Leslie Mann has starred in hit movies such as Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin and voices a character in the new movie Rio, but one of the roles she cherishes the most is that of being a mom. The actress and wife of director Judd Apatow opens up about her struggle with postpartum depression and how she finds the balance between work and family.
I caught up with Leslie Mann for our roundtable discussion after the Hollywood premiere of her animated movie Rio. The actress and mother of two has made me laugh in hit movies like Funny People, not to mention her scene-stealing role as the tipsy girl driving Steve Carrell in 40-Year-old Virgin. In her new movie Rio, she voices the role of Linday, a woman in small town Minnesota who goes on a big adventure with her pet macaw Blu.
Speaking of Blu, we just finished watching her walk the red carpet (or actually, the blue carpet) for the Rio premiere, with her director husband Judd Apatow and their two children, Maude, 13, and Iris, 8, looking poised and adorable as they posed for photos.
During the second part of my interview, she talks about her daughters (who actually were in the movies Funny People and Knocked Up – playing her kids!) and her husband her directed her in those movies. Just like us, she admits that raising teenagers can be difficult, and cites the book Yes, Your Teenager Is Crazy as one of her favorite book for parenting advice.
Interview with Leslie Mann
Tell us one of your favorite things about being a mom?
Leslie Mann: My eight year old loves to cuddle with me. She’s always holding my hand. All day, she’ll catch up to me and hold my hand. She also just loves to lay on me in bed, she’s just really sweet and cuddly and I love that.
Do you find it hard as a working mom balancing your family & your career?
Leslie Mann: Yes, it is hard. It was really hard in the beginning when I first became pregnant it was just such a shocker. I was depressed for about five years, And I don’t know if I really had postpartum depression because back then no one would talk about it. I went to therapists tried to prescribe me medication, but it didn’t work.
I’s say it went on until I was three months pregnant with my second daughter, I was feeling pretty bad. And then, it just lifted. And I remember thinking, is this going happen again with my second one? But it didn’t and it hasn’t yet.
Did you ever have an identity crisis after having your children?
Leslie Mann: Yes, that was part of my experience with the depression. I didn’t know who I was or what I was doing. It took me a really long time to figure out how to be this new person. But, eventually I did, and everything is good now.
Was your husband helpful when you were in that difficult place?
Leslie Mann: He was–he is very good. He’s good in that he stayed home for a couple of months when we had both of our kids. But, I think he probably was going through his own little crisis, you know?
Who’s the good cop, bad cop between you and your husband?
Leslie Mann: I would say it’s probably me. I’m the disciplinarian.
Have you had to deal with any teen struggles yet? Arguing over makeup, clothing choices, etc?
Leslie Mann: My 13 year old is embarrassed of some of the clothes that I wear. She is super conservative. And she loves ’50s music, I don’t know where it came from, but I’m glad.
Does your daughter talk about getting into the acting business?
Leslie Mann: No she doesn’t. But she’s a really good singer. But it doesn’t seem like she wants to pursue it. We’ve had her in musical theater for a long time, and she doesn’t want to do it any more.
Do you have any good parenting advice that you go by?
Leslie Mann: Good parenting advice? Hmm, I don’t know, I feel like I’m just learning. Sometimes, I’m just winging it. It changes from day to day.
Have you ever gotten really bad parenting advice, like somebody was just maybe off?
Leslie Mann: Once, I was on a plane with my daughter Maude. She was screaming and screaming for a very long time. And a someone came up to me said, if you just take a little shiny thing and put it in front of her face it will calm her down. And I just wanted to you know what! [laughs] I just wanted to hand her the screaming kid! In a situation like that, I would go in the bathroom just to give the passengers a break, you know.
Do you have one beauty tip to share, because you have to look good very often in your line of work? I’ve never seen a picture of you where you haven’t looked fabulous. But I know your life must be as chaotic as any of ours.
Leslie Mann: Well, from when Maude was born until Iris was five, I have to admit that I didn’t work much to look good. I just didn’t care and yes, I looked really bad. But then I started to get it together because I decided that I wanted to start working more. And most importantly I started exercising. That helps.
And then, there’s a clay mask that I use, I actually used it today. It’s called Aztec Clay, and you can get it at Whole Foods. And you mix it with apple cider and vinegar. It’s awesome and will give you a nice healthy glow. Oh well, it burns your face a bit. You apply it and it will burn, but it makes your skin really tight & clear.
How often do you use it?
Leslie Mann: I only use it before I have a work event. It helps when I wake up with big creases in my face, a blemish, whatever. It’s called like Aztec Clay. It’s about $5 at Whole Foods.
Do you have a “Golden Rule” that you follow as far as parenting goes?
Leslie Mann: I listen to them, and I am kind most of the time.
Worst parenting moment?
Leslie Mann: Letting my 13 year old daughter watch four seasons of South Park while we were in Hawaii. That’s pretty bad. And we watched it together and the show is not the best content for her age.
Rio stars Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Will.I.Am and Leslie Mann (see below for photo of her animated character, Linda) and hits theaters today, April 15th. This G-rated movie was given the Kids First Seal and was approved by the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media.