Alyssa Milano, 41, the former child star who grew up before our eyes on the television hits Who’s the Boss, Melrose Place, and Charmed, is fully embracing not only adulthood these days, but motherhood, too. Her most-important production at the moment is giving birth to her second baby, a girl, due this fall. With son Milo, 3, and agent husband Dave Bugliari already her biggest fans, Milano’s latest script is tending to her current ABC series, Mistresses, her successful women’s sports-themed clothing line, Touch, her return tour as host on Lifetime’s Project Runway All-Stars, and, of course, loving her big, traditional -- and growing -- Italian family.
Congrats on baby No. 2! How has your second pregnancy differed from your first?
It’s been totally different. With Milo I didn’t have an hour of morning sickness. I felt great the entire time. I also had a vegetarian pregnancy and craved no meat. This time around I had morning sickness for 3 months, first-trimester exhaustion, and this baby craved turkey and chicken. On top of that, the first time around is such a magical, albeit frightening, experience. You’re so focused on the baby. The second time, you’re still focused on the first baby, because you still need to take care of him. I also wasn’t working [when pregnant] with Milo, so I could take 2-hour naps. Couldn’t do that with this baby!
I’m pretty happy with my whole experience with Milo. I don’t believe in sleep training. My philosophy is to give your child what he needs to feel secure and safe. Milo has slept in his crib since he was 6 weeks old. He just came out like that.
How does Milo feel about having a sibling?
He’s so excited! We talk about it all the time with him. He talked to my belly and kissed it every night. He calls the baby “his” baby. We told him we were having the baby for him, so he wouldn’t think it was to replace him.
What has surprised you most about motherhood?
One is that I had no idea the capacity to love would be so endless. Never in my life did I expect to feel my heart grow and expand as it did when Milo was born. The other thing is that the fear never goes away. There’s always something new to worry about, whether it’s social or health issues.
Are you a helicopter parent?
In certain situations? Maybe. I try to give Milo as much independence as possible. Milo has always been really independent. I think the most important thing to do as a parent is to allow your child to be whoever he or she is, and to encourage that.
What’s the best health advice anyone has ever given to you?
My mother always told me to be kind to yourself. Especially in this day and age when you’re supposed to want success with everything. You can’t be a perfectionist in every area. So figure out where you want to be focused.
Do you find it difficult to find balance between work and home life?
I was lucky to have a baby at 39, to have success in business and in my career, and those things happened because I’ve been a perfectionist. But when Milo came along, my focus shifted to him. I enjoy everything my life is about right now. Again, it’s an interesting exercise for me not to place the importance of being a perfectionist in every aspect of my life, and I’m really enjoying it. Maybe today I won’t do this scene the best I can, or memorize my lines perfectly, but I’ll go home and put my son to bed, and it’s OK. Something’s gotta give!
You made headlines earlier this year after comedian Jay Mohr publicly fat-shamed you. It was the opposite of funny, yet your response was measured and kind.
That hurt my feelings. But I think my response struck a chord. Maybe people are getting sick of the scrutiny we’re putting women under. Not just if you’re overweight, but underweight, too, and, now, pregnant women! It’s absolutely disgusting. What does it matter to anybody how much weight a woman gains during her pregnancy? By the way, I was 172 pounds the day I gave birth to Milo.
You look great. What is your fitness philosophy?
To just keep moving. When I’m not pregnant it’s eat less, move more. Keep active, whatever that means for you. Before I got pregnant, I would take three dance classes a week. I love yoga. You have to forgive yourself if you can’t make it in every day. I think the older I get, the more I appreciate activities, as opposed to being in a gym. I’d much rather go on a hike, or a dance class, or do things I love.
How do feel about aging, especially in Hollywood?
I think aging, even without the entertainment business, is about whether you feel you’ve accomplished what you wanted to do. You add entertainment into that equation, and women -- and men -- who are turning 40 or 50 are trying to slow down aging; they feel they haven’t achieved what they need to in the business. … It’s easy for me to say at 41 I would never do anything. But I feel like I would never do anything. … If the business decided it was done with me tomorrow, I’ve set up my life in a way that I will still have a career outside of acting and be happy with my life.
You’re a former child star who’s successfully avoided the traps that have snared so many other talented kids. What did you do differently?
I think this business magnifies whoever you would have turned out to be anyway. I came from a safe, secure, loving family, and I think these kids who go down the wrong path would have had [troubles], no matter what they did. A lot of creative people in general, come from broken homes or hardships. It’s hard to overcome that, let alone do it in the public eye.
Would you like your kids to follow in your acting footsteps?
Well … [Hesitates, then laughs.] Milo comes to set with me every single day. He shows more interest behind the scenes than in front of the camera. I think the most important thing you can do for your children is to encourage who they innately are. If he wants to be an artist or actor or musician I’ll support him and hopefully give him the tools and love to succeed.
Describe your perfect day.
I love Sundays! I wake up in the morning after my sweet husband has fed Milo, so I’m able to sleep in a little bit. In the Italian culture Sunday is the family day. And to this day my mom still cooks a big Sunday dinner. So, a perfect day is just to be with Milo and my husband at the house, then go to my parents around 2 o'clock, my mom cooks a feast, we eat it at 4 o'clock -- just relaxing together, and being with my family.
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