Monica Potter: Watching Movies as a Family Is Impossible

03/08/2012 at 06:30 PM ET
Peter Kramer/NBC

Monica Potter has a close-knit family — but don’t expect to spot them all together at a movie theater any time soon.

The Parenthood star, 40, says that varying tastes for the screen is the toughest part about having three kids with a large age gap between them.

Ranging from her college-aged Danny, 21, to teen Liam, 17, to 6½-year-old Molly, Potter tells PEOPLE, “What makes me sad is that I can’t get them all to see the same movie unless it’s something we can all relate to. I’ll take Molly to see a movie that the boys are just not into at all. And she can’t watch certain things that they watch.”

Using South Park as an example, the actress admits, “I like that show, I will say that. But Molly can’t watch!”

Even though she doesn’t get to take her kids to the movies, Potter accepts that the time will come when her children will start going to the cinema with significant others.

“I trust my kids’ judgments,” says the actress, whose struggle with her TV daughter’s new boyfriend played a part in the second season of Parenthood. “Hopefully if I’ve done my job the right way, then they’re hanging out with good people and making the right choices.”

“I just feel like if you try to raise your kids the right way — give them room to make mistakes, but also guide them in a direction that you hope to see them go — that’s all you can ask for,” she continues. “You can’t control them your whole life.”

So far, Potter’s elder son is the only one of her boys to have experienced a relationship.

“I loved Danny’s [previous] girlfriend,” she admits. “They’re not dating anymore, but I wish they were.”

But she isn’t solely about being there for her own children. She recently teamed up with Kellogg’s to fight childhood hunger during National Breakfast Week.

“I feel like every kid should have access to a nutritious breakfast,” she says. “One out of five kids is sent to school without a breakfast, and I thought it was absurd that here we are — one of the richest countries in the world — and there are children going hungry to school. Kellogg’s is ensuring every child has access to a healthy breakfast.”

Alex Della Gatta/AP

— Dahvi Shira

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , News , Parenting

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Liz on

Love Monica Potter and love her on Parenthood!

Grace2 on

LOVE her on Parenthood! Best show on television!!

megan on

I’m sure the 17 year old appreciates her telling everyone he hasn’t had a girlfriend yet.

Daniella on

Nothing wrong with not having dated by that age. I’m a few years older than him & a good number of my classmates, friends & myself didn’t start dating until after our high school graduations. I think adults sometimes overestimate how active the dating lives of teenagers are, instead of just looking at each kid individually.

And I feel Monica’s pain on the movie & TV show situation. My youngest brother is 10+ years younger than my other brothers & myself, so many things us older siblings enjoyed could not be watched with him. South Park is still a no-no since he’s not a teenager yet.

meghan on

She didn’t say he hasn’t dated, just that he hasn’t had a steady relationship.

Anonymous on

meghan- Exactly! And she actually didn’t even say that, PEOPLE magazine did (if she’d said it, it would have been in quotes). Now, obviously they didn’t just pull that information out of nowhere, but the my point is that we have no way of knowing if that’s even close to what she actually said. The media twists what celebrities say all the time!

And even if she did indeed say that her younger son hasn’t dated, what teenager out there HASN’T been embarassed by stuff their parents have said (or done!)? 😉

Melanie on

I absolutely adore Parenthood. It’s the best show not enough people are watching! I hope we hear that it was renewed soon.

Her talking about how much she liked her son’s ex cracked me up. My mom was crushed when I dumped my high school boyfriend, I swear she liked him better than my own brother. 😉

Jillian on

I LOVE her character on Parenthood and have been a huge fan of Monica’s for a long time!! What a cute article.

Megan, why are you sure? Many people couldn’t care less about something like that being said. Many teens are concerned with sports, school and friends and not dating.


Hea on

Why speak out like this about her sons private lives? The oldest is an adult in his own right and the 17 year old is just about an adult as well. Show some respect, lady. I’m sure you wouldn’t want your oldest telling media about your relationship and how he’d much rather have his parents together still. IF that’s how he would feel, that is.

Rhea on

It it hard to believe she has a 21 year-old son. I have always thought that she looks young.

Anonymous on

@Jillian. I really, really hope that’s true. I would love to see more teenagers focused on something other than dating and relationships.

cn tower on

I hadn’t heard of Monica until I started watching the show and I think she is a talented, engaging actress. I hope the show gets renewed for another season – with all the cr*p out there these days, Parenthood is the only one I watch on a consistent basis.

Leah on

Her two sons went to my elementary school! Not sure what they were doing in Cleveland, Ohio rather than LA – but they were very nice! It was always cool seeing Monica in the hallways!

mary on

Love Monica Potter and really enjoy her work on Parenthood!

JMO on

Really? I didn’t even bat an eyelash at the 17 yr old not being in a relationship! Who cares. How do any of you really know what her son thinks about what she says about him. He’s 17, a boy, doubt he even pays attention to what his mother says in interviews!

Kathy on

Monica was born in Cleveland Ohio, and still has family there.

Angela on

I was born in Cleveland too (well, Euclid, but raised in Beachwood). She looks great, but she’s only 40. I am 36 and thankful that my three children, although not planned to be born so close in age, are so close in age (4 1/2, 3, and 18 months).

Anonymous on

You know, I have to shake my head at the comments that say Monica shouldn’t talk about her sons’ private lives. Nicole Kidman refrains from talking about her older kids and their private lives (because, as both she and Tom have stated, they have requested that neither parent do so!). But instead of being praised for honoring their wishes, she gets accused of not caring about them and/or abandoning them.

Now Monica is talking about her kids, two of whom are teenagers, and she’s getting blasted for that! Really, sometimes I’m surprised celebs can breathe without people jumping down their throats! 😉

Anonymous on

I also want to add that, for all we know, Monica’s boys have okayed her talking about them interviews. 🙂

JB on

I love, love, love Parenthood ! I’ve watched every single episode every week since the day it started – best show on tv. If it goes away, I will boycott NBC.

Anonymous on

ecl- I couldn’t agree with you more! Not using the best judgement doesn’t make someone a bad person. Or, as my high school prinicipal once put it (after I had used some poor judgement myself and gotten myself suspended for a day), “Sometimes good people make bad choices.” (he wanted me to know that he didn’t think- or want me to think- that I was a bad person because of what I had done, and that he had faith that I would make better choices in the future).

Sarah K. on

I don’t see why her talking about her sons is a big deal. She didn’t say anything bad or embarassing. So what if her 17 yr. old doesn’t have a girlfriend? He’s still a kid and doesn’t really need a girlfriend yet anyways. Besides, teenagers are embarrassed by the mere fact that their parents exist, so if it wasn’t this, it would be something else.

She seems like a great mom who is involved in her kids’ lives, which is more than you can say than a lot of other panrents out there.

Shannon on

All parents embarrass their teenagers. 🙂

whomadeyougod on

She is so pretty – I have to start watching her show.

Her son may date around and just not have found girlfriend material yet – or, maybe he has other more important hobbies – who cares!

She is on a show called parenthood. Therefore,she probably got permission from her kids to talk about her real-life role as a parent. She did not say anything that her kids should be embarrased about. Her kids are likely very proud of their mom and she seems very proud of her kids.

Anonymous on

Please ignore my “ecl- I couldn’t agree with you more post!” I posted it to the wrong thread by mistake!