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How Christina Applegate Stays Healthy and Happy

The actress dishes about 'Anchorman 2,' parenting, and self-esteem.
By Lauren Paige Kennedy
WebMD Magazine - Feature

Raised in Los Angeles by a single mother, comedic actor Christina Applegate, 41, remembers feeling the same pressures we all face growing up: trying to fit in with other kids while also forging a healthy sense of self.

Applegate, who returns next month to the big screen in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues with funnymen Steve Carell, Will Ferrell, and Paul Rudd, says she was never the type to chase after the popular crowd or adopt fashion fads. Quite the opposite: "I was the kid at 13 whose head was shaved," she says. "I wore thrift-shop clothes and Doc Martens, and worked that whole vagabond-hobo look."

That's not to say she didn't sometimes battle doubt. "I've never met a girl who hasn't struggled," she says of the female penchant for picking apart personal imperfections. "Seems to be a universal part of our development."

Even with California-blonde good looks, and with the success of her late-'80s hit sitcom, Married...With Children, under her belt -- plus the rabid male fan base that came with it -- Applegate had to work hard on her own self-esteem when she was younger. 

"I remember being around 20 years old, and I still didn't feel so comfortable in my skin," she says. "A girlfriend of mine, who was a few years older, said: 'Trust me. You're going to -- all of sudden! -- be in your skin. You just will, and all of that [anxiety] will go away.' And she was right. I did feel like: I am who I am. I don't care what anyone thinks. That was a great moment when I realized it."

These are refreshing words coming from a woman who's been performing since she was a baby -- the television and film star landed her first commercial at 5 months -- in a town famous for shaking the confidence of many a head-turning beauty. And while Hollywood is notoriously hard on child stars, this is one actor who's managed to segue seamlessly from youthful roles to top-tier status with her humor, sense of style, and self-esteem fully intact.

Applegate on Parenting

These days, the mother of 2-year-old Sadie - with musician husband Martyn LeNoble, of Porno for Pyros fame -- takes care to cultivate a strong streak of individualism in her daughter. It begins each morning with how her toddler dresses herself for the day.

"Self-esteem is something you as a parent want to instill in your kids, to be an individual," she says. "That's what it was for me [when I was younger], when I finally felt like I was following no one. And Sadie is such an individual! I don't make her wear anything. Sometimes her outfits are ridiculously awesome. Some are ridiculously ridiculous and beautiful. She'll insist on wearing two differently colored shoes to school. She insists on the blue one and the green one. And I'll say: 'Great! Do it!' I love watching her be independent."

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