There’s no denying that Justin Hartley has a lot to be thankful for this year. In addition to starring in the massively popular NBC series This Is Us, the actor recently wed actor Chrishell Stause in a romantic Malibu ceremony.
But, let’s be level: It’s been an emotionally draining second season so far for Hartley’s This Is Us character, Kevin, and one can only imagine Hartley is looking forward to the levity of kicking back for some good ol’-fashioned holiday merriment.
Before the eating, drinking and being merry commence, though, Hartley is hard at work on a job of a different kind — helping to keep furry family members like his and Stause’s dogs, Memphis and Gracie, safe from holiday perils. To this end, he has partnered with Royal Canin, a global leader in pet nutrition, to raise awareness about risks and to encourage a diet that supports digestive health.
We caught up with Hartley somewhere between those two seminal roles to discuss any festive forthcoming plans. And while for viewers, this will undoubtedly entail watching This Is Us’ last few episodes of the year and sobbing into our eggnog, we’re happy to report that Hartley’s holiday plans sound far happier than the current state of his TV alter ego.
SheKnows: First of all, congrats on your recent nuptials! These are your first holidays as husband and wife — any special plans?
Justin Hartley: Thank you very much; I appreciate it. So, we’re in New York right now. We’re sort of making it our tradition — this is the second year we’ve done it in a row — where we’re kind of coming to New York for Thanksgiving. It’s a wonderful time to be in New York. It’s very festive, and the holidays are a good time to visit if you’re going to visit during the cold months. But we’re doing that, and then we’ll do a family Christmas with my daughter [Isabella, 13 years old ] and probably open up a bunch of expensive gifts. You know, as kids get older, their gifts get more and more expensive. It’s unbelievable.
SK: I believe you. I have a 6-year-old and a 5-year-old, and I’m already afraid.
JH: Oh, it’s insane — you go into debt. But you know what? They’re worth it. She’s a good kid, so whatever. She gets what she wants [laughs].
SK: Your wife, Chrishell, is a Southern girl, and we Southerners take the holidays up a few hundred notches. Has she introduced you to any dishes or traditions?
JH: You know what? I think I brought a few traditions into it. We do this thing where we decorate the Christmas tree together. I’ve always done that with my family, and so we sort of brought Chrishell into the fold. It sounds really goofy, but it’s actually really cool. We get, like, your favorite beverage of choice, and we blast the Christmas music. My buddy Steve got me this really cool turntable this year, so I’ve been getting a lot of Christmas music on vinyl. And we’re going to blast the vinyl Christmas music — some Bing Crosby — and we’re just going to decorate the tree. It takes a few hours, so it’s fun. You talk and remember things that happened during the holidays and sort of decorate the tree, and you end up with your Christmas tree looking nice. It’s good.
SK: I understand you’re a fellow Friends fanatic...
JH: Listen, here’s the thing about that show. It’s funny the first time you watch it. It’s funny the 10th time you watch it. It holds up. You can put it down for a year and pick it back up, and it’s still funny. I’ve recently gotten my daughter into it, so now I’ve got her quoting the show. I’m like, ‘Wait, that sounds familiar; what’s that from?’ And she’ll tell me, ‘Oh, Ross said that to Rachel.’ So it’s great. Friends is our favorite.
SK: Friends always had amazing Thanksgiving episodes. Who are you most like around the holidays: Monica, Rachel, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe or Ross?
JH: Oh, man! They all have their own little thing. I’m not like Monica really in that — she’s hilarious, but — she would always get so neurotic during holidays and everything would have to be perfect. I’m kind of the opposite of that. But I’m not the opposite to the point where I just don’t care about it. I really do care about it; I just don’t sweat the big things or the details. I don’t really worry about too much except for, like, if my friends have drinks and they’re fed. That’s pretty much all that matters. So maybe a little bit of each? I definitely like to host the party during the holidays, but like I said, I don’t stress out over it… I think I’m pretty loose when it comes to the holidays. I just try to enjoy the moment — enjoy the time off of work and the moments where everybody gets to laugh and have fun and not really care about much.
SK: Sounds like you might be a Joey/Phoebe hybrid.
JH: I think maybe you’re right! Maybe a Joey-Phoebe hybrid. That would be a good one. That’s probably the best combination.
SK: All right, we’re going to wrap this up with a little rapid-fire Q&A, holiday style. Here we go. Pumpkin pie or pecan pie?
SK: Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra?
JH: Hmm, I just bought both on vinyl actually. Those are the first two ones I bought. Oh man, do I have to pick one, really? I’ll go Bing Crosby.
SK: Friendsgiving or ugly sweater party?
JH: I’m not into an ugly sweater party. I don’t really like that. It sounds like punishment — it sounds like you’re trying to torture people and make them look bad. I’m not a big fan of that.
SK: Cranberry sauce or gravy?
So, if we’re going canned, I’m going to go cranberry sauce over canned gravy. If we’re going fresh, I’m gonna go gravy over cranberry.
SK: Best gift you’ve ever gotten?
JH: My wife and I got this turntable from our friend Steve… he knew that I would love it, but he wasn’t sure if Chrishell would love it. So he accompanied the turntable and the speakers and the big, huge receiver with a yellow Beyoncé album. Kinda to make her a little happy about it, and I think it worked. We blasted Beyoncé.