Evangeline Lilly Has ‘Been Through the Wringer in the Adoption World’

12/29/2014 at 01:00 PM ET

The glitz, the glamour, the fame — none of it has ever impressed Evangeline Lilly.

In fact, the actress, who chooses to live out of the spotlight at her Hawaiian abode, can easily envision herself pulling the plug on her career after each project.

“I’m a bit delusional, but every time I do a job, I think I’m retired,” Lilly, 35, tells Ocean Drive magazine of her disdain for Hollywood.

“I love it for a time. I love the entertaining and to see the lights and the shows and enjoy the restaurants and see my friends who I never see, but there’s an emptiness that settles in very quickly. There’s no nature. There’s no trees.”

She adds, “Then some project comes along that just lures me out of my false sense of retirement, and I end up going off and shooting it.”

Evangeline Lilly Ocean Drive magazine
Warwick Saint for Ocean Drive magazine

But over the years, Lilly has found a way to make all of the work worth it. She concentrates on what truly matters: her partner Norman Kali, a production assistant she met on the set of Lost, and their 3½-year-old son Kahekili.

“I spent a lot of time in the clouds. Becoming a mother has really helped me put my feet on the ground and given me a very powerful sense of self and a powerful sense of priority in life,” she explains.

“All I have to do is see my son to do that mental check that says, ‘Is this really important? Do you really need to be doing this? Do you really care?’ It helps put everything in perspective when things get stressful or when there’s a demand or pressure on me.”

Lilly says, “At the end of the day, it’s our family, it’s being a mother and a partner and seeing love all around.”

The couple plan to expand their family further, although The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies star admits they’ve been dealt a difficult hand in adding another child to the mix.

“What I wanted originally was six kids. I frickin’ love being pregnant. I’m one of the lucky women who just had a blissful pregnancy, but I wanted to adopt four,” she shares. “My partner and I have really been through the wringer in the adoption world and it’s hard, so we’ll see what happens.”

But she’s not willing to give up hope quite yet. “Life is magically beautiful and it brings you what is perfect.”

Evangeline Lilly Ocean Drive magazine
Warwick Saint for Ocean Drive magazine

Lilly’s laid-back approach to a second child mirrors her views on marriage. Although she is not against tying the knot with Kali, she’s waiting for the right moment to make it official — and admits it may never come.

“Every other 16-year-old girl wanted to look at bridal magazines; I could not have been more bored with the notion,” she recalls. “I have an American son and an American partner, so marriage might logistically make sense at one point.”

She continues, “My partner is a stay-at-home father, so if he wants to be on my health plan, or tax-wise, or maybe on paper we want to have our I’s dotted and our T’s crossed, but emotionally neither of us really feels the need for it. We love each other today, and we hope we’ll love each other tomorrow. In my world, I don’t believe in forever promises. I don’t think it’s realistic.”

While the pieces to her personal life continue to fall into place, Lilly will keep bouncing between acting — including her upcoming movie, Ant-Man and her other growing passion as a writer.

“Believe it or not, I’m not kicking back and drinking piña coladas in the shade when I’m not working on an acting project,” she says of her first children’s book, The Squickerwonkers, and deals for a graphic novel and a second novel based off one of her scripts.

And when Hollywood calls, Lilly will be ready to answer — even if it means a trip to the concrete jungle.

“There are a lot of things that used to be frustrating to me that aren’t so much now,” she says. “It’s just a mind-set of, ‘It’s my job.’ That’s why they pay me the big bucks, because I can do that, because I can continue to be charming even when I want to punch you in the face.”

Evangeline Lilly Ocean Drive magazine
Warwick Saint for Ocean Drive magazine

— Anya Leon

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Showing 36 comments

Lana on

Her son’s name is Kahekili Kali? Seriously?

megan on

the last thing she needs is an adopted child. she has a reputation for cheating on current partners and bounding off with whoever she cheated with

moi on

what a hateful comment megan, evangeline was many years with dominic monaghan and since her lost days she is with the same guy since 4 years, the father of her son. obviously u are naive enough to believe dominic’s ridiculous accusations. last time i checked him he was molesting girls on twitter. next time try a more reliable source than this poor ex who is still bitter that she left him.

