Holly Marie Combs Dishes on Life With Her Boys

09/17/2008 at 08:00 AM ET
Courtesy Holly Marie Combs

Actress Holly Marie Combs is one of our favorite famous moms here at CBB, and when she called us recently to share stories about her sons, her new Lifetime-TV pilot and the possibility of a Charmed reunion, we couldn’t have been more excited! Read below for more on Holly’s life as a mom to Riley Edward, 23 months, and Finley Arthur, 4 — and her terrifying battle with postpartum thyroiditis.

Click below to continue reading our interview with Holly!

CBB: Hi Holly! What are you up to?

Holly: I’m in Vancouver shooting this pilot, Mistresses, forLifetime, and I’m without my kids for the first time! I’ve never beenaway from them for this long. I made the decision not to bring them:Riley came down with an ear infection two days before we were supposedto leave, so he couldn’t fly, and I was very upset about that. AndFinley was just in so many four-year-old activities, like summer schooland karate, that we couldn’t take him out.

I was forced to come up herewithout either one of them, and it’s so weird to me! My husband [DavidDonoho] sends me pictures of them on the playground, and they lookyears older to me even though I’ve only been gone a matter of days!

How do you balance your career with motherhood?

You never feel like you’re 100 percent at either one. I don’t everfeel like I’m the best actress I can be or the best mother I can be. Myhusband is very supportive — he wants me to work, but understands Ialso want to be with the kids. I would consider leaving acting formotherhood, I mean, we all want to be financially secure and want ourchildren to be secure forever. But life passes you by, and it’s reallyhard, at ages 1 and 4, to pick them up and bring them on location withme.

Would you support your sons if they wanted to go into acting?

I would steer them away from that career path. Personally, I have nothing to fall back on, and that creates a weird ambition that you have to be good at acting because you can’t be good at anything else. I wish I had gone for my degree — that acting wasn’t this be-all-and-end-all. If they were interested in acting, I’d be sure they’d wait until they were 18, then learn something else, as well.

So how are your sons?

They’re great! Finley is so dramatic. I think it’s somewhere genetically in our blood! My grandmother said I used to throw temper tantrums when I was little, too. When I delivered Finley, he was instantly complaining. I could tell from his cry — he was thinking "It’s too cold!" or "It’s too bright!" — I was immediately comforting him.

When Riley came out, he opened his eyes and smiled at me, and I went, "Oh, where did you come from?" He’s the angel-sweet baby, whereas Finley woke up all the time when he was little. Riley sleeps through the night, luckily. My doctor said, "If all babies were like Riley, people would be having them every day."

Where did their names — Finley and Riley — come from?

My husband and I are both Irish, and so are the boys’ names. I learned of Finley from an Internet print-out on Irish names. I thought it was too different for my husband to like, so I never really mentioned it to him. We were visiting with Alyssa Milano‘s family — they live in my neighborhood — and I decided to give David the list, hoping he would see the name, and he did! All of a sudden he suggested Finley — I kind of made it seem like it was his idea all along, haha!

Riley was a name I always wanted, but David wasn’t as into it, although he did end up letting me choose the name anyway.

How do the boys interact?

Finley, as a baby, was so excited to have a new baby. But once Riley turned 1, Finley was like, "Wait a minute, this kid is taking my toys! I’m sharing things I don’t want to share with him!" Now, though, he’s past that point, and has brotherly love. He’s figuring out that he has a role to play in this little one’s life, which is touching. He tries to pick Riley up, though, and I discourage that!

They’re boys, so they need to get outside at least once or twice a day. We have horses, so they turn them out before they ride them…and sometimes, I feel like I have to turn my children out before we play! There’s lots of ball-playing and soccer in this household.

Do you plan to have more kids?

I go back and forth every day. One day, I think it would be great, the next day, I’m like, "Am I kidding? I’m so tired! These boys kick my butt!" But I do want a big family — I was an only child, which inspired me to have a family in the first place. When you go through life moments — marriage, parental illness — it’s probably nice to have someone there who’s known you your whole life, so you can go through those transitions with someone who understands you. Life as an only child can be a bit lonely, and when I had Finley, I decided that if I could give him a big family, I wanted to as much as possible.

