Sarah Shahi on Her 'Very Personal Journey' Filming Sex/Life : 'Billie and I Were Oddly Similar'
Sarah Shahi is opening up about stepping into the shoes of her character Billie while filming Sex/Life.
Ahead of the Netflix series' season 2 premiere, the 43-year-old actress exclusively tells PEOPLE that working on the show has been "a very personal journey" for her.
"There are many ways in which Billie and I were oddly similar, and even just the timing of my own personal divorce when I was doing the show," shares Shahi, who split from ex-husband Steve Howey in 2020.
"I'm a single mother. I'm having to co-parent. I'm divorced. I'm also in a new relationship," she adds of her co-star and boyfriend, Adam Demos. "So yeah, there's a lot of ways in which I definitely have a Billie inside of me."
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Shahi says fans will see Billie take "control of her full self and her independence" by moving back to New York City and begin teaching at a university on Sex/Life season 2.
"She is placing attention on the things that she likes and who she is," she says of Billie's return to work and newfound independence. "And I'm a mother of three myself. And for me, God bless the women that are able to stay at home after having children, but I wasn't able to do that."
"I was somebody who, my work very much is a part of me, and I felt like if I didn't go back to work after my first was born, I wasn't presenting my full self to my child," she continues. "And so I just feel like that again, it's just another example of how she's sort of exerting her independence and her personality and all of it's ways."
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In the wake of her heated affair with ex-boyfriend Brad Simon (Demos) and crumbling marriage to Cooper Connelly (Mike Vogel), Billie begins a new relationship with Majid (Darius Homayoun) in season 2.
"With Brad, she didn't have the family side. With Cooper, she didn't have her wild side," Shahi explains. "And I think with the new love interest, she's able to have both."
"I think when we're in a relationship, we lose parts of ourselves and we start adapting to the relationship or to what the man either wants or needs, or their needs seem to be a little bit more dominate," she adds