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Army Wives‘ Catherine Bell: A New Season – and a New Baby

04/11/2010 at 02:00 PM ET
Courtesy Catherine Bell

With the fourth season of Army Wives premiering at 10 p.m. Sunday on Lifetime, as well as a baby on the way, Catherine Bell is a busy woman!

The former JAG star, 41, sat down with PEOPLE Moms & Babies to tell us about the latest with her character Denise, her 7-year-old daughter Gemma and her new son, due to arrive in August.

What can we expect from the premiere of Army Wives Sunday night?

Oh my goodness — some intense drama. Very emotional! A lot of things are revealed, which of course I can’t say.

We had several big, big cliffhangers last year, so a lot of questions are going to be answered in the first episode, right off the bat. The aftereffects of what’s happened — I cry a lot in the first five episodes!

Then things start looking up for Denise — she gets back into the relationship with her husband and her friends and starts enjoying life again. Maybe riding a motorcycle again!

We’re a third of the way through shooting this season, so I’ll be filming until I’m eight months pregnant.

You left Los Angeles for Charleston, S.C., where Army Wives is filmed, a few years ago. Can you tell us about the differences in raising a family in each place?

I love it. It was such a no-brainer for us. My husband [Adam Beason] is a writer so he gets to travel with me and we all went together. At first we would go back to L.A. in between, but found that we really were drawn more to Charleston.

It’s such a great place to raise a family. There’s things to do with the kids every single weekend — people are all about that. They’re about going boating and inviting other families along, hanging out in the park.

It’s a more laid-back pace of life. I’ve lived in L.A. my whole life and I’ve never had a neighbor come say hi when we moved in, or bring a plate of homemade cookies or cake. And that happened — three people came over the first day — “Here’s our number if you need anything, if you want us to take your daughter to school — our kids go to the same one…” I was like, “What?! This is so neat!”

My parents just sold their house after living in L.A. for 40 years and moved to Charleston and it’s great. I’m here [in N.Y.C.] for four days and my daughter’s staying with them. I’ve got the baby coming and I’m so glad my mom is there.

Yes, the baby! You have a son coming in August?

Yes, in between my birthday and my husband’s birthday. I’m the 14th and Adam’s the 25th [and I have to schedule a c-section], so somewhere in the middle!

Have you noticed a difference between being pregnant in your 30s versus your 40s?

Totally. Sadly. Yes. I didn’t even feel pregnant when I was expecting Gemma. I was working on JAG, doing 18-hour days and totally fine. With this one, I’m tired, I need to lie down, I need to nap. Definitely different!

The first trimester was hard — I didn’t have morning sickness with my daughter at all but I have with my son. For three weeks I was just nauseous all day, which was brutal. For three months I had this exhaustion that was beyond anything I’d ever felt. It was like, “I’m going to fall over. If I don’t sit down, I’m going to faint.” Gemma’s understanding though. When I really can’t play with her, she’s like, “You’re pregnant Mom. You sit down.” She’ll bring me things — it’s really cute.

I’m dreading [being pregnant all summer], especially in Charleston. The humidity is insane. I’ll be eight months pregnant in July and delivering in August. I think we’ll just need to rent a beach house. I’ll be a beached whale with my feet in the water, drinking sweet tea and lemonade.

What does Gemma think about becoming a big sister?

She wanted a girl so badly. She’s been begging us for a sister for two years. So when we found out it was a boy, I was like, “Oh my God, how am I going to tell her?”

I got a ‘It’s a boy’ balloon, blue cupcakes, blue lollipops, all this stuff. I had her close her eyes and we gave her the balloon. She opened her eyes, saw it and her face just dropped. She read [the balloon] three times and she looked at me and said, “It’s a boy?” and I swear she started crying! I didn’t expect tears!

My husband and I just let her cry for a minute and she said, “I’m so sorry I’m crying, I just really wanted a sister.” I said, “I understand,” acknowledged it and let her have her feelings, and within five minutes she was excited about a baby boy.

