Edie Falco is one tough lady.
For six seasons, she portrayed matriarch Carmela Soprano on HBO's mob family drama "The Sopranos." In her new show "Nurse Jackie," premiering in June on Showtime, Edie plays a compassionate nurse who happens to have a substance abuse problem.
Maternal roles have always come naturally for the 45-year-old, who started a family of her own when she adopted son Anderson, 4, and daughter Macy, 1. Hospitals are familiar territory for Edie as well: in 2003 she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Now healthy and happy, Edie is grateful for her professional and personal success. The actress sat down with Parade's Kevin Sessums to share her thoughts about motherhood and battling cancer and other demons.
On adopting her two children:
"I'm just not one of those people who thought having biological children was that important. To me it was more about wanting to raise a child. I have this dog named Marley, and it is a kind of love I had never known. I have a hard time believing Marley did not come from my body. I know that sounds insane, but I feel that connected to her. She made me realize I wanted to adopt children."
On playing Carmela Soprano while battling cancer:
"I had my biopsy at 8 in the morning. Within two hours, I knew I had cancer. Then, at 1 o'clock, I had to be on the set of "The Sopranos." It was the scene in which Tony and Carmela were already divorced, and I'm telling him I'm going to take him for everything. It was a very angry scene for me, and that helped a bit, I'm sure. I had a miserably hard time holding on to my lines. It was a terribly frightening and surreal time, but I never missed a day of work, even on the worst chemo days. You have no idea at the time that there is a future. It's a future that involves taking a trip to Sloan-Kettering hospital every six months to make sure I'm okay, but it's just a part of who I am now. You learn to live with it and are amazed how you find ways to be grateful for it."
On how her sobriety helped her treatment:
"I had really been taking care of myself for about 15 years before I got sick -- not drinking, not smoking, eating well -- so I fared very well. They gave me very strong chemo drugs. I was so lucky that two of the biggest things in my life -- my sobriety and my breast cancer -- happened in the order they happened."
Click hereto read more of Edie's interview, or check out the latest issue of Parade in this Sunday'snewspaper.