‘Fierce Mama Bear’ Mira Sorvino Says She’d Die for Her Kids

09/17/2010 at 04:00 PM ET
Jeff Vespa/Getty

Warning: Do not get between Mira Sorvino and her kids.

The actress says she’d do just about anything to protect her three little ones — daughter Mattea, 5½, and sons Johnny, 4, and Holden, 15 months — with husband Christopher Backus.

“I would die for my children. I would kill for my children if someone were trying to hurt them,” the actress, who plays a mother in her new film Like Dandelion Dust, tells PEOPLE.

“I have become a very fierce mama bear, and I’d lay down my life in a heartbeat if it could save theirs.”

That maternal instinct is something she easily tapped into for her latest role as woman struggling with the consequences of her decision to give up her newborn son after her husband goes to prison.

“I have three beautiful children who I love more than anything else in the whole world, so anything having to do with your children and potentially losing them is very, very personal to me,” says Sorvino. “I didn’t have to do much to get to the emotional place [of my character].”

Sorvino’s real life is focused on being a mom and wife — and she is loving every minute of it.

“We’re very, ‘Let’s get up and go. Let’s have an adventure somewhere,’ ” she says of her family. “We drive a lot of places and have done probably every kid-friendly activity that there is in Los Angeles.”

She can’t help but gush that her kids “are really wonderful, wonderful children. They’re so loving and bright and cute and funny. I just treasure every second I have with them.”

To balance her home life with her career, the actress takes movies that have short shooting schedules and often brings her kids with her to movie sets, carting along “quilts and colored Christmas lights and art supplies and books to help make it a home away from home.”

Though she admits to sometimes feeling “exhausted” by the demands of work and motherhood, Sorvino, 42, also gets great pleasure from her work.

In Like Dandelion Dust, hitting theaters Sept. 24, her character and rehabilitated husband, who’s been freed from jail, try to reclaim their son who has since been adopted by another couple.

Though the subject matter is gritty and highly emotional, Sorvino says she’s received positive feedback from wide-ranging audiences at screenings, something she says is about “the universality of the love of children” that is at the forefront of the film.

“This is may be the one movie I’ve done that has an ability to touch everybody,” she says, “and I’m as proud of it as anything I’ve done so far.”

— Marla Lehner

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , News , Parenting

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Showing 72 comments

Mallory on

Um this isn’t meant to be rude, but I don’t know ANY mother who wouldn’t die for her kids. Isn’t that kind of a given for respectable parents, lol?

Julie on

I was thinking the same thing, Mallory. I don’t think I know any mother who wouldn’t lay down her life for her children, myself included.

Elizabeth on

Umm, yeah. As would every other mom I know. Perhaps a different headline would be better for this story.

Luna on

Yeah I agree. I would lay down my life for my children in a heartbeat. It’s nice to hear that Mira loves her kids too. When I told my priest I was pregnant with my first child, he quoted the saying, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” 🙂

allie on

My first thoughts exactly. Seriously, how does this make her different than any other mother? Her tone is so self-righteous. And she “treasures every second” with her kids? Be real. We all adore our children, but mothering is tough work and oftentimes really really dirty work.

jessicad on

I agree with you guys, but haven’t you said this very same thing to friends or family members? She’s just chatting about her love for her kids, she didn’t say she was the only one who feels that way.

Kelly on

I love how neatly her “fierce protectiveness” for her children coincides with a new character who happens to feel the same way….

helen on

What good will you be for your children if you’re gonna die or go into jail? Best thing to do is to always stay safe and use common sense.

Jill on

I agree with all of you….CBB could have picked a better heading for the story and perhaps…..a new picture? This one is about 15 months old. I have seen more recent pictures of all of them. What is with this site posting the same pictures over and over and old ones?

iz on

if you sweet women haven’t noticed this article is about MIRA SORVINO, not YOU. everybody has a right to talk about whatever they want, and express themselves in any tone they want. who cares if what she’s talking about is a feeling everyone else has too? this article is about HER, so obviously she’s going to say what she wants. you’re all pathetic. seriously.