She’s so excited. I’m really thrilled, because I hear a lot of kids aren’t too excited about babies coming. She kisses and talks to my belly all the time — it’s so cute. She makes things for him, and has toys set aside that she’s going to share with him. She even said that she might watch Elmo for a few minutes with him. She’s seven years older so I’m hoping there won’t be a lot of rivalry.

What’s Gemma’s personality like?

She is a hoot. My husband has a great sense of humor and Gemma totally got it. She’s funny and sarcastic. She’ll make a joke and you’re not sure if she’s serious, and then she’ll wink at you. Very fun-loving; she’s a very happy girl. Loves school, she’s in first grade and she absolutely loves it.

She’s an adventurous little girl, just like me. She loves going fast — rollercoasters, in the car and on the boat. If we’re just cruising in the boat, she’s so bored. She waits until we get into the open water, sits right in the front and goes, “Woo-hoo!” I’m like, “Yep, that’s my kid.”

For more on Catherine, check out her official Web site or follow her on Twitter.

– Sarah Michaud

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Showing 43 comments

Crystal on

I can relate with Gemma! When my mom had her 3rd baby it was another boy and we were devastated!! I was also 7 when he as born. We sooo wanted another girl!! The second was a boy so it was only fair that the third one be a girl!! No such luck! Anyway, I love my brothers more than anything and feel very blessed to have two younger brothers to look after and have protect me!!! :)

klutzy_girl on

I can’t wait for Army Wives tonight! I hope everything goes well for Catherine, her husband, and Gemma!

T. on

I live in Charleston and everything she said is so true it is an AMAZING city to raise a family.

Sheri on

I know exactly what Catherine means about moving to a small town and loving it: my husband and I also moved from the L.A. area to our small town here in Washington 13 years ago ~ and we would never go back now to L.A. for anything. People are warm, giving and friendly ~ my car broke down the first month we were here and I had 8 people stop on the side of the freeway to help me! I wish Catherine and her family God’s blessings for them and the new baby :)

Luna on

I was worried my first born, a boy, would be devestated when he found out his new sisters, the twins, were BOTH girls when he wanted a boy, but I was shocked because he was thrilled! He’s a great big brother and now he has a baby brother, so he got his dream in the end. You never know. I’m glad Gemma came around.

Nina on

My second oldest daughter could definitely relate to Gemma when finding out the sex of her impending sibling. For both pregnancies, she was absolutely sure she’d finally be getting her little brother and with each pregnancy, we had to announce that she’d be getting sisters. She CRIED and, especially the second time around, refused to even acknowledge the baby. We’re lucky because eight months ago, her friend’s mother welcomed her second son so she relishes anytime spent with him so, for now, she can play substitute sister to the little guy.

Luwanda on

I enjoy watching Army Wives and I look forward to the new episodes coming up. Best of Luck to Catherine Bell and her family.

Sarah M. on

I don’t live in too small a town, but it’s nothing compared to L.A. or larger cities. It’s perfect for me! I went to a small town in Oklahoma for a funeral of a friend, and EVERYONE pulled over for the funeral procession but 2 cars, both with out of state plates. A school bus, deliver van, everyone. I was shocked. That doesn’t happen too many places anymore! It’s amazing, the differences between large cities and small towns.

Tacheryn on

I marked my appointment book as soon as I knew when Army Wifes would be back! i am so looking forward to watching tonight along with some of my friends!

ann on

I totally was laughing at the idea of her daughter being a speed-demon like her mom. Catherine is so awesome and the show is really good!! LOVE it!

Millie on

I am so happy to see this show return. Having lived during the WWII, I can relate to some of the happenings on this show. It will be very interesting this year!

