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Cynthia Nixon: My Kids Have Two Moms

05/17/2010 at 08:00 AM ET
Courtesy The Advocate

When Cynthia Nixon began dating Christine Marinoni in 2004, the actress made sure it was understood that as mother to Samantha, 13, and Charles Ezekiel, 8, she came as a package deal. Six years later, the family is flourishing.

“Maybe I’m just lucky, but I feel like Christine is so amazing with our kids — because they’re our kids,” Nixon reveals in The Advocate‘s June issue.

“I feel like falling in love with her is part of being amazed at how she makes our family so much better.”

With Marinoni staying home while the Sex and the City star nurtures her career, the family dynamic has grown stronger — a result, Nixon says, of their amazing support system.

“[Charlie's] teachers were just so great about it because they were the first people that started referring to ‘Charlie’s moms,’ which is so lovely, and we really hadn’t done that yet,” she notes. “So Charlie came home one day and he said [to Marinoni], ‘You’re my mommy too!’ “

However, when Nixon began referring to Marinoni as Mama Christine, Charlie started experimenting with a more traditional title of his own. “One morning we’re at breakfast and Christine is in the shower and Charlie says, ‘Where’s Papa?’” she recalls.

“My daughter said, ‘Papa? You mean Daddy?’ And he said, ‘No, Papa! Christine!’ He’d come up with this masculine name for her. It’s gone through a whole series of things.”

And as Charlie’s use of the word Papa had people believing he was referring to his father Danny Mozes, Nixon recalls a time when her son’s barber suggested he tells his Papa to give him a little brother.

“I was just going to let it go — what are you going to say? But I saw Charlie — I saw it land and how he thought about this, and he was quiet for awhile,” the actress, 44, remembers.

“Then he very slowly said, ‘Sometimes I call Christine Mommy.’ It was like Charlie was trying to navigate what everybody’s assumptions about him and his family were at age three. It was so amazing.”

– Anya Leon

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Showing 40 comments

urbanadventurertales on

It’s good to see this family seems to have found their “groove”. Step-family dynamics are always challenging.

Chris on

Papa? It seems like the kid is getting confused.

Angela on

Cynthia described Christine as “a short man with boobs” in the article, so maybe that’s where Papa is coming from.

Hea on

Sounds great to me. :-) I’m not sensing confusion, I’m sensing a kid testing the waters and figuring things out on his own terms, with guidance from strong and loving adults who are his parents.

JM on

how wonderful. i hope this is the future. families come in all formats and it only ever seems to be adults who are bothered by this, kids just accept it.

ariana on

i agree with @Chris, kid’s confused

Emme on

This is just beautiful. I am so happy for Cynthia and her family. I am glad she is very happy with her partner and they are being recognized in the magazine she is the feature of; and she is proud of her life. I wish the best to her partner and kids as well!!! Go Cynthia—she is an inspiration to lesbian moms everywhere!

M on

It’s very easy to say that the kid is confused, just like it’s very easy to assume a lot of other things in life, just because it makes yourself more comfortable to feel confused.
Like it’s said before, the kid is just testing some waters. A lot of families these days are different, so what?
Are you telling me that if a kid has 6 of more grandparents and doesn’t know how to call them by one specific name, that would be bad? No, because it’s just how the family developed. So this isn’t any different.
I think it’s great how Cynthia and Christine are grooving their way throughout their kids’ development.

alice jane on

Cynthia’s talking about when Charlie was 3 years old. It wasn’t that long after her and her husband split up. Anytime a kid’s parents split up and a new partner is brought into the mix, no matter how great the parents are, it’s a confusing situation at first. That doesn’t mean that the parents aren’t doing a good job. But it sounds to me like Charlie was just doing his own exploring of the situation and coming to his own terms with it. I thought Cynthia’s stories were sweet.

Brooke on

I have always thought that Christine seemed like just the nicest person. I think it is wonderful that she loves Cynthia’s kids so much.

Cynsational on

How can the child not be confused? He first has a dad at home with his mom then dad’s gone and now there’s another woman in the home that mom is sleeping with. He probably needs therapy! Parents need to stop exposing their children to adult issues that they are too young to comprehend and think they won’t be affected later on in life. Poor child doesn’t know what to call this woman. What a complicated world we live in that we have to try to explain all this to our children.

dfs on

I agree, cynsational. It’s not that their lesbians, it’s that Cynthia Nixon shacked up with someone else immediately after separating from her kids’ father. That’s confusing for kids. It’s hard enough to adjust to your parents splitting up, but to then add a new “parent” to the mix right away makes it worse. If she was going to shack up with someone right away, fine, but then the kids should have lived primarily with their father for the time being.

izzy on

i totally agree with cynsational. the kid was clearly confused. …..hell, i’m 22 and i’m pretty damn confused with this story.

Kimberlee Chrisman on

confused kids, confusing situation. Where is their “papa”?
This is so sad. No matter how bad people want this to be “normal”, it just isn’t.