Sarah on

While all of you may be willing to give your life or take a life for your childs, do not be some naive to think every mother would. Both of my parents told me that they wouldn’t die for me..i wasn’t worth it. Not all children are lucky to have such devoted parents

Kristin on

Jill whenever I see your name on here you’re always complaining about something. Surprised you keep visiting this site since you seem to have so many problems with it.

I have to agree with Iz. WTF?

Luna on

iz- What an incredibly unkind thing to say, even if you thought it. You can state your opinion nicely, and still get your point across. Your statement is accurate. Mira can say whatever she wants to. But we certainly don’t deserve to be called pathetic.

Sarah- I’m sorry that you’re parents felt that way. I’m going out on a limb here and assuming you are a nice person, and I feel badly that your parents told you that you weren’t worth it. If I am interpreting your comment wrong, please forgive me. 🙂

Sharon on

I agree wholeheartedly with Sarah. Not all children are lucky enough to have parents who care about them, let alone would lay down their life for them. I think it is a beautiful sentiment for her to express. Someday her children could read this article and see how their Mom told the whole world exactly how she felt about them.

Kara on

I agree with Iz … when did this article become about anyone else other than Mira Sorvino? Pretty sure CBB wasn’t interviewing the rest of you … so let it go. There are only 24 hours in a day. Go spend it WITH your kids …

FC on

There was nothing wrong with what Mira said. Heck, after what I’ve seen happen to some children in the news lately at the hand of their so-called parents, it’s just nice to be reminded that there are many hidden gems of parents out there still, with positive stories to tell.

Jill on

Ummm, I am entitled to my opinion, just like you. And did you ever think there may be more than one Jill that posts here?!? Not every post made by a Jill is made by me. I make plenty of wonderful comments on this site.

Me on

Wow! When I read the article, I thought that at least no one can take issue with this sentiment. Then I started reading the comments and realized that some people will find offense with anything! How sad.

Jill on

I have no problems with what she said, I just think it’s an odd title. Regardless, it is an opinion and we all should be able to express them.

Daniella on

I got to agree with Sarah. Unfortunately, there are many parents out there who would put themselves before their children. My mother may not be this way, but my father definitely is & often told my brothers & myself when we were younger that we weren’t worth the air that we breathed, cost way too much money & that his life/happiness always came before us. Thankfully, our mother is far more similar to Mira than our father in this regard, but there are a number of parents out there who are of the same philosophy as my father. Far too many people who shouldn’t/don’t want children have them & then treat them really badly/cruelly as a result.

meghan on

It’s amazing what the people on this board choose to complain about. I wonder if people would be posting such negativity if Angelina Jolie had said this. I doubt it. More like “Oh, Angie’s such a great mom!”

Maybe if more people felt the way Mira does, we wouldn’t such a need for social workers or the foster care system, or hospital units that detox drug addicted babies. There are a lot of people who care more about their own pleasures then the well being of their children. I was lucky I had a Mira mommy myself. Not everyone is so lucky.

Jennifer on

Seriously, some of you women need mental help. You’re going to bash a mother for saying she is fiercely protective of her children??

ditto everything meghan said!

kim on

Um, that’s not being a “fierce mama bear.” That’s being a mother. A lot of celebrities seem to gain an even greater sense of self-importance as soon as they have children. It like they’re collectively saying “oh, you wouldn’t understand. You’re not a mother. And even if you are, I have found more depth and meaning in motherhood than you have. Let me tell everyone about it.”

Steph on

so many foolish ladies on here…the woman did not say she was the only one who felt like this..and in case you are unaware, Maggie Gyllenhaal said virtually the same things when she was promoting her movies…gee what a surprise, an actress relates her current role to her own personal experience…how dare she!

carrie on

Dude. Jealous much? Can you say “transparant?” Worked with unloved kids my whole adult life. Have three loved ones at home. One more great role model is one more great role model.

SAR on

What a beautiful family! Those kids are all cute as buttons.

abbey on

I am really happy that Mira has such a sparkleigh little life. This is one of those articles which grates on me “Loving every second of motherhood.” Puurlease. Haven’t we all had times where we’ve wanted to put them back.

