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Women's Health

Julianna Margulies: Working Mom, ALS Advocate

How this busy actress takes care of herself and those with Lou Gehrig's disease.
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Julianna Margulies: The Early Years continued...

With an eye on stability, Margulies graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and gave herself until the age of 25 to make it as an actor before seeking another career. "The beauty of my childhood was that I knew I could pound the pavement and always be fine, because I know how to make something work," she says. "But I also knew I wasn't a person who could stand a life of rejection, or happily live a life on a futon with no air conditioning. And then I got lucky. After a year and a half, I was paying my rent and health insurance."

Over the next decade, Margulies garnered awards and attention as well as a healthy bank account, thanks to her Emmy-winning role as Carol Hathaway on NBC's medical drama series ER. But after 6 years, she turned down the producers' offer of a reported $27 million contract to return, deciding instead to move back to New York City and try her hand at theater and independent movies. There, she met her husband, with whom she had a whirlwind courtship, marrying him when she was 7 months pregnant.

"The gift of having Kieran when I was older is that I see things differently, and I love that," she says. "I know I'm in an industry where age suddenly seems to be a bad thing, but the older I get the more I embrace what it gives me and my family."

When Margulies agreed to star in The Good Wife, her son was 13 months old. "I was a wreck," she admits, "but Kyra Sedgwick sent me an email that said, 'My first day of work [on The Closer], my kids were still in school and my guilt was devastating. But the gift I gave my husband and kids was their own relationship.' It was one of the best things I have ever read," Margulies says. "When I'm home, I'm doing everything. When I'm not, my husband may not be doing it my way, but he's getting it done. You have to be willing to let children have their own relationships with their father when you're not around. Sure, the bath might not happen," she says with a laugh, "but the kids aren't working in a coal mine."

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