Elizabeth on

Good luck with the new baby and I can’t wait until tonight’s show!!!!!!!!

daniela on

Catherine seems like a cool, down to earth person. I live in Atlanta and would love to move to a smaller town like Charleston or Savannah, places rich in history but with a small town, homey feel. Hopefully one day when the economy bounces back! :)

Catherine Crehan on

I am so happy for you Catherine. May your life always be filled with happiness.

Alexis on

Beautiful lady in and out and underrated Hollywood talent. The best thing about her is her inner beauty and love-respect for people. Im glad she was successful in Jag and now Army Wives. I would love to see a Jag movie though because she has amazing chemistry with David James Elliott.It was just unbeatable and a gem. Harm and Mac 4ever~:0

Rose on

Grats, Catherine. Love your show. I found out that I am going to be a grandmother in August also around the 10th.

shellly on

congrats to catherine and rose! watching army wives now :) i wish i could hug all the jeremeys in the world. I can see why catherine said her character will be crying a lot.

Sherron on

I love Catherine Bell, I have been to Charleston several times and it is a beautiful place except for the Hurricanes! And of course you have to be rich to live there!

CelebBabyLover on

I wonder why she has to have a C-section? Has she ever said whether she had to have a C-section with her daughter (I know a lot of doctors won’t allow VBACs these days)?

Terri on

I must say the picture of Catherine above is so beautiful. I missed the entire last season of Army Wives but was a fan of years 1 and 2. I enjoyed the reaction of Gemma, poor lil thing, yet the tears showed honest disappointment but I’m sure she’ll be a good big sister once he arrives. Very nice her parents left and moved to be close to them.

Roko on

This girl is a real Beauty!

ally on

Sarah M.; do you mind me asking where in Oklahoma the funeral was? I lived in Oklahoma for most of my life growing up and it definitely has a “small town” feel, even if you are in a “big city” like Tulsa or Oklahoma City!

Marsha on

Love this article. Gemma sounds so sweet. She’ll be a terrific
big sister. Congrats to you and your family.

Julie on

I just knew someone would question the scheduled c-section…

CelebBabyLover,
there are many reasons why c-section is preferred, why she needs one is none of our business.

Wilma on

Wish I can lifetime too because my cable has none of it. I really hear good reviews for the show. I wish more blessings for Miss Bell. Truly a class act woman.

I know I will make do for a Harm and Mac movie anytime.

Jill on

I would not blame her morning sickness on being around 40 and pregnant or any of her other symptoms. Each pregnancy is different. I also hear with boys you can have morning sickness more because of the higher testostrone. I had my second girl at 40 after years of infertilty. I was just fine and had no morning sickness and it was also an easier pregnancy and the labor was a lot easier too! My 7 year old daughter was thrilled she got the baby sister she wanted. Felt bad for Gemma. Does anyone know if she had infertility or they just planned the age difference? There are good things with the age difference I am finding such as the lack of sibling rivalry and competition and having a good mommy’s helper. They already love each other and really have a special bond.

Yoldie on

I love the show, I have it recorded can’t wait to see it after work today.I would also love to see a Harm and Mac reunion. Congrats to Mrs Bell and her family.

ninou on

I read somewhere, that she was going with the C-section, so they can choose the day.

Kristen on

I love Catherine Bell (CB) as we her fans call her :) Charleston is indeed very gorgeous as I had the opportunity to visit their awesome city (the Battery is AMAZING). CB and Adam are very sweet and kind people who are always very gracious with the fans. As for the c-section, my sister in law had it planned w. her next 3 kids after kid #1. Gemma really does sound like a hoot (I think that is the Southern accent comin out from CB :)). I know what Gemma is going through-my nephew wanted a brother and instead has 3 sisters! LOL. I think he did cry too actually-it must be hard for the kids. Anyway I am sure Gemma will be an awesome big sister! Congrats to the Beason family on adding a lil one again! :) Look forward to Army Wives this season-for anyone who missed it last night WATCH IT-CB’s performance was AWESOME (as usual) :)

FC on

Gemma sounds like such a fun girl — a little hoot. Adorable. I’m excited about this new baby, and it’d be cool if her character on Army Wives ends up expecting again. I’m all about some good drama.