Man she is super-mum if she does seven days worth of 5:30am starts, works, cooks and cleans and STILL feels that glittery about it all. Not taking anything away from her – she’s lovely and has a beautiful family, but these articles which paint a perfect picture smack of insincerity.

Shahnaynah on

Met her about three years ago at Mango on 3rd street….her daughter dropped a toothbrush (!) so I picked it up and handed it to her (not realizing it was Mira Sorvino) and instead of saying “thank you for picking up my daughter’s toothbrush”…she just snatched it out of my hand and gave me a dirty look. R-U-D-E

CelebBabyLover on

kim- But sadly, not all mothers are “fierce mama bears”!

Erin on

Saying you’re a fierce mama bear is cliche already. Any sane person, any person ready and willing to raise children feels the same way. To verbalize it is to politicize it. You don’t need to say it to prove that you’re good parent. (Unless you’re shamelessly promoting a project. Or a political movement. *cough cough*, Sarah Palin)

Emmy on

Mira sounds like a wonderful caring mother, so lovely to hear her speak about her children and that she feels like most of us mothers do, very protective of our children and would give our lives to save their lives.

Sarah B on

I def agree with Sarah – not ALL mother’s would die for their kids… My step kids mother most certainly wouldn’t. She let them watch her try to kill herself – among MANY other things, their well being doesn’t cross her mind… We have full custody and I would give my life for those kids. Don’t be so quick to judge others. I bet all of you have said this one time or another. She was being interviewed and asked questions about her kids. I would brag about my love and devotion to them too. I would rather her say that and be a good mom than see/hear some of the other things I see in everyday real life. I wish people could be more understanding and loving towards everyone.

Julie on

Agree, Kim. I think we would agree that the ‘minority’ of mothers wouldn’t sacrifice all for their kids. I have to say so sorry to those who haven’t had that experience as kids, and I wish it had been different for you, but would we agree that the majority of women who give birth put their children first? That said, I don’t see how a celebrity proclaiming something that most women feel quietly and with their whole hearts on a daily basis is newsworthy. Sorry.

kim on

I agree. But those people don’t deserve the honour of being called “mothers.” There’s a big difference between breeding children and being a mother.

Manon on

Kristen and Iz: why so agressive?

I think you are missing the point that posters on this FORUM (look up the definition of the word if you are not sure) has a right to exercise their right to an opinion, especiall a politely worded one.

Kristin: bad form to personally criticise another poster. Singling her comes across as rather bullying in tone. Apart from being slightly creepy somehow.

And heck : Mira IS self righteous!

Manon on

Kim: great posts!

Michelle on

I cannot stand self-righteous women who love to make nasty comments and then hide behind the phrase “I am allowed to express my own opinion”. Yes, you are, but that doesn’t give you the right to be rude.

Freedom of speech is no excuse for bad manners. Did your mother really raise you that way? I hope you don’t pass that lesson along to your own children.

Me on

Mira is self-righteous for stating her opinion? But isn’t that the right of everyone? Or only people who agree with you?

Callen on

If she is right and every mother would die for her child… then what was the point of questioning why she would say that? Alot of readers on this site can be puppets and I have to say that the first comment set it off. Lets appreciate what Mira said. There are many children who have parents who wouldn’t die for them, and thank you sarah for pointing that out. We should be supporting not judging. I have 3 children and I love them dearly and I WOULD die for them, I appreciate that Mira is supporting many of our beliefs. Im not complaining!:)

Stacy on

I find it interesting that she’s talking about protecting her children, but she’s letting her child scream his head off in the picture just so they can get a shot of him in his crib. What’s up with that? If she cared that much, she would have said, “Hold on guys, let’s take five while I calm the baby down”. In my opinion this picture speaks more than her words.

Mira on

Where do you people live? In war-ravaged countries or in countries where there’s famine? Why all the talk about dying? I’m sure all of you live very sheltered protected lives, so in fact you have no clue what you would do in a situation where you might need to decide life or death situations. Don’t be so quick to make such huge pronouncements. Especially, since you don’t have to.

