Rebecca Romijn is that rare actress who doesn't sprint to a plastic surgeon when a wrinkle appears. So what keeps her looking so amazing? Gratitude, happiness, and hard work.
One thing we learned from Rebecca Romijn: Behind every glowing, well-rested mom is a frazzled dad. To make sure she would look incredible for her REDBOOK cover shoot, her husband, Jerry O'Connell, made the ultimate sacrifice: He flew alone on a red-eye with their 4-year-old daughters, Dolly and Charlie. (Meanwhile, Rebecca caught an earlier flight and much-needed sleep.) He dropped by the shoot to share the details: When one of the girls had to pee, all three squeezed into the itty-bitty airplane bathroom together, with the 6-foot-2-inch Jerry instructing both not to touch any germy surfaces. "Two number ones happened in that bathroom, but we had to flush the toilet at least eight times—just for that extra-loud sound," he explains, cracking up. Rebecca knows exactly how hard it is to fly solo, because when Jerry isn't doing it, she is. Though Hollywood fixtures, they're a team of two—no full-time nanny, no retinue. "We're each other's assistants," Rebecca says. "We pick up each other's slack. Whoever is less busy helps the busier one: 'Can you go pick up this for me?' or, 'Can you book my flight?' That's what real life is. Once you start paying somebody else to do the grunt work, who are you?"
At this very moment, Rebecca is a woman in need of a pedicure. Her latest role, on TNT's King & Maxwell as a disgraced Secret Service agent turned private eye, doesn't involve much primping, something the former supermodel hasn't adjusted to yet. "This is the first time Jerry's ever seen my bare toenails," she jokes. On the plus side, the action-packed role (she rows, runs, and fires a gun) means that at 40 years old, Rebecca is in the best shape of her life. "Right now, I feel stronger than ever," she says. "I'm covered in bruises—but I feel great."
The only real downside to the job is the distance. Shooting in Vancouver keeps Rebecca a thousand miles away from her Los Angeles home with Jerry and the girls. And while it's a relief not to have to switch into mom mode after a 14-hour workday, waking up in a quiet, rented apartment gets lonely. "Sometimes I do get a little teary," she admits, but it makes her all the more grateful for the family's time together. "Jerry and I will see the girls running ahead of us and say, 'Look at them, they'll never be this little again—not even 10 minutes from now,'" she says, choking up a bit. Here's how this busy mom stays sane, grounded, and in killer shape.
REDBOOK: You've done action before King & Maxwell, in X-Men. But you've also played goofy comedy roles. It's still rare to see a pretty girl get kooky.
REBECCA ROMIJN: As you get older, you realize that life is a series of dares. I think it's important to be in touch with your silly side. Especially as a mother, that's the example I want to be to my girls.
RB: You once said that you and Jerry would have kids if you were lucky enough. How long did it take for you to get lucky?
RR: We tried for a couple years and then saw a fertility doctor, who put me on [the fertility drug] Clomid, which turned me into a maniac. It was awful. The first month it was like, "This is fine," and the second month…[She makes a crazy face]. Then I went to another doctor who gave me something similar. That's when I got pregnant.
RB: Were you worried about gaining weight and your body changing with the pregnancy?
RR: Not really—you gotta feather that nest! Afterward, I was nursing for six months. When you're a new mother, your body doesn't belong to you for a while. You have to check your vanity at the door.
RB: When did your body start to feel normal again?
RR: I was working out as soon as I could, but gently. I wasn't putting too much pressure on myself, Then, when the girls were about 2, I was like, "Okay, I'm sick of this," and that's when I started doing Bikram yoga. I became religious about it.
RB: Were you tempted by Hollywood solutions like nips and tucks?
RR: In moments of weakness, I did Google searches. From what I learned, doctors recommend that you don't do anything for a couple years after birth. My body kept changing during that time, so I was like, "I'm getting there. Let's see how much I can do myself before I start cutting things open unnecessarily." But, I mean, your boobs do change. My boobs were depressing for a little while, seriously. After
nursing, I was just small and saggy. I focused on getting into the gym and pumping up the things I could change.
RB: What's your workout routine right now?
RR: My character on the show is an ex-Olympian rower, so
I did a lot of rowing training. When I have a chance, I get on the elliptical for half an hour, sometimes an hour if it's a Saturday. I don't really have time for a 90-minute Bikram session... I've also been doing a looser version of the Paleo diet. Paleo is all about eating veggies, fruit, and meat. I'm a big meat-eater. I feel fatigued if I don't eat it. But I do have a weakness for cheese. So, Paleo plus cheese. But no more diet sodas, and no more juice. Isn't being 40 fun?
RB: Did turning 40 feel like a milestone for you?
RR: A little bit. I had actually been planning a 40th birthday party, which I had to cancel because I got King & Maxwell.
People were like, "I'm so sorry." But you know what? In the scheme of things, having a great job at 40 is an awesome birthday present. Aging has never been scary to me. I've always admired my mom's lines-she has a very beautiful, laughter-fil1ed face. I've always thought that was attractive.
RB: Are you done having kids?
RR: Jerry comes from a family with just a brother. I come
from a family with just a sister. We always planned on two.
RB: Now that the girls are 4, do you feel like you and Kerry
are in your parenting sweet spot?
RR: Well, no. Jerry has a very different parenting style, and it's hard for me to not make suggestions when I'm not on duty. For example, 10 days ago when he was bringing the girls up to Vancouver, I was like, "Oh, God, he cannot forget their jackets. I have to remember to tell him to bring rain boots." Then I told myself; "He knows what the weather is like in Vancouver." Meanwhile, he showed up with one pair
of shoes each, two pairs of pants, two T-shirts, a sweatshirt, and no jackets! This was my worst fear, and we were... fine.
RB: How did you know Jerry was the guy for you?
RR: [Erupts into raucous laughter)
RB: C'mon-you seem so happy! Were you friends first?
RR: Yeah. We met at a party in Las Vegas. My friend was shooting a documentary and Jerry offered to be the boom operator [the
person who holds the microphone]. We had a great time, the group of us. My friend and I drove back from Vegas and were returning the car and I needed a ride home. Jerry was nearby, so I called him. He drove me home and never left. [Laughs]. His sensibilities felt very familiar to me. He's also ridiculously hilarious and highly intelligent, and a really, really great dad.
RB: I read that people yell to him in the street, "Hey, fat kid
from Stand By Me, you married Rebecca Romijn!"
RR: [Laughs] lt's easy to say, "That kid from Stand By Me
ended up marrying the supermodel" -yeah, the '90s ex-supermodel. That was a lifetime ago for both of us.
RB: How often do people still call you Rebecca Romijn-Stamos?
RR: Oh, my God, it happened to me last night!
RB: Why didn't you add "O'Connell" when you married Jerry?
RR: You know, getting through all that was a lot, and when
I was finally Rebecca Romijn again, I thought, I'll just stick
with this for a little while. But now that my kids are older, it might feel important to add it. At a certain age I think it'll be my girls who ask, "Why is your last name different than ours?" Once it matters to them, it's going to start mattering to me. And also, for Jerry. My girls have this funny thing that they always do when it's the four of us-they go, "See, here we are, all together, a family," over and over again. I think "O'Connell" will play a big part in that.
Original article: Redbook Magazine August 2013