Parenting brings a new set of responsibilities. But, as Natalie Portman happily discovered, there actually aren’t that many rules.
“I’m less judgmental than before I had a kid,” adds Portman, who stars in the upcoming Thor: The Dark World. “The biggest thing I’ve learned is that parenting is a totally different experience for every person.”
And this means that whatever works for any particular mother is just fine.
“Everything is cool, there are no rules — I mean, apart from not hurting your kid,” Portman says. “Some people breastfeed until their babies are 5, and some don’t breastfeed at all. There are no rules about what it means to be a feminist, or a good mother. For some, it’s going to be right to go back to work. For others, it’s going to be right to stop working completely.”
An only child herself, Portman credits her parents with giving her strong values and, just as important, a relatively normal childhood — even though she started acting professionally at 11.
“My parents were wonderful,” she says. “They were completely present, completely loving, they allowed me to do what I was passionate about, and I understand now how much they protected me. I was lucky to act and have a regular household, lifestyle and friends.”
Her parents, Portman adds, “maintained a calm and normal life for me that was far away from movie land.”
Twenty-one years and one Oscar (for Black Swan) into her career, not much can faze Portman these days — although she admits to having been starstruck acting next to Anthony Hopkins in Thor.
“I was completely intimidated,” she says. “I kept messing up lines around him because I was so nervous, and he was so sweet about it. He made me feel at ease. He’d be like, ‘That’s a really hard line to say,’ and I’d be like, ‘No, I just can’t get it out.’ Your jaw drops on the floor watching him. He’s just … man, he’s a giant among actors.”
– Tim Nudd