Nina on

Brooke Burke became involved with her boyfriend soon after she and her husband divorced. In all posts regarding her I’ve never seen anyone discuss the fact that her two older children must’ve been confused with a new man in the house.

Odd.

Melissa on

I know someone who has a mom and a dad and he called them opposite names for the longest time. He wasn’t confused he was just labeling them cause he thought that was all it was (which it is).
It’s better to have someone in your house who loves and supports you and your family then have someone who you doesn’t love and doesn’t support who you are, be around your kids.

Angel on

Nice way to confuse your children.

Anthea on

I completely agree with Hea. Sounds like a typical 3 year old trying to make meaning from events around him! i don’t think anyone needs to call the shrinks yet!

Erin on

I agree with Nina. There’s a pretty long list of straight parents who bring in a new boy/girl friend shortly after a breakup and those people aren’t scolded by posters typically. I might actually agree about the swiftness of bring a new adult into a kids life, but not because they’re gay. If Christine was “Christopher”, I’m guess a bunch of people would read the story and move on.

B.J. on

Kimberlee Chrisman -
Pray tell, what is “normal”? As a girl who had her first crush at age 6 on my friend’s sister, and as a woman who has never had ANY feelings for men (emotionally or sexually), I consider it to be quite normal. Not everyone is able to fit into the tiny boxes society creates for us from the second we’re born. Try being less narrow minded.

Beats living in denial. Good for Cynthia, living a life that is right for her and her family.

Jen DC on

BJ,

Why bother? No matter how many times you tell someone that their sexual preference came along before they recognized it for what it was (I knew I liked boys by the time I was 3 years old and never deviated except that one time for Professor Meurs with her cute accent and that great microeconomics class she taught), they won’t believe you/accept that.

As far as Cynthia Nixon’s son’s confusion: He was 3 years old. Maybe Christine looked a little masculine to him; maybe in his mind, since his dad was no longer in the picture, he replaced one masculine figure with another one that didn’t quite match. Is this a kind of confusion? Yes, but it’s the same kind of confusion any three year old goes through when one parent leaves at such a young age and is “replaced” in the home with another. It’s completely plausible to assume that he’d’ve called another woman at his father’s home “mommy” or “mama” or something similar to that and THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH IT. He’s clearly over it now.

JM on

nina, best point made in the whole post. dispicable to watch all these people scrambling around for reasons to justify their blatant homophobia. point is, if this were a heterosexual relationship, this would not be an issue here. why are people so threatened by gay people? i’m straight and it would never occur to me to be so insecure about how someone else leads their life…

and as for people referring to it as “not normal”, are we still in the 1950s? so sad people, so sad, and you’re supposed to be grown-ups. i hope you’re not raising kids with that attitude, then perhaps at least your kids will be better members of society than you are. i can only repeat, so sad that we have not come further in this day and age.

amandamay on

JM – it’s not “people” here referring to it as “not normal”, it was one poster (kimberlee chrisman). hardly a huge throng of angry homophobes. i get tired of this “if you don’t agree with what this gay person is doing, you must be a horrible homophobe!!” stuff. EVERYONE is entitled to their opinions/beliefs. that includes gays/straights/democrats/conservatives/whatever. you can’t claim “freedom of expression and thought” for one group and then deny it from another, even if you don’t like what they think/have to say. it goes both ways! personally, i don’t care what people do behind closed doors, gay or straight – and i think having loving people in a child’s life is all that matters (well, for the most part) but i also think it’s wrong to have another man/woman move in immediately after a separation/divorce. not because i’m some closed-minded, prudish conservative (i’m not at all lol), but because i just don’t think it’s good for the kids. take some time. date. the kids need time to mourn the loss of the other parent (as a live-in parent). i have no problem with living with someone you aren’t married to (i’ve done it) but there shouldn’t be a rush to move someone else in to your home (when kids are involved) after such a breakup. and yes, i’d feel the same way if this was a heterosexual couple.

Lee on

@ amandamay , so you are homophobe. Thanks for giving the heads up on that and now we can start to ignore you now.

mamac on

mmmm im not sure what to make of this story
maybe i am old fashioned.. but..
i have a 5 year old.. my ex and i are not together..
and i would not be ok in anyway with her calling my ex’s gf mama
and i would also not be ok with her calling my partner papa.
i also dont agree with her comment saying that they are our kids
no, they are not.. they are yours and danny’s kids.
in every interview i have read about her she always seems to push her ex to the side.

Erica on

The only thing I was confused about is how Cynthia’s ex fits in the picture? In the event that he hasn’t given up his parental rights, if I were him I would be offended by how his role as a parent is being diminished in this article–like he hasn’t been a presence in his children’s life now that he’s divorced their mother. If that *is* what happened, on the other hand, I find it very sad for the kids.

@ Lee, calling someone a homophobe w/ no basis whatsoever is like pulling the race card when it isn’t warranted. The only thing it does is give true bigots a reason to call people oversensitive.