Courtesy Holly Marie Combs

Are there any products you and your sons especially love?

Riley LOVES Elmo! In Vancouver the other day, Elmo came on TV and I got so excited, even though I was alone. I’ll turn on the TV sometimes when the boys are gone, and without even realizing it I’ll have a kids’ show on the screen.

I use Weleda lotions with Riley too — they’re all-natural and you can get them at Whole Foods. They smell really good. We also use special diapers with him, but it’s almost time for him to start potty training.

Ooh! Any tips on that?

For boys, it’s almost easier because you have "gizmos" that you can use, like targets in the toilet. That makes it more like a game. Finley was good about it, and I was always just conscientious of leaving the situation up to him. I’d check with him before we left the house, and after he ate, so we didn’t have a lot of accidents that would give him a complex about the whole thing. I tried to make it as easy as possible for him. Boys like to be like their dads, so the dads absolutely have to be involved in the process because they have the same parts!

You’ve had some health issues surrounding your pregnancies — are you willing to talk about them?

When I was 24 I had a fibroid the size of a baseball. It was during the first season of Charmed, and I had no idea if it was a cancerous tumor or what. I had surgery to remove it; luckily it wasn’t cancer, or else they would’ve had to remove everything — organs included. I hadn’t really thought about having kids at the time, but once the choice was almost taken away from me, it was heavy.

I met my husband a year later, and we were together for four years before we felt ready to try for kids. I figured from my surgery and scar tissues, I might have a rough time getting pregnant. But we were really lucky, and it happened more quickly than we thought. Because of that, though, doctors have warned me about having a third child — I’ve had two C-sections already, and with all the scar tissue, it’s a lot.

You also battled a condition postpartum, right?

After my second pregnancy, I was diagnosed with postpartum thyroiditis. It’s where your immune system basically attacks you. When you’re pregnant, your immune system naturally slows down a bit so you can carry the baby, then it amps back up after pregnancy. Mine amped a little too much, and attacked my thyroid.

People thought I had postpartum depression. I was really tired and run down, so I thought maybe it had to do with having little kids and a job. But I was also suffering from hair loss, dry skin and other symptoms. I knew something was going on, but didn’t know what it was. It actually made me really sad — I thought I wasn’t keeping up well with motherhood.

I finally had some blood tests, and doctors realized what was really going on. I was put on medication, and it took a year to get the balance of medications jut right. It was tough. I’d get muscle fatigue and cramps, so I wouldn’t want to be active, b
ut the more you sleep, the worse the condition gets. It’s uncommon, but goes undiagnosed quite often — I know some women who have gone 12 years undiagnosed, and would put on weight and suffer these symptoms, thinking it was just their fault. I think every gynecologist should warn women that this can happen, and test for the condition at postpartum check-ups.

Thyroid disease runs in my family, so I had my levels checked vigilantly during my pregnancy, but never after, until I had the symptoms. Luckily, most women recover in a year; unfortunately, I did not, and will be on medication for the rest of my life. It’s funny, because I hadn’t even taken an aspirin throughout my pregnancy, so getting used to these medications was tough.

Tell us about your current project for Lifetime, Mistresses.

It’s based on the BBC show, and the pilot will air next summer. It’ll become a series if it gets picked up, as a companion piece to the show Army Wives. I play the mom of two young boys, and it’s funny because they’re not MY boys — it’s weird to play someone else’s mom! We have a really good group of girls up here; they’re all dedicated and all sweet. I’m working with Brooke Burns, who used to be married to Julian McMahon, who worked on Charmed. Last time I saw Brooke, her daughter was a baby, and now she’s about 8 years old. There’s nothing like children to let you know the past has jumped time! We swap mothering tips constantly — we hang out because all the other girls are single and engaged, young and happening. We’re the two moms on-set.

Speaking of Charmed, is there a reunion in the works?

If the script was right, and all the girls were available, we’d absolutely do one.

So you all still talk?