Unimpressed on

Typical EL, hates the attention her “beauty” brings her but just can’t fade away. She never fails to provided a snarky interview…ever.

Lyl on

I love her honesty very much. I agree with her on her marriage views, the only thing what I don´t understand is if she doesn´t enjoy acting that much, why doing it.

Lana – I think her son´s name is Hawaiian as his father is Hawaiian as well. So they might not find it as weird as you do.

Anonymous on

megan- That doesn’t necessarily mean she’s a bad parent, though (if it’s even true. You can’t believe everything you read, especially when it comes to Hollywood)!

Lyl- It may be that she doesn’t have much of a choice. Just because someone is an actor doesn’t necessarily mean they’re super rich. My guess is that’s why she’s starting to explore other projects, like writing books- so she can eventually earn enough money to retire from acting for good! 🙂

Anonymous on

She says she doesn’t believe in forever promises- yet she had a child, which is pretty much the biggest forever promise you can ever make (you are basically saying that you are willing to love, protect, and care for someone for the rest of your life!). I don’t get it!

Ala Lemon on

What does having an American son and an American partner have anything to do with marriage?

Paige on

Glad she is honest about herself and plan to adopt since so many orphans need to be adopted.

Dawn on

She seems incredibly well centered and self-aware. Wow! I Loved her on Lost and appreciated the fact that she didn’t end that show and throw herself into any project that would have her-I’m sure with the residuals she probably wouldn’t even have to work–she’s not living it up on Hollyweird after all.

Anon–I think it’s a very natural, much easier love a person has for their offspring than you have for a partner or spouse. We have very little “choice” to love our child(ren) when they hurt us or let us down or disappoint us, which inevitably they will do. If any other person does that one too many times, we’d cut them from our lives. Children ARE forever and I think she realizes that difference for herself. And let’s face it, today’s divorce rate does too 🙂

Pat on

She sounds like a narcissistic jerk. Like she has too much time on her hands and has just self-analyzed herself to death.

Wellllll on

She sounds really delightful and positive….crickets….

KellyGreen on

Pat….yes, perfect way of putting it!

Jo55 on

Her comment about her partner and child being American is important because she is Canadian. I imagine her not being married could present some issues.

leane on

Classy & sexy. Refreshing.

Edie Faylor on

Why are you glamorizing unwed parenthood? Marriage is the bedrock of society, without it you have chaos, kids with issues, etc. Maybe if you have lots of money it doesn’t seem relevant but in the real world, nothing is better for kids than a mom and dad who will raise them in loving care. All this shaking up and having babies only to break up a few months or years later is not the way it was meant to be.

Amanda_M87 on

To Lana: I think Kali is the boy’s nickname and Kahekili is his given name, though I could be wrong.

Duane Johnson on

It’s irritating listening to celebrities speak about having and raising children as if it were supposed to be the latest existential challenge. Humans have been doing this for thousands of years, and so why should their completely self-absorbed comments be some kind of bright, new path?

In addition, their relative amounts of wealth, privilege, and leisure make their bedraggled talk about coping sound obscenely empty when compared to what real working parents face.

karen on

Tomorrow, Tomorrow I won’t love you Tomorrow because it’s a day away

Andrea on

@Edie: a child will always have a mom and a dad regardless of the parents marital status. You don’t need a piece of paper to provide a loving home. And being married doesn’t guarantee the relationship will last. Divorce rate is above 50%. More and more parents are stating to opt out of marriage and their children seem to be doing just fine. As long as the parents are committed to each other, commit to putting their child first, and share parenting responsibilities, they shouldn’t have a problem providing a loving and stable home.

Connie on

Look up pretentious in the dictionary and you’ll see a photo of her next to it. Wow adoption agencies haven’t just left bundles of joy on your doorstep for you to parent?! Gasp!

Momof four beauties on

This article was incredibly annoying on so many levels!! Obviously I don’t know her, but from a few interviews I’ve read, she always seems like she’s trying too hard to sound reflective & intellectual….& it comes off as narcissistic & boring.

