How Malin Akerman ‘Finds the Silver Lining’ in Divorce and Single Motherhood: ‘I Roll with the Punches’

01/21/2016 at 07:55 AM ET

You can thank Malin Akerman‘s dad for the actress’s sense of sunny optimism.

“You put my dad in a pile of [crap] and he will find the positive in it,” Akerman, 37, tells PEOPLE.

“I get that from him. I think everything happens for a reason. You just figure out why and you find the silver lining.”

And the star of Showtime’s Billions says she’s found her glass half-full philosophy to be particularly helpful when it comes to weathering life’s tougher moments, including the end of her six-year marriage in 2013.

“It was jarring at first,” says Akerman of her split from Roberto Zincone, with whom she shares 2½-year-old son Sebastian.

“It takes a minute to move through the emotions. But there is a beautiful thing about relationships where you grow each other to a point where you can’t grow each other any more.”

Malin Akerman son Sebastian
Jana Cruder

Continues Akerman: “You can’t control life. I roll with the punches. And ultimately, it’s like, ‘Where is the opportunity in this?’ And that’s been a nice way to look at it. Like, oh my God, I get to have so much special time with my son now.”

That includes mother-son trips to New York City, where Akerman films Billions. “He loves airplanes,” she says with a laugh. “And he’s been on sets since he was 3 months old. He’s been socialized from the get go!”

Akerman adds, “I want him to have a joyous childhood. Being a kid is such a special thing. I’m a big believer in discipline and consistency, but I don’t want him to take life too seriously. Of course I want him to have manners and respect, but I also want him to have fun. We have a joie de vivre vibe about everything.”

Malin Akerman son Sebastian
Jana Cruder

When it comes to dating, Akerman says she’d love a partner one day, though for now, she’s not “actively looking.”

Says the actress: “It’s hard because your heart is so full for your child, the next guy that comes along is going to have a lot of competition!”

Malin Akerman son Sebastian
Jana Cruder

Whatever does come, Akerman will, naturally, look on the bright side, even when it comes to a concept oft dreaded in Hollywood: aging.

“I’m so happy to be 37 and not in my 20s anymore,” she says. “I just feel like I really do know myself better than I ever have. I feel very lucky.”

Billions airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.

For exclusive photos and much more from Malin Akerman, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

— Aili Nahas

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Showing 18 comments

Brooke on

What a gorgeous little boy….his hair is stunning

erica2 on

Malin we are in the same boat, so I always feel in tune with your articles. I filed for divorce from my insignificant other when my son turned 9 months. A broken family is not what I envisioned for me or my son, but I am grateful that my lil’ man and I are a dynamic duo and have forged an incredible bond! I too would love to meet Mr. Right but the focus for now is on my amazing son 🙂

Lily on

I don’t know a ton about her, but I’m loving her attitude in this interview. It’s so important for kids to have parents who stay focused on the positive.

Linda on

The “you just grow each other to a point where you can’t grow each other anymore” part. That’s really dumb. It’s something people say to act like they are okay with something when it’s messed up and makes zero sense..aside from the terrible grammar of it. If that’s how relationships work, no marriages would last past a few years. Somebody else isn’t responsible for your growth anyway.

Cali on

None of us will ever know what caused their split, but I feel for her. I can’t imagine having a new baby and then splitting from his dad after so many years together. And she’s done a good job keeping her little guy out of the media. We almost never see him – aside from in this spread.

I wish her the best.

Stella on

Wow Linda. Bitter? That is how she feels. There is nothing wrong with that. Good luck Malin! Everyone deserves happiness

Gwen on

I would be so much happier in my 50s or 40s or 30s or 20s.

Youth…wasted on the youth! Thirty something, nay!

Only a 6 year marriage? I close my eyes and 5 years go by.

Annie on

I do feel for her. Especially because from previous reports it states that HE’S the one who filed for the divorce. As much as it sucks for her, this opens up a new door for her to be happy with someone better and much deserving of her. Obviously no one truly knows what went down between them… it takes two to tango. But if it was a toxic relationship and they didn’t love or respect each other anymore, they’re both better off. She may be a single mom, but at least she can support herself financially instead of being left high and dry by a lowlife husband. At least she’s lucky when it comes to that. If I was her, I’d take a vacation, invest in some therapy and just enjoy my friends and family. Guys will come and go. Nobody NEEDS a man these days anyway.

really on

I have to be honest, I don’t know who she is, however she is absolutely beautiful and her little boy is just precious. And what a great attitude to boot.

Gwen on

The biggest hit she was in was 27 Dresses. She was the sister that stole the Kathrlyn Hiegly’s love interest (boss) away. I just looked at the show Billons which has a very good cast. I guess, I will have to catch up with this one when I am working out.

Kathryn on

Good for Malin! It’s so easy for others to judge but no one has ever lived in your shoes. I’m glad she’s found happiness again. It’s not always easy to do.

edelweisstexas on

“It takes a minute to move through the emotions. But there is a beautiful thing about relationships where you grow each other to a point where you can’t grow each other any more.” A minute huh? I think I’d be insulted if I were her ex!

Anonymous on

Very happy to know she has a positive attitude towards life, good for her to see life as glass half-full instead of half-empty.

Gwen on

Can we stop calling women who get divorced and have children with an ex who pays child support and shares custody “single mothers?” You’re not a “single mother.” You’re a divorcee with a child. And in this case, a woman with an ex who has the child 50/50 and fought her to get it because she was offering less.

Single mothers have no child support, no ex attentive to the children, and do it on their own. To compare that to a woman who collects child support and alimony and shares custody is really icky.

Laura on

So happy she found happiness again, she deserves it.

LilahK on

Kudos to Malin. Always great to think positively as much as possible. Wishing her continued success!

Zax on

Such a role model to think positively in life.

Stina on

Oh thank goodness Gwen is here to define “single mothers” for us. Apparently there are rules. So, Gwen, is a divorced woman who has kids and doesn’t receive child support BUT her ex sees the kids on a regular basis not allowed to be referred to as a single mother? How about a truly (according to your rules) single mom who gets help from her parents. I guess she wouldn’t qualify either, then, as she’s receiving help?

You’re a single mother if you are single, and doing the brunt of the childrearing on your own. It’s not a contest, Gwen, and believe me, nobody gets a prize at the end. Please stop with these petty pedantic arguments. They’re kinda icky.