Yes! Rose [McGowan] and I went to lunch after I had Riley, and she asked if I was still working out regularly. I said, "Are you kidding me?!" So Rose sent me her trainer! Only a really good girlfriend would do that. She pointed out my wrinkles, too; as you can see, she’s almost like a sister! Alyssa [Milano] lives in the neighborhood, so I see her out a lot. Shannen [Doherty] I speak to every two or three months; we call to check up on each other. It’s nice — we all spent a very large chunk of our 20s together, and we basically grew up together. We did have a good time on the show, despite all the rumors.

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Showing 76 comments

Kim on

Oh I was just thinking of this the other day!! Thank you so much Holly for taking the time to do this interview and for all the advice! You are a wonderful mommy and a wonderful actress!
A fan for life

Mommy to Alex

Laura on

Holly is one person I could listen talk for hours. I love reading her thoughts and insights and this interview was so touching.

Thanks Holly for sharing a bit of your life with us, cant wait to see what new things come your way and make it to the screen.

Thanks for giving us 8 years of Charmed and everyone involved with it thank you.

Thank you CBB for this opportunity.

Bless your hearts.

Bren on

That little boy is gorgeous!!!

I thought Shannen was a godmother to one of her sons, or was it a rummor?

Nice interview!!

Sanja on

I love Holly! Thank you CBB for doing this interview.

I love the UK Mistresses. Can’t wait to see the US version!

phoebe on

Holly was very open, I imagine the CBB readers are going to give her a lot of kudos for this interview so I hope she comes back to check. I, for one, thought this was a wonderful interview and Holly has shot up in my estimations since I’ve now read about her being so true with her thoughts and her willingness to share about her pregnancy-related issues. Her little ones are so cute as well.

Thanks Holly and CBB, this was a really nice afternoon read!

Kayla on

She is a great actress and a wonderful mom..Her son is Gorgeous!!!

Maud on

Great interview!
Holly is also one of my favorite moms as she is so down to earth. I love the names she picked for her kids too.
Thyroid problems run in my family too and it is not an easy thing to live with. Thanks to be so open and honest about it.

I feel for her to be away from her kids but I hope she enjoys the wonderful weather we have in Vancouver lately πŸ™‚

StΓ©ph on

Thanks Holly and CBB for this interview, it was great!
Her boys are so cute, though we haven’t seen Finley in a while, Riley is a cutie on these pics!

A Charmed reunion would be great!

And Holly, I hope that you get all that you want in life!
If you want a third child, I’m sure god will bless you with it, you’re such a great mom, I can see it from you answers.

And CBB, I really like how you ask the questions, you know, without being invasive and by asking her if she was willing to talk about her health issues, that was very respectful of you and it’s great, because sometimes interviewers are really brutal.

Love Holly and CBB!!

amanda on

I had never seen Charmed until a couple of weeks ago and now I’m addicted! I LOVE being able to watch her on the show and it was awesome to read up on her as well. She is an amazing person and I know she’s a great mom. Congrats on the new show – wishing you tons of success – and also congrats on the amazing family you have!

Clara on

This was a great read. Holly has always been one of my favorite actors, I can’t wait to see her back on the screen!

morgan on

Oh! Fingers crossed for a Charmed reunion. Hands down my favorite show! I’ve battled thyroid problems as well and can’t imagine going thru it with two kiddos bouncing around. Good on Holly for making it work!

Philippa on

Thanks so much for this interview. I absolutely love Holly!

Katie on

What a great interview πŸ™‚ I never get tired of reading anything from Holly. Finley and Riley are precious and I can’t wait to hear more about them. Great to hear that everything is going well πŸ™‚

Nina on

I loved Charmed, it was our favorite show, esp when Shannen was on. My hubby and I made it a part of our sunday night routine. I hope a reunion does happen. Holly is great and I loved the interview. Best wishes to her and her beautiful family.

bria on

So i’m guessing it a “no ” to the charmed reunion…
sad i would’ve totally watched it

brooke on

Aww what a great interview, she seems like a nice person and great mom

Sabina on

I love Holly, I think she’s wonderful, and what a lovely family she has too. πŸ™‚ Thankyou Holly and CBB for this interview!

