How Cristin Milioti kept a "mother" of a secret

Sep 23, 2013 at 9:10 p.m. ET

After eight seasons, How I Met Your Mother finally found their title character. But she was faced with keeping one big secret.

Cristin Milioti

Cristin Milioti scored the role of the mother on How I Met Your Mother, but soon found out the most difficult part was yet to come. The show had (seemingly) been on only one mission for eight seasons: to find her character. So the role of the mother was a big responsibility, and Milioti was sworn to secrecy.

The actress only told her mom and her boyfriend, but made sure they didn't leak the big news.

"My job and financial future literally depended on it," Milioti said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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When she won the role, Milioti was performing five to seven nights a week in Once on Broadway.

"I flew out to Los Angeles to test on my day off," she remembered. "Everyone from Once was calling me because we had a matinee and I kind of had to tell them that I was going to Los Angeles You’re not really allowed to do that, but I was flying to Los Angeles but couldn't tell them why, that took some trust."

The trip paid off, and she ended up with the part. But after she had won the role, a decision by the cast of How I Met Your Mother almost gave Milioti's secret away, through no fault of her own.

"So many people from How I Met Your Mother came to see the show [Once] and my dressing room stage manager would come upstairs and knock on my door and say Pam Fryman and Josh Radnor and the cast from How I Met Your Mother, are here," Milioti said. "And my cast were like, 'are you testing for How I Met Your Mother?' And I was like, 'I have no idea why you would think that, I’m just friends with those guys and they came to see the show because they were in town.' I was making stuff up left and right. It was definitely really hard and when everyone in the cast asked, 'Did you get that job you tried out for?' I had to lie and say no or that I was still waiting to hear."

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Milioti has been in some other big-name shows, including 30 Rock, and will also be appearing as Leonardo DiCaprio's wife in The Wolf of Wall Street. And, although the 28-year-old actress is still getting used to the world of TV, she has no idea where the show is going to lead.

"We're shooting episode eight right now," she said. "I'm in the dark about how the season goes, but I'm in every couple of episodes. They're really weaving my character through the season, which is exciting, I'm in every other episode type of a thing. So it's not just like you meet the mother and then, done. You get to know her. I'm getting to know her."

Photo credit: WENN