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Single Mom Garcelle Beauvais Puts Her Sons First

How the busy 'Flight' actress balances work, health, and 5-year-old twins.
By
WebMD the Magazine - Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Actress Garcelle Beauvais, 45, stars as Denzel Washington's ex-wife in the upcoming movie Flight, an intense mystery drama about a pilot's miraculous emergency landing. After starting out as a model for Clairol and Avon and on the runway for Calvin Klein and Isaac Mizrahi, Beauvais' movie career took off with Coming to America opposite Eddie Murphy. She's best known for her past TV roles in The Jamie Foxx Show and NYPD Blue, and she now appears in the TNT legal drama Franklin & Bash. Born in Haiti, Beauvais also stars in a new 30-minute DVD drama called Eyes to See about the 2010 earthquake's aftermath.

You've been very up front in interviews and blogs about dealing with your divorce from your ex-husband, Mike Nilon. How are you handling it with your twin boys, Jax and Jaid?

We share custody 50-50, and we've managed to put them first. We thought it was important for them to feel like things are stable, so we did their rooms the same in each home, with the same sheets. They have rolly backpacks that they take back and forth with the stuffed animals they sleep with. [Beauvais also has a grown son, Oliver, 21, from her first marriage.]

What would you tell newly single moms dealing with parenting after a divorce?

Keep your head up and put the kids first. I think people get caught up with the anger and the sadness from whatever the reason for the breakup is. But you have to remember that the kids are the most important thing, and you only get one shot at a childhood. We still do things together as a family and are doing the best we can to make great memories. We're making it as beautiful as we can for them.

As they get older, how are you handling the "twin thing"?

Well, they just started back to school. I'm about to go pick them up from their second day in a big school. We're going to have them in separate kindergartens next year so they can have their own space, but we didn't want to bring them to a new school and then separate them right away. So they're in a pre-K class together, at the same school where they'll go to kindergarten next year. I can't wait to hear how their day went, but it's hard to get them to tell me anything!

Family meal time is so important. How do you manage to make that work?

It's not always easy -- they're turning 5 this month, and sometimes it gets a little crazy. But we always start our meal with a prayer, and then I'll tell a story to keep them focused. Sometimes I have to start making things up, but they'll want to hear more and then we can settle down for dinner together.

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