Asha on

It was so great to read that. I love Holly she is so down to earth and you can almost feel how much she loves her family.

chloe on

i’s great! she’s wonderful but out of all the questions, they were all about kids! NONE OF THE ONES WR WROTE WE ANSWERED! great though i guess LOVE HOLLY!

Skipsie on

Shes seems like a great mother
Loved her on charmed
It’ll be great to see her on this new programme too

ValΓ©rie on

I was soooo happy to read this interview ^^

I really love Holly and I never get tired to see her on Charmed!

So thank you so much Holly and CBB for this interview!

Best wishes to her and her family ^^

Rayan on

Oh this was a great interview!!!!

Thank you SO much Holly for taking your time out and answer questions. I enjoyed reading about it.
And I hope you can see your boys soon !!


Kaley on

I was wondering when this interview was going to get posted! I love Holly Marie Combs and I really enjoyed reading her thoughts on motherhood. Charmed was one of my favorite shows and it would be great to see them do a reunion.

ju on

Great interview, i love Holly !

hey CBB… it’s Weleda, not Wedela πŸ˜‰

Denise on

Awww Holly is just the nicest person. Really appreciate her doing the interview. It’s so nice to hear from her, even though she’s been super busy. That’s really nice of her. And her sons sound like a riot. I love that. They are such cuties.

I also appreciate how open she was. Really nice of her.

tiffani on

wow i love them all and i would lovee a reunion on charmed!!

me on

I have the same thyroid problem as Holly. It was nice to read about her situation. And she soooo hits the nail on the head with doctors looking at other things that cause the same symptoms as postnatal depression. I was diagnosed with postnatal depression when all along it was my thyroid. After a year mine didn’t sort itself out either so I had the radioactive drink but still on meds the rest of my life. It’s lovely to see Holly is so down to Earth and just like one of us πŸ˜‰

Ana David on

Thank you for the interview CBB!
And thank you so much Holly!
I was very happy to read about you and that things are going ok!
Your boys are gorgeous and I think you are a great mom!
Best wishes!
Good luck with the pilot!

Laura on

Thank you so much for the interview, both CBB and Holly!

Your boys are adorable Holly! I’m glad you are going back to work because I’ve missed seeing you on my TV (Charmed repeats are great but it’s not the same!) Hopefully with this job you won’t have to work quite as much as you did when you are Charmed. You seem like a great mom and a great person.

CelebBabyLover on

I wonder if Holly’s surgery to remove the fibriod has something to do with why she had to have C-sections.

I don’t mean to start a vaginal vs. C-section debate. I am just honestly curious if uterine surgery like Holly had tends to increase the risk of needing a C-section.

Marsha Lyn on

I love how candid and open she is in her interview, it’s nice to see celebrities who are willing to talk about real things with their fans. I absolutely adore Holly and she is one of my top celebrities I would love to meet and get to know, she is so down to earth and you can hear her love for her family when she talks about them! I can’t wait to see Mistresses, hopefully it gets picked up for a while!
Good luck on the pilot and enjoy the beautiful weather we’re having here in Vancouver, you picked a fantastic time to be here!! πŸ™‚

Heather on

I love Holly Marie Combs and Charmed! Our 8 year old daughter’s name is Phoebe from the show. If we have any other daughters the names Piper and Paige are in the wings. We’re talking boys names too and Julian is the current favorite for all of us.

Charity on

Great interview! I had this problem as well, but I had a great doctor that knew it was my thyroid right away. I lost 45 pounds in 20 days, had severe hair loss, I was soooo exhausted and I had uncontrollable shaking. I am on meds for the rest of my life as well, but the condition is completely under control. I never had a problem with my last pregnancy, even though I had to take the meds throughout, just at a lower dose. And my 2 month old son is perfect! Thanks Holly for sharing your story! I helps to know that others are going through this as well.

sad on

Boy is Ugly

Joanne on

Charmed reunion it would be greeeeeeeeeeaaaat!!!