CelebBabyLover on

mamac- There’s no reason kids can’t have more than two parents! :)

amandamay on

lee – wow, you obviously didn’t read my comment thoroughly at all. i support gay rights, marched in prop 8 rallies (supporting gay marriage) and my best friend is a lesbian with 3 kids. so no, i’m not a homophobe. my point was that just because someone disagrees with what a gay person is doing (like instantly moving a new girlfriend/boyfriend in after a divorce) doesn’t make them a homophobe. also i was saying that i’m a true liberal – i actually believe EVERYONE is entitled to their thoughts/beliefs, not just those that i agree with or like.

ericka on

I agree with Nina. There is a very long list of celebs who go from one guy to another *cough*Kate Hudson*cough* and no one ever brings up how that will negatively effect her son. I think people are being overly sensitive because shes a lesbian. It doesn’t sound like hes confused to me it sounds like hes trying to figure out the best way to describe it for OTHERS who don’t understand it or don’t want to understand it. We all gotta label things in our lives so others understand, hes just little and isn’t quite sure how to go about it.

dfs on

Ericka, Kate Hudson didn’t move in with another man immediately after separating from her son’s father.

misterkrista on

Amandamay – I’d hate to be your gay friend. I’m sure they’d wince at hearing you announcing how much you aren’t a homophobe by talking up all your gay friends. Too many jerks have used that line before, and it doesn’t mean anything. Homophobes can have gay friends and racists can have minority friends, and saying that just makes you sound guilty.

There is absolutely nothing in that article about how quickly Cynthia Nixon started dating after she split with her kids’ dad. The idiotic comments people made don’t have anything to do with that, so I don’t get why you are defending them.

Kids of straight couples say funny stuff all the time when they are 3 years-old and trying to make sense of things like gender. It is homophobic to imply that “the kid’s confused” because his mom is gay, and it is wrong to imply that parents who don’t conform to standard gender roles (who are not all gay) are messing up their kids somehow. It is okay for people to be different. That kid is lucky to learn that early on.

Lauren on

I don’t see anything alarming about Charlie’s reaction to Christine at all. His parents had just split up, his mom had a new partner, and that partner was a woman, challenging his notion of what a family should be. It makes perfect sense to me that he would try to make sense of the situation by referring to Christine as a father figure, especially since she is a far from feminine woman. Clearly he’s fine with it all now, which is the most important thing.

As for amandamay getting attacked in yet another post- amanda, I agree with you 100%. JM’s spiel is to “scream” tolerance at people, which consists of having a meltdown whenever someone says anything that might slightly deviate from what she thinks and throwing out buzz words like “sad, pathetic, homophobe, bigot” to justify her rants. It’s best to just ignore her, annoying as it is. I know from your previous comments that you are not coming from a homophobic place at all, and I’m sorry you have to deal with the hateful people on this site who try to hide behind a fake tolerance parade. Drives me insane.

amandamay on

misterkrista – man this site sucks! ALL i was saying in my original post was that people need to let other people speak their minds. period. i have NO problem with cynthia nixon or how she lives her life. i was responding to OTHER PEOPLE in this comments section stating that cynthia nixon moved her new partner in immediately after the break up. if she didn’t do that, then fine. i was merely responding to the info other people here were stating. i NEVER said anything about the “kid being confused” or “confusing gender roles”. i have a son who wears dresses, sparkly lip gloss and heaps of women’s jewelry to school (at the age of 7) and i don’t think he’s “confused” about gender roles or anything else. he’s awesome and perfectly perfect the way he is. we’re a “gender neutral” household. jesus. i give up. the people on this site are rude, condescending and most don’t bother to read all the posts before shouting their negativity at others. and i had to try to defend my lack of being a homophobe as someone else was accusing me of horrible things. better i say nothing, right? whatever. i’m over this grade school crap.

amandamay on

hmm i just re-read my post and the sentence “and i had to try to defend my lack of being a homophobe as someone else was accusing me of horrible things.” doesn’t make much sense. i meant to say that i felt the need to defend myself from the “homophobe” accusations of another poster.

Lee on

@Amandamay, you ARE a homophobe. Sorry to break it to you this way but right now you sound like Pat Robertson.

amandamay on

@lee – well, you just proved my point about people on here. and PS – i’m agnostic.

CelebBabyLover on

Lee- How do you know she’s a homophobe? You don’t even know her! I usually agree with your comments (in fact, I admire you for often having the guts to say what I’d like to but DON’T have the guts to!), but this time you’ve gone too far, IMO!

CelebBabyLover on

And no, I’m not a close friend or relative of Amanda’s. I would have said the same thing to you if you had made that comment about any other commentor on this site!

kaye on

I hate it when people don’t actually READ the comments before they write an abusive comment in response. As I scroll down the page its like watching a car accident happen. I feel for you amandamay, I actually read your comments. Sometimes it is best not to say anything. Some people just want to fight.

tam on

Hey, I am gay..Give amanda a break ppl. lol
She’s not critisizing the homosexuality, she’s critising the speed at which Cynthia jumped into a new relationship

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