The other part that irks me about this whole “I would die for my kids” bravura is that many of you probably let your kids “cry it out”, because you need your sleep or don’t breastfeed, because it’s too much of a hassle or leave them with babysitters to go have fun and other small things where you actually could sacrifice your needs for theirs. So all the swearing about how you’d lay down your life for them rings particularly hollow in the context of all the “mommy needs time for herself too” posts, which abound too on different threads.

Janey on

She might be stating the obvious, but it is good to see someone publicly validate the importance of motherhood.
And I know a lot of women who would put their husband first and their kids second.

Stella Bella on

Yeah, I’m with the crowd that’s irritated with this post. I’ve cut Mira slack in the past, but something about her statements just rubs me the wrong way.

haleiwa on

I’ve heard more than one non-celebrity woman say this exact same statement, but suddenly a celebrity utters these words, it’s deemed baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. Go figure. And, clearly she expressed this sentiment while discussing her portrayal in a rather emotionally difficult role of a mother who has to give up custody of her child. It’s not like she just blurted it out of the blue without context.

Mira has a lovely family and it’s nice that she enjoys being with her family on and off the set. But I’m sure it will be twisted into something bad. How dare Mira enjoy her children, when other people can’t stand to be around theirs! Gotta love sanctimommies.

meghan on

Stacy, do you realize how fast a baby can start bawling out of nowhere? A shutter clicks at a split-second moment and it can look like the baby’s crying is being ignored, when in the next second Chris and Mira could have both been tending to Holden. Also, he could just as easily be yawning or sneezing, it’s hard to tell.

Erin, women have been calling themselves “Mama Bears” long before John McCain unleashed Mrs. Alaska on us and they will continue to do so long after she is nothing more then an obscure historical reference. Nothing political about it.

I’m just floored anyone would have a problem with someone saying they love their children. Not to mention carry on like anything this woman says about her children or motherhood is in any way a comment or criticism over your feelings about your own kids. Grow the hell up.

CelebBabyLover on

Stacy- Holden looks fine to me in that photo. To me, it looks like he was either just waking up, starting to yawn, or was just startled by something (his hands are out to the side, which suggests that he may have been exhibiting what’s known as the moro reflex, which is a newborn’s response to being startled.). One thing he’s NOT doing is screaming his head off (believe me, I’ve seen enough pictures of screaming babies, and been around enough of them, to know what one looks like!).

I highly doubt Mira would have allowed the photoshoot to continue if Holden was truly in distress!

CelebBabyLover on

To the people who took issue with Mira saying she “treasures every second” with her kids……What is she supposed to say? “I don’t treasure every second with my kids?” If she did that, she’d get blasted by the media for it, and branded a horrible mother!

Unfourtnately, when you’re in the public eye, you can’t always say the absolute truth.

Michelle on

“Mira is self-righteous for stating her opinion? But isn’t that the right of everyone? Or only people who agree with you?
– Me on September 18th, 2010”

I did not say Mira was self-righteous….I was referring to the sanctimommies on here criticizing her comments and then hiding behind “I have a right to express my opinion” when called out for being rude.

mrscabrera on

maybe she never thought she’d have kids or could have kids so she is really cherishing all the time she has with her children..i know my husband and i are having a bit of a tough time conceiving at this point and I know once we are successful,I don’t even know how happy I would be. even though it might seem cliche for her to say that but maybe that explains how she feels exactly…

anonymous on

Come on… I think you added the littl tag line about don’t come between her and her kids to stir things up.

I could have sworn I read something quite similar about Mira S saying the same thing. Maybe this is an end of summer repeat? Ha.

Golfinggirl on

I used to be a Mira fan until I rain into her while running errands in Sants Monica. She is so incredibly rude and has a sour disposition – I was smiling and waving at her youngest child (something I often do when I see all babies and toddlers) and if looks could kill……

I’ve run into Giada and Tiffani Thiessen (they are sweetest and most down to earth mommies). I had read another article where Mira mentioned that mommies shouldn’t work. Well some mommies don’t WANT to work but HAVE to.