New project in Vancouver it sounds good – I’ve been to Vancouver and I think it’s a beautiful city!

Holly- your sons are so cute!
I can’t wait to see Mistresses.
Take care.

Joanne πŸ™‚

Magan on

Great interview! Holly is so down to earth, just like Piper was. I was surprised to hear that she’d been ill after she had Finley. I’m glad that she’s doing better, but it sucks to be on that medicine for rest of her life. She’s such an inspiation! To bad that the boys couldn’t go with her, I’m sure that was hard enough to leave them for a period of time.

I hope that Mistress do well because I really miss seeing her on TV. It’s not going to be the same because of course Piper will be my all time favorite character she plays.

ellie on

i love holly so much and she is just such a great actress and mom

i loved the interview so much it has been such a long time since we heard anything of holly and im glad shes back working and telling us about her kids

omg they are the cutest children i have ever seen

btw thankyou for giving us charmed it got me through so much growing up and i still watch it often today

thankyou cbb as well for the interview it has made my day xoxo

asda on

Your Son is Ugly boy

MH on

~Thank you CBB and Holly for doing this interview. I agree with basically all the other comments. Truly enjoyed this insight into her life. Also glad to learn she is Irish! I could listen to her forever too!
~I have to say those boys are truly lucky to have you for a mom! Sounds like you (and you husband) are doing a fantastic job with them. If physically you couldn’t risk having more kids, there are always other options (like adoption). Anyone would be blessed to be your child.
~I’m very happy for you. It seems you have a wonderful family (and friends) and it is just the beginning. You deserve it!

Marjolein on

Oh My God !! The boys are so cute !! Love them. Like the interview.
Like a few people said, a charmed reunion would be great πŸ˜‰ *HINT HINT*
I live in the Netherlands so I hope you can see Mistresses in the Netherlands too !! I’m excited. Can’t wait to see it.

CBB Thanks for the interview !

jose on

my comment is in spanish
estoy muy contento por holly y sus bebes y claro su nuevo trabajo en el que esta ahora Mistresses espero ademas que se haga la reunion seria grandioso para los fans que claro, se reunan las 4 personajes mas importantes de charmed y bueno claro los demas co-stars esa seria mi opinion desde chile y espero que se haga lo mas inmediatamente posible la reunion de charmed

santa on

thanks very much for this fantastec conv with sweety holly she is realy amazing HOW I LOVE HER!

craig cannon on

you were always one of my favourites on charmed the best show ever please think about a reunion your sons are as beautiful as their mother good luck with the new show craig x

Bronwyn on

Your boys are absolutly adorable! Sorry about the post-partem thing, wish you didn’t have to go through with that. Have a great time in Vancouver. I live in Canada myself and it is a beautiful city whenever I go there. I’ll def look forward to your new show. And of Charmed, im def gearing for a reunion! Any decision regarding a reunion from you or the other girls, i’ll respect it.

Thanks for a great interview i was happy to read it!

ashley mecca on

i am only 14 years old and i have watched Charmed for the past like 3 years i have not seen them all but i like to!! charemed is the bet=st show i ever watched you got me hooked!!

Kelly on

I love Holly!!! After “Prue” died on charmed, well “Piper” bacame my favorite. I would soooo love a Charmed reunion, and it would make it even better if somehow differences can be put aside and have Prue return…Grams and Patty can do it, why not Prue…I hope the powers that be read this and really think hard about a reunion. I was sad to see it end.

Darwin Silva on

I also really enjoy listening to Holly!. and its seems like her Character or a really good caring mom in Charmed,are a pure reflect of her real life as a Mom.
Holly you are awesome

Darwin from Montevideo Uruguay!

Gemma on

is one of your sons in charmed who one of them play

HollysBiggestFan on

This article is great!
It was a lot of fun reading this.
Holy is a very good mom…now and forever. I’m sure!

ana on

well he’s quite cude but I’m pregnant with 14 years old and I woudn’t like my son to be like that.

Maria on

Awesome Interview, thanks Holly for being so open and honest, espescially when it involves something so personal!!

