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Jane Lynch: My Greatest Pleasure Is My Stepdaughter

03/01/2013 at 11:00 AM ET

Jane Lynch
Alexandra Wyman/Wireimage

Jane Lynch has a whole lot to cheer about – in addition to having a top-three grossing movie, Escape from Planet Earth, she’ll be making her grand debut on the Great White Way this spring, playing the infamous evil orphan matron Miss Hannigan in the newest Annie revival.

Great news for the star known for playing trash-talking cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on Glee, but it pales in comparison to her real-life role as a stepmom.

“My greatest pleasure is Haden, my stepdaughter, ” Lynch tells PEOPLE recently as she screened her film at The Moms Mamarazzi event in New York City. Lynch voices the character of IO alongside Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba and Sofia Vergara.

“I am surprised how much love you feel and how you would do anything for your children,” she admits since marrying Lara Embry, a psychologist, in 2010.

The Emmy winner, who hits the stage May 16, jokes that “some may say I know a thing or two about playing intimidating authority figures,” but says that she “knows how important love and acceptance is.”

“I am in love and in awe with Haden. I like watching her walk through the world without fear,” Lynch explains. “She happens to be an exceptional human being and one of the most fair, open-hearted, embracing people I have ever met — grownup or child.”

Her brief foray into parenthood has already taught her many things, Lynch says.

“If one week your child wants to be an actor and the next day a fireman, encourage them. Seeing who your kids are as opposed to what you want them to be is important,” she notes. “It’s not up to you.”

– Debra Lewis-Boothman

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Showing 29 comments

Torgster on

Haden is a lucky girl. I love Jane.

jae on

I just want to say I truly love when people are so in love with their step-children. I have two beautiful, wonderful, and amazing stepchildren I get the honor of helping raise and I wouldn’t change that for anything! They truly enrich your life and make everything that much more enjoyable! Proud to be a stepmom!! :)

Ellie on

I think Jane will make a great Miss Hannigan!

Brooke on

What a lucky little girl to have two moms that love her so much. That gave me the warm fuzzies.

K on

Love her.

merry on

Love her comments. Love when step-people appreciate each other just as much as those biologically related.

Stephanie on

My friend, Jesse, is the best father I know, and from day 1, he has always put his now daughter, first. Even now, with his wife being pregnant with their first child together, he has always said that it’s his second child, and his parents have always say that they are excited for their third grandchild. Not once, have they ever treated this girl as anything less than real family. His parents even started a college fund for her, and like many other doting grandparents who are in the position to do so, helped buy her first car. (Her mom was only 15 when she had her).

kim on

i know exactly what she means, i love my 2 little stepdaughters to death. there is nothing i wouldnt do for them. not everyone is the sterotypical ”evil stepmother”, as tv likes to portray…

Katie on

I love my step-cousins so much, and I wouldn’t give up being their cousin for anything. I think that Jane is an amazing person, and I’m sure that she is an even more amazing mom. Haden is a very lucky girl.

Guest2 on

Love her! She’s a class act!

Anonymous on

It’s so wonderful! What an adorable stepmama!

God bless them! on

I too am blessed to have 2 stepchildren that I adore and respect. They have been in my life for 18 years now and the youngest was only a year old when his daddy and I got married. Through them, I learned what unconditional love meant and because of them I am a better parent to our own kids. I am grateful that we have a loving relationship and they view their siblings as siblings, not half siblings. I view them as my older children, not my stepchildren. This story put a smile on my face.

Jane on

I just love her. I don’t know why. The first time I ever saw this woman (I don’t watch Glee), was on the Emmy’s. A person came up to interview her, and as they talked, a waiter came by with fruit on a plate. She broke from the conversation, grabbed a banana, peeled it, and began eating it. Saying she was hungry and hadn’t eaten all day. Just a down to earth, no B.S. personality. I loved it!

myuntidydesk on

Her step-daughter is lucky to have her. I’d like to see Jane and her wife have a child together… she’d be so funny with diaper duty. :-)

Lizzy10 on

How very sweet.

SuzyQ on

Sounds like a pretty smart lady and a great stepmom to me!

Rosefyre on

So very nice to read an article filled with happiness, love and joy. Very refreshing in this world of “celebrities”, to find a mom who values her child and family first.

Kate on

One classy lady…and so flipping funny too! Best wishes Janes!

Anonymous on

I was curious about Haden’s age, so I did some googling…and found out that Lara also has another daughter (and therefore Jane has another stepdaughter) named Chase. I wonder why Jane didn’t mention her at all in this article? It seems odd that she’d gush about one stepdaughter but not the other!

I’m Standing Right Behind You on

Though I don’t watch Glee, I’ve been a fan of Ms. Lynch for some time and find her personality and how she carries herself very down to earth. I wish nothing but the best for her and her lovely family.

Jacksgran on

It seems as though Jane Lynch is the exceptional person. Haden is a very lucky young lady to have two wonderful parents.

Sharon on

It is so nice to hear someone talk so highly about their step child. I know of people who do not get along with their step children, and this is refreshing to read.

Susan on

Yikes. That headline could have been written better. I cringed when I first read it quickly.

JustMe on

I’ve raised my “step-daughter ” since she was 5, and to me she is just as much my child as my biological kids. I have never, not once called her my step-daughter because to me, that seems like it would be making her less important to us. But then again, her birth mother has always been MIA. so there is no political correctness to worry about. As long as there is love, thats what matters.

Kristen on

Jane is a class act through and through! To the person who asked about Lara’s other daughter — Chase — this ought to shed some light: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1332928/Gleeful-family-day-Jane-Lynch-stepdaughters.html

Leona on

This woman has TWO step daughters — one 8 and one 10 years old. Why is she only talking about one step daughter? Not very nice in my opinion. I wonder what her psychologist spouse thinks about this!!

meghan on

According to Jane’s book, Lara and her ex each gave birth–Lara to Haden and the ex to Chase. When the ex left Lara, she promptly relocated to Florida and used the discriminatory Florida adoption laws to her advantage to cut Lara out of her daughter’s life, while cutting off ties with Haden.

Lara fought for her rights, helped changed things for the better for the gay community and now has some visitation with her daughter, but it is a delicate situation and Jane likely doesn’t want to piss off the ex by talking about the kid in the press. The ex seems to have no interest in Haden, so she wouldn’t care if Jane talks about her.

I’m guessing Jane doesn’t get to see the other daughter too often, while she lives with Haden. Try learning about a situation before you judge someone.

Anonymous on

Chase is the biological daughter of Laura’s ex partner with whom she is or had a major custody war over visitation with Chase. The ex partner moved to Florida and took Chase and is now engaged to a man. That’s why you don’t hear about her much. Don’t know how the custody thing worked out, but probably not in Laura’s favor.

Anonymous on

Leona- The articles listing the girls’ ages are from 2010, meaning they’re actually close to 13 and 11 now. :)

meghan- That’s pretty much the same conclusion I came to (that Jane likely doesn’t want to risk making an already delicate situation worse by talking about the older girl to the media) once I read more about the situation after posting last night.

At any rate, reading about the custody drama between Lara and her ex makes me feel sorry for both girls. It had to have been extremely difficult for each of them to lose their other mom, not to mention having to live apart from each other most of the time!

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