Chyler Leigh Juggles Acting, Marriage, and Mothering
With three kids and a role on Grey's Anatomy, this actress is always on call.
Chyler Leigh calls half an hour late for her interview,
bubbling over with apologies. The Grey's Anatomy star has spent the
morning keeping an eye on her 3-year-old daughter, Taelyn, who's home from
preschool with a fever. Most moms might not have even noticed the little girl's
slight temperature spike -- a bit over 99 degrees -- the night before. But
Taelyn suffers from febrile seizures, so Leigh must be extra vigilant.
"The first time it happened, I was at home and had no idea what
was going on," Leigh recalls. "Most seizures end after a few minutes, but hers
went on for 25 minutes. We got an ambulance and went to the emergency room, and
she was fine. It was a virus, and the fever just spiked too high too fast. But
it's scary. Any time she's warm, we watch her."
The busy mom of three has plenty of experience managing
childhood health crises. Leigh's 6-year-old, Noah, has logged his share of ER
visits: "He busted his chin on the ground when he decided he wanted to slide
like a penguin. He smacked his head on the ground when he was trying to spin
and got his pants stuck under his feet and wound up with a huge goose egg that
looked like his brains were coming out," she recalls. "Taelyn fell off the play
equipment at school and hit her nose on a metal chair. She had blood coming
down her nose -- she looked like a Klingon."
When baby Anniston joined the clan in May 2009, Leigh and her
husband, actor Nathan West, had a full house. With her Grey's storyline as
Meredith Grey's half-sister, Lexie, heating up, Leigh confesses that her hectic
schedule sometimes has her feeling like "the oldest 27-year-old on the planet.
I work, and I'm a full-time mom, and it's hard for me to sit down and relax
because it's like, crap, there's something I'm forgetting!"
To survive with a brood of three, Leigh swears by organization.
"Nathan and I sit down on the weekends, and we go through all our appointments
and whatever we have to get done that week, and plan our strategy," she says.
"If I'm available in the morning one day and he is in the afternoon, then I'll
take the kids to school that day. There will always be the occasional wrench
thrown in, but when you plan ahead, you're better able to handle stuff like
The Importance of Date Nights
Now that they've had almost a year to adjust to baby Anniston
and Leigh's mother-in-law has moved in with the family, Leigh and West can
finally get back to another vital part of their parenting strategy: date night.
"Even though you're parents, you're still a couple. You need to take time and
be together, talk about your dreams and plans, and just be in love."
No babies are in the future for her character on Grey's
Anatomy, Leigh says -- although she still laments an episode shot while she
was almost six months pregnant and the show was supposedly trying to hide her
burgeoning belly. "They had me running down the hallway for our intern race,
and you could see my stomach bouncing. I'm like, 'Why are you shooting me
full-length with this belly?'"
Other than the "no baby" promise, Leigh can't reveal much about
her upcoming season. "Everybody always says, 'Oh, you have to watch this season
-- I can't tell you what's coming up, but it'll be great.' But it's true," she
insists. "I do have some great stuff coming up, and big surprises and big
changes for my character. I'm very excited about it. My job is great, my family
is great -- life is good!"