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Kyra Sedgwick on Work, Family, and Empty Nests

The actress opens up about her long marriage, life as a working mom, and her new movie, 'The Possession.'
WebMD Magazine - Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Kyra Sedgwick has to jump on another phone. It's her husband calling. She and actor Kevin Bacon will celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary this September, and there's a melty tenderness in her voice when she says, "Hi, honey … is everything OK?" There's a pause, and you can hear the smile -- that screen-illuminating Sedgwick smile -- in her voice as she says, "OK, I love you, bye."

Right there is a clue as to just why Sedgwick and Bacon are one of Hollywood's admired veteran couples. Though they married young and, some might say, hastily -- she was just 22 when they met on the set of the PBS adaptation of the play Lemon Sky; they married within less than a year and conceived their son on their honeymoon -- they are still going strong nearly a quarter-century later.

"We don't take each other for granted," says Sedgwick, who will be 47 in August. As most two-career couples with kids can attest, that's an easy trap to fall into. "So many other things seem to be much more urgent. You're feeling comfortable and safe in your marriage, and you think you can put it on the back burner and go, well, that's OK, because this other thing is much more urgent: kids, work, Hollywood, whatever.

"And all of a sudden you realize that the thing you've taken for granted hasn't been nurtured and it's not healthy. I try to take care of my marriage like a precious garden."

Sedgwick pauses, clearly thinking she's just said something really sappy. "I'm a terrible gardener, by the way," she declares. "I managed to kill a ficus in my house! They're, like, indestructible."

Kyra on "The Closer"

Since 2005, Sedgwick's marriage -- and her relationship with kids Travis, now 23, and Sosie, who just turned 20 -- has weathered frequent separations required by her starring role as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson in TNT's The Closer, a part that netted her both an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award. The Bacon-Sedgwick household is firmly rooted in New York City, but the show was produced in Los Angeles. A few months ago, she wrapped up filming the last season of the series, which starts July 9. Now, she's looking forward to the release of one of the first films she's starred in since The Closer began, an Exorcist-type thriller called The Possession, with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, due out at the end of August.

Much as she loved playing Brenda, Sedgwick says it was time for her to move on. "I miss the people and the camaraderie and making something like that, but I don't miss doing it," she explains. "I gave 150% every day, and I was definitely ready to be done. On this visit" -- she's calling during a jaunt back to Los Angeles -- "I was seeing some folks from the show who are filming [TNT's upcoming series] Major Crimes, and I was thinking that I really didn't miss it. I love Brenda so much, but maybe it will take me a few years to feel nostalgic and miss her."

Something she is feeling a bit nostalgic for these days: her kids' time at home. Both Travis and Sosie are out on their own now, although Sedgwick says she and Bacon don't feel like empty nesters quite yet. "The kids are still around, but it's different. I think I grieved an entire year over the process, and I still get boo-hooey sometimes, but I'm so grateful that they're still talking to me and they want me to be part of their lives," she says. "I do miss that level of need and intimacy we once had. As a parent, you have such a great job, and you feel like you're pretty good at it -- then you kinda get fired. But it's also the exact right nature of things, and I take solace in that."

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