Tee on

I understand that whole “Momma bear” instinct but let me point out that you don’t have to be a Mom to feel that way. It really bothers me when poeple assume that only a mother could feel that way because it’s just plain old not true. I have five young nieces and I feel that way about them. In fact, I’ve put my life on the line for the (now) six year old and didn’t think twice. It didn’t even dawn on me that I almost died until my family told me. For the mothers out there that assume it’s a “Mom” thing, sorry.. you don’t have to be a Mom to have a deep and natural maternal instinct.

I apologize if my comment comes across as rude or defensive. This is just one of my “push button” issues.

gdfg on

Tee, you also don’t have to be a female.

Jill on

Tee, I agree100%! I hate when people say well when you become a mom then you can speak or something like that.

Daniella on

I agree with Tee & especially gdfg, mothers (and females) are not the only ones who are capable of possessing such powerful feelings towards children. A 15-year-old boy who lives down the road from me ran into the street & in front of a car to save his 3-year-old little cousin who had somehow wandered down the driveway. The older cousin was able to grab the boy & get him out of harm’s way by a hair’s breath, but I have no doubt that he would have died for that toddler if it had come down to it. It’s not at all unheard of for other relatives, friends or even complete strangers to sacrifice their lives to save a child.

shan on

good god, these comments are some of the most PATHETIC i’ve ever read on here. this poor woman is just excited to talk about how much she loves her kids and this what comes back?? so, so, so sad. and by the way, open your eyes. not every mother feels this way or would give their lives to protect their kids… abused, neglected, and abandoned children are all around you. find a hobby or some other cause worthy of your condescending, bitchy attitudes because mira sorvina is not it. not that she cares what any of you think anyway.

nina on

I like people like Mira. Unlike many ‘nobodies’ whose daily outfits, favorite eating places and going ‘far-over-the-board’ behaviour have been widely discussed as if of any significance, here we see a real human values of a talented actress. It makes me feel good when I see that there are indeed desent reasonable people in the industry and I willingly contribute to their income. The difference between the two is like between ‘a woman and lady’.

Lulu on

Wow….seems like a lot of people that read these interviews are forgetting that the subject of the article IS BEING INTERVIEWED AND IS ANSWERING QUESTIONS. I doubt very highly that Mira Sorvino woke up and decided to contact People Magazine to tell them she wanted to do an interview so she could erroneously give her opinion on various matters of parenting. Hmph!

Brocklee on

I don’t understand why everyone is harping on this article. it’s a celebrity baby blog where celeb parent’s talk about being a parent. So they say something that is hopefully the sentiment shared by many other parents- why is she self-righteous for that? She was interviewed and asked about being a mother and she answered honestly. Not once did she say “I’m the only one who feels this way”. She shared one insight into her being a mom- yes you may all feel the same way but why does it make it any less significant or refreshing to hear? Perhaps the world would be a much better place if people embraced nice comments instead of harping on people because it’s not an “original” comment. And while you’re all entitled to your own opinion, it seems to me the ones who have been rude here are more self-righteous than Mira who simply stated a fact. Perhaps she never realized until she had children just how much she would love them and so for her this is a powerful statement?

Karry on

This whole argument back and forth seems so crazy. Everyone is trying to decipher “what she meant” and “what it means”. And how ridiculous of her to make such a self-righteous statement about a natural motherly instinct, is it really worth the argument? There is an exception to everyone’s viewpoint; yes-adoptive parents, step parents and even grandparents often share the same sentiment and the flip side is natural parents, step parents and grandparents who abuse, neglect and even kill their children or grandchildren. I am natural mother as well as a Foster mother and I have witnessed first hand parents who regard their children as objects or pawns and it is not a miniscule number of parents it is an epidemic. Drug abuser’s, alcoholic’s and mentally ill parents make up a majority of our population. I think most people’s problem here is that they would like to believe that Celebrities do not have the capacity to care for their children like us “common folk” that they are to self absorbed and their “bragging” like any other parent would do in nothing more than a publicity stunt. Celebrities are just people it is us who put the on a pedestal, they are siblings; children and parents just like everyone else. Grant you there are some who have been jaded by their celebrity or delusional because of their fame “they are the exceptions” but the vast majority are just regular people with extraordinary jobs.