Your boys are beautiful, i’m a regular visitor to your website, and the charmed ones Also lol

well from my family here in New Zealand to yours, we wish you all the best, and really hope there is a charmed reunion with alllll the characters!!!

erika on

i love holly and her sons are very handsome thank you for the interview
good lucky holly i’m your number 1 fan bye

Bryana on

thank you holly for giving us charmed i for one still love that show after its been done for two years.

Lesta Tamplin on

Hey Holly im a huge fan of u r s and charmed r u going to stay in acting i think u r the best actress really u r a really good actress me and my boyfriends been trying to have kids but not happened yet plz email me back or message me back on myspace later lesta

chryz espaΓ±ol on

i really love holly & the charmed sisters.. i watched all the episodes of charmed from season 1 – 8 and its really SUPERB!

holly, you are the best.. really looking forward for charmed reunions!

sarah on

so many sites to charmed . we all want it baq


I would really love to see a full big screen version of Charmed.

Antonia on

It would be awesome to have a charmed reunion. Charmed is/was my all time favorite tv show. thanks for all you hard work. I would love to see more

Tina on

Love ya, Holly! Your “babies” are adorable! Please put in a good word for a charmed reunion! Take care!

amy on

Oh Please, Oh Please, Oh Please do a charmed reunion. That would be absolutely awesome.

Matthew on

I thick you are so hot and cute and i love you.

Matthew on


Matthew on


victoria on

hey holly i hpe you can put carmed back on air. love victoria

Diamond on

Holly you are a great mom and actress!!! πŸ˜‰ And that’s coming from the heart. Don’t let anyone tell you different!! Finely and Riley sound like some cool kids. p.s. i like Elmo too. Love a fan forever LIFE!

Ira on

i love this woman! she is gorgeous and honest and cool. loved Charmed. I would like to see more on Holly, Alyssa, Rose, and Shannen.

Steven Samnick on


I was sorry to hear about Lifetime not picking up Mistresses. My questions are: What other projects do you going or about to happen? Are you considering any roles on the big screen which you may have been offered? Will you continue to mostly do roles in movies that address social injustices and/or are based on true stories? Thank you
Steve (or spiritsas on thecharmedones.com)

Chic on

Great interview!..hope to see all four of you (you, shannen, rose and alyssa) doing charmed again…my sister and i love it soooo much…. we support it all the way…
God bless! to your family and your career…:)

susan on

Holly I loved reading your interview. It’s so good to hear from you and the projects you’re involved in. I am also an only child and know how you feel about having a large family. Hope that I get to see a charmed reunion real soon.Keep up the good work.

Patti on

Thank you for the interview! I love Holly and am hoping for that Charmed reunion! It was the best show and I miss it desperately, luckily for me I have all 8 seasons on DVD!! There is nothing like it on TV…. LET’S HOPE THAT “RIGHT SCRIPT” SHOWS UP AND EVERYONE’S AVAILABLE!

Saamari^ on

Charmed reunion, Love love love the Idea, waiting for it to happen ❀

jaela on

I like love you guys I think it would be fantastic if you guys did a whole nother charmed series or at least an epilogue.whatever im just really into charmed its like the only thing i watch.Question:If you were to start a whole nother series what channel would it be on,TNT,Lifetime,WE tv,or another different channel.

jaela on

fingers crossed for charmed!!!!!!!!

Autumn on

That’s so sweet and I will pray for u and durning the show (I have watched all your seasons and epsiodes) and u did look like u had any problems I love u and who wouldn’t be nice to u your the sweetest thing ever all of u are u all are nice and kind and more your kids are cuter then ever i have a picture of u all for my screen saver and it will never go off i wish u all could do any show together and not for me for all your fans GOD BLESS U ALL and GOD BLESS AMERICA.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Autumn on


Lauren on

I LOVE Holly, but saying “we did all have a good time on the show, despite the rumors!” Holly has contributed to those rumors by making catty comments at Alyssa! She usually stays classy about those things, but I was disappointed at her comments back to Alyssa after she spoke out.