines do you try to have some respect for those stars? I just think its interesting for example the school my son goes to you cannot take pictures of other kids without their parents written consent. I do think its great when the stars put their kids out there and you show all those events but I do feel badly for the ones that dont. Just curious.

Steph on

Oh, I love Jen Garner! She is one of my favorite celebrity mothers! She is so real, down-to-earth, and funny. This was such a great interview. I’ve missed seeing them around but I totally understand wanting Violet out of the spotlight.

Rosy J on

As much as I love Jennifer and Ben and knowing that they don’t want the paps following them and snapping pics of Violet, I can’t help but want to see her. She is so adorable and I love her precious dimples and seeing her grow up right before my eyes. She seems like such a happy and well adjusted child. I feel like I am a part of her life. I loved Jen before Violet and Ben and I love her even more now.

brooke on

I love what she says about not regretting to be an actress, she sounds so real and grateful for her life. The paparazzi is a small price to pay for a job she loves and a good lifestyle for her family, and she sounds like she knows it, she also met her husband through this job. That’s why violet always looks like a happy child, you see jen out with her not cursing or getting crazy with the paparazzi, which often scares a child and makes it worse. She is so pretty, a good actress and seems like a great mom, I love her.

Heidi on

Fabulous article. I’ve missed this family!

Jennifer on

My favorite celebrity, hands down. I love reading about her, thanks CBB!

GARY APPLETON on

FINALLY IN OTHER WEBSITES WE CAN SEE JEN AND VIOLET …!!

sharon on

I don’t understand why she used the word ‘affluence’. So she’s happy she made the decision to become an actor so she could be high-society? I mean, we all know actors love attention & publicity but come on, try to be humble about it.

Elyse on

Love, love, love her! After seeing this post I had to go out and buy the magazine!!

Grace on

“Affluence” doesn’t mean high society — it means wealth. Which is totally different. She’s saying that the choices she made led her to a life with Ben, stage work with Kevin Kline, and few worries about money.

Which is something I think we all wish for, isn’t it? To get to the stage where you have enough money to make choices related to the rest of your life? It’s something I’ve thought of quite a lot — as crass as it can seem to say “I want to have money”, there’s a huge difference between wanting money so you can buy designer gear and fly in first class, and wanting money so when your five year old is having a hideous transition to school you can actually say “No, I won’t take that job that requires living in another state for a few months — I need to be around my kid.” Because you have the money to not work and stay home and make parenting your first priority, without the rent or groceries hanging over your head.

(Heh, and also, the decision to become an actor does NOT assure affluence! Most jobbing actors are paycheck-to-paycheck people.)

Given this is Garner we’re talking about, I’m pretty sure she’s not talking about high society, because she doesn’t really engage in that stuff. I’m guessing the money she and Ben have made has all been invested and saved and stocked away so that if both of them suddenly become totally unmarketable, they’ve secured their family’s future. Which makes me envious, sure, but doesn’t make them elitist.

lady luck on

I REALLY want the top she has in the first photo!! It’s soooo stilish! Anyway, she’s lovely and it’s great she’s so happy! She looks she is such a nice person!

sflaura on

I’ve never been a fan of Ben Affleck and I’ve never been crazy for Jen’s acting, but I have to admit I’ve sort of fallen for her as a mom. Every interview I read with her makes me smile. Like nearly everyone else says, she just seems like a sweet, normal, down-to-earth woman who loves being a wife and a mom. She’s not snobby or arrogant and doesn’t put on airs – what’s not to like?

Mary K on

I LOVE Jennifer as an actor, a woman, and a Mommy! I saw her in Cyrano on Broadway and she was perfect as Roxanne. There was a curtain problem during that show and she and Kevin were so gracious to actually answer questions from the audience while the problem was being fixed! She is truly like the girl next door! And I come from Boston, so… yeah, she and Ben are perfect!!!!

Speedmuma on

so totally love her! have always really liked her! she seems like a super warm and approachable personality! you feel an extra ounce of happiness when ppl like her do well …they are helping put fwd some right examples for those who are trying to be famous/gorgeous/healthy etc…we need more down to earth ppl/celebrities like her. she has her head on her shoulders!

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