CJ on

She comes off very selfish and unlikeable in this interview. She thinks very highly of herself and doesn’t seem to value others much. Of course she doesn’t believe in forever promises when it seems she’s cheated on nearly every man she’s been with.

... on

Love ya Evi.

Kate on

Beautifully said Edie Faylor!

laura on

As an adoptive mother, I find it disrespectful when celebrities talk about adoption like its an easy option or the “next best thing”. it is much harder than having a biological child and it doesn’t end when the adoption has gone through. I know adoption is different in the usa to the uk but this selfish up her bum actress needs to think before she speaks and maybe keep some things private

Kay on

She seems like a wonderful mother, but certainly a pretentious actress. I mean that whole statement about her skill of being charming while wanting to punch you in the face earns her the big bucks was so narcissistic.

Also I did notice that Kahekili Kali was quite the tongue twister, so I thought maybe he had been given her surname until I realized Kahekili Lilly was actually worse. You couldn’t have just picked a different name?

Turner on

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the Canadian Gweneth Paltrow…I am Canadian and have met Evangeline on multiple occasions, let’s just say she is one difficult woman.

Uh...DUH! on

You are wrong, Amanda. Kali is the last name of her son and her BF.

Gorgeous girl but I’m still not liking the short hair on her. (as if she cares what I think! lol)

Pam on

Gosh she’s annoying!

Carrow on

Something about her is so off putting….

She has been saying she’s going to retire since Lost and yet she’s still here. Seems that a part of her loves what she loathes.

Anonymous on

laura- You must not have actually read the article. She said very clearly that adoption is hard and that she and her partner have been having a very tough time doing so!

M on

On the contrary, she sounds intelligent and realistic. But leave it to the harpies on this site to completely twist every word she says.

Nally on

Her son’s name is Kahekili? Ridiculous name.

Donna on

The baby boy name Kahekili is also used as a girl name. Its pronunciation is KAA-HHeh-KIY-Liy- †. Kahekili’s origin is Hawaiian. The name is of the meaning thunder. Kahekili I was the 13th king of Maui island, 1710-1794. I like the name and it doesn’t matter if anyone else does but his family. They live in Hawaii so it might be popular there.

Anon on

Lilly comes out of the woodwork every now and again when she’s been cast in a high-profile role and gives these interviews in which she seems to be the poster girl for grace, forward-thinking, and modesty, but is actually starting to show quite a track record for being utterly self-righteous, unintelligent, hypocritical, and painfully unaware.

Not too long ago she admitted that as a young woman she’d pray to God to make her unattractive because she was apparently so gorgeous men wouldn’t stop ogling her. If she hated being attractive, I’m wondering why she took up film and TV acting at all (or why she continued this pursuit to any degree if she happened to “stumble” upon acting, or something), as Hollywood is an industry that flagrantly objectifies women, n’est-ce pas?

She caused a stink a year or two ago when Women’s Health mag featured her on the cover of one of its issues with her backside facing the camera (she was wearing boy short panties or something similar). She apparently didn’t appreciate being objectified in such a way. Yet, she very recently shot a spread for Esquire in which she’s in lingerie, and one of the photos is of her with — oh, take a guess! — her ass to the camera. I guess it was okay with her this time because …?

She also very recently made some completely ignorant and inarticulately negative remark about feminism. She’s “too shy” to be in more films. And of course, she claims that she doesn’t chase after roles; she simply waits for filmmakers to come to her — as though she were some sort of highly sought-out and famed actress with an extensive repertoire.

Just before the holidays she declared on some talk show interview that she’d be dedicating herself fully to being an author … because she’s clearly found her true calling after writing her first children’s book and managing to get it published, no doubt by making good use of the heightened exposure she got solely thanks to Peter Jackson et al and the Hobbit franchise, after several years of having almost completely fallen off the media’s radar.

She’s not even in the media much and she exhausts me with her ingratitude and excessive self-assuredness. Her PR people need to start tightening their reins and tell her to put a cork in it stat.