Anonymous on

Oh shut up people. All she is doing is saying what she would for her kids. Stop disecting and overanalyzing everything.

Krissy on

Bravo, Mira! Seems like a wonderful mom and great lady. I’ve always thought her talented and it’s refreshing to see what a great life she lives while working in such a crazy industry.

amanda on

People there some messed up momz out there, i’m from south africa and i’ve read what some of your AMERICAN mother have done to theur kids, and honesty there some mesed up south african momz as well.
so give respect to ALL mothers including Mira and you and i the “everyday man” who would lay our lives on the line for our kids, coz not EVERY mom would do that…

Marie on

Goodness! Do you people not have jobs or children you can be tending to?? Seriously WHO CARES??!??!

pac on

its nice to see an actress who has grown up and been in this industry for so long seem so normal.

colleen on

Wouldnt expect any less from you Doll!!!Love you as an actress-never heard a scandalous word about you!!!You go Mommy!!-your kids are beautiful!!!Every time I need an upper I put in your reunion movie and laugh myself sick!!Thanks again!!!

Tina on

I think what people are trying to say here is that being a fierce, protective parent is an “unspoken” natural instinct. And we’re annoyed that it’s a headline as if she was a special mom above all others. Don’t you people get that. And we’re entitled to express a discontent with the headline as you are to have your opinion. It’s a BLOG.

Lee on

Who cares!! Mira Sorvino and countless other celebrity moms say so much and do so much for their kids. I’m not a celebrity but am a Mom and for me being a MOM comes first. No one writes about us MOMS, so why should I care what Mira Sorvino has to say??

Karry on

Well it seems to me with all these new social networks mom’s are screaming at the tops of their lungs every other day what they do or would for their kids! Facebook has mom’s re-posting all kids of self-righteous, bragging and “unspoken natural instincts” of mothers. Come on people don’t try to say that you don’t post that stuff “From the moment you were born I would die for you” Re-post if you are a mom stuff. We are all guilty of the same things the disconnect is in the pay cheque not the sentiments.

Julie on

Exactly, Tina.

Elizabeth on

Mira was on TBN the other night talking about her new movie. She’s a really sweet lady and the movie sounds wonderful, although probably very emotional. I’ve seen her work before, and I support and admire her, and see absolutely nothing wrong with what she said! I suggest we all see her movie!

Sandee on

NOT EVERY parent would die for their children. I have four sisters and one brother and my mother has always told us she never wanted any of us. When asked why she had us her answer has always been, “Well, that’s what your father wanted.” (He gave us the most amazing military life anyone could have ever asked for.) She has NEVER told any of us that she loves us and has NEVER put her arms around us for a hug.

Unfortunately, my father died in a fire at the age of 41, six months after retiring from the USAF. From that day on at the age of 16, I stepped up and became the mother to ALL of my siblings. Including my one older sister. At the time of my father’s death I graduated with honors at the age of 16 from high school, (I skipped a year due to an honors program.) I graduated from college at the age of 19, because I over loaded each semester with enough credits to graduate a year early.

No thanks to my mother because I also had to work to pay my own tuition while my mother used MY social security benefits to help support my siblings while I was away at college. I now have a Masters and so do the rest of my siblings because I put each and every one of them through school. Because I never wanted my siblings to suffer the loss of a father and mother I made it my responsibility to always be there for them. My own grandmother always tells me that she hopes I don’t die before my mother because our family would go to hell in a handbasket. I am now 50 years old and because I was so dedicated and devoted to my siblings and their every milestone and crisis, I lost a husband and several boyfriends. And I have no children of my own.

I resent my mother like you would not believe and as bad as it may sound I would give anything to have my father still living instead of my mother. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that he loved me and my siblings. To those of you that love your children more than life itself and had a mother that also felt the same way, I would trade places with you in a second.