CelebBabyLover on

Julie- I honestly wasn’t trying to criticize her. I’m just curious is all! :)

ninou- I hope that’s not the reason! Not only is that, IMO, a horrible reason to schedule a C-section, but scheduling a C-section does NOT guarantee that the baby will arrive on the day you chose! I am living proof of that (and I was born exactly one full week before the scheduled C-section date, and five weeks shy of two weeks prior to my due date)! :)

That being said, maybe the C-section is medically neccesary, and I don’t want this to turn into another C-section debate. Congrats to Catherine, and I hope for a healthy baby for her, however he arrives! :)

Shelia on

I love Catherine in everything she acts in. I especially lived Jag. Her and Harm had a thing going on acting in that show. I looked foward to seeing it every week as I do Army
Wives. Stay strong Catherine.

Sharon on

I totally know how she feels. I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter in the Savannah, GA hot summer and gave birth at the end of August. It was miserable. I don’t miss Georgia’s summers. I love living in the Pacific Northwest now.

I miss watching JAG and I loved Catherine Bell. Unfortunately I never got into watching Army Wives. Sorry. Maybe I’ll try to watch reruns sometime.

Alma on

I love Army Wives it is one of my favorite shows, I cry so much when Dennise was left all alone. She looks so sweet and innocent I just love her role.

Steffi M on

I miss JAG and the Harm and Mac Duo. Will there be a reunion movie? Would love to find out how things turned out for them. As an Enlisted Marine, I enjoyed wathching her portray a Marine Officer for which she did very well. I moved from Michigan to Georgia thinking I was going to bring my family to a small town and receive some southern hospitality …nope. Maybe I need to move further south. Many Blessings to her and her family.

Jubellant on

So happy for Catherine and her family. I am always inspired by her positive, honest, interviews. I love how she values her family and am glad that her Mom is once again close by. Love Catherine’s sense of humour too! Gemma sounds like a gem! Thanks for the excellence you bring to all of your projects CB. From JAG, to AW to the Good Witch movies. You are also so appreciative and kind to your numerous fans. You ROCK!!

Julie on

I’m from Charleston and my family still lives there. I’m so glad that this show is filmed there and gives me a touch of home. It is a great place. BTW, I’ve heard from friends that have met her in Chas. that Catherine Bell is one of the nicest people around.

Ciara on

Wonderful article! I really love how Catherine is so communicative with her fans. It really just makes us love her even more. I really loved her reaction to neighbor’s dropping by with cookies and whatnot after they moved in and offers to take Gemma to school. Keep us the great work Catherine, we love all that you do and look forward each week to seeing more of you!

Camille on

I’m so happy for Catherine !!! :D

Sarah M. on

Ally – I don’t mind you asking at all. :) It was in Tishomingo, Oklahoma.

Janice Watson on

I am so happy for Catherine Bell and her family! My husband and I were blessed with four children, all grown now. We now have five grandchildren. All I can say is, enjoy them every minute. They do grow up quite fast. May many good blessings come your way! I certainly do enjoy your talents and beauty. Thank you for sharing with us.

Beauty on

I love, love, love Catherine Bell as Denise. She is really amazing and beautiful. She seems like a really calm person and she handles frank perfectly in Army Wives. I’m so happy that she had a new baby boy! I bet she was really excited. I don’t know what the show would be without her. The story she tells really touches me. I don’t think there is one time I don’t cry when I think of Jeremy dying. I wonder what season six has to offer us. I can’t wait for it to start especially since I now have everything in HD. I get to see Army Wives in perfect picture. As a customer and employee of DISH I high recommend you get HD free for life with DISH. I hope season 6 comes out soon because I can’t wait to see Denise again.

Amanda on

Apparently when you become a mother you think your child is sooo funny! I plan to have kids so so i guess I’ll prob feel the same way lol

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