Angie Harmon: Family, Faith, and Her 5-Year Plan
Back to work on a new series, she shares how she juggles marriage, kids, and career — without sacrificing her values for a second (by Cortney Pellettieri)
"When I get bored, I get into trouble," admits 38-year-old actress Angie Harmon. "It's so much better for me when I'm trying to cook with one [child] on my hip, another on my leg, and I'm yelling at Jason to put them outside on the trampoline." The "Jason" she's referring to is her hunky husband, former professional football player Jason Sehorn, who famously got down on one knee and popped the question on The Tonight Show, making women everywhere go, "Awww...." Now life is anything but boring for the Los Angeles-based couple; after a brief stint as a stay-at-home mom to daughters Finley Faith (6), Avery Grace (5), and Emery Hope (1), Harmon is working on her new TNT drama, Rizzoli & Isles. "I was saying that my girls needed their mommy full-time and I was ready to retire just before this show came along, and everyone around me said, 'Uh-huh, sure you are,'" says Harmon. "So I thought about it, prayed about it, and the next day the script was on my doorstep. It was meant to be, and I couldn't be happier." Here, she explains how she makes it all work:
Now that you're back filming a show, is there anything you miss about being home with the kids?
Everything. The grass is always greener. When I'm not working, I would kill to have some sort of creative outlet other than, say, a coloring book. And when I'm working, I want to do all those things I was griping about — you know, make a turkey-and-cheese sandwich, put it in a zip-top bag, and stick it in a lunch box right now! I'm that kind of person, but as I've gotten older I've learned to appreciate where I am in the moment.
So what is your working-mom success secret?
Jason [laughing]; he's the most wonderful father — so hands-on. If I get up in the night with the baby, he does the morning shift and lets me sleep in. We understand that life's messy and doesn't always go according to a certain schedule.
Do you have a favorite family ritual?
Dinner. Every day at five o'clock, I turn on the radio and start cooking. We'll pour a glass of wine while the girls are barefoot, running in and out of the house with the dogs. The house starts smelling good, and they perk up like little wild animals. I just love that when they get older, one of their most solid memories about their childhood will be that sort of sensory memory — Mom in the kitchen with Earth, Wind & Fire playing in the background. Oh, and we do Roses and Thorns at dinnertime; everyone gets a turn to talk, and your "rose" is the best thing that happened that day, while your "thorn" is the worst. I just love it when one of them says, "I don't have a thorn today, Mommy."
Are you the only cook in your house?
Jason does many things, but cooking isn't one of them. Which is good, because if he cooked, I would just say, "You know, I'm not needed here."
And how are you on the housekeeping front?
I'm superorganized, but a horrible house cleaner. I'm not the first one to jump in and clean the toilet. I'm like, Oh, look at that — well, that could probably wait another day. I just sort of pass over things like that in silence and pray that somebody else notices.
What counts as couple time for you and Jason right now?
If we just look at each other, we're like, OK, great! That's enough. [Laughs.] Finally everybody's starting to hit the hay at the same time, so we have the tail end of the evening together. Just being able to hang out with each other [is nice]. Maybe we'll play a little Guitar Hero; I love that! That's how we got Emery. I looked over while Jason was playing and thought, You're the hottest bass player I have ever seen!
What's the one parenting rule you never break?
The girls absolutely have to have manners. And they have to respect other people.
Do you and Jason have a "good cop/bad cop" dynamic?
No, we're both strict. We're pretty much "bad cop/bad cop." We back each other up.
What do you want your girls to grow up knowing?
That they can talk to their mommy and daddy about anything. And that God made them individual and special. They need to know they're important to us, and they also need to be important to themselves. And they have to be responsible members of society. I know that's sort of old-fashioned, but I don't care.
What role does faith play in your life?
A huge one! Their middle names aren't Faith, Grace, and Hope because I'm an atheist. I pray every day for my little girls. It's hard out there for the younger generation. Oh, I sound like my parents!
What's the most important item in your home?
The rocker in my nursery. I've rocked all three kids to sleep in it. That stage with Emery is almost over. Six years of rocking my baby girls...
Are there any more kids in your future?
No, we're good. We're moving into the phase where all three are sleeping through the night. Everything's switching back to normal now. In a way, it's wonderful, but I knew Emery was going to be my last baby. And so I've cherished every single moment, every dirty diaper, everything, because I know it's my last.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
In a big, beautiful house in North Carolina. It's very family-oriented there, and it's the East Coast, so I'll get my seasons back. And there's a church on every corner, as opposed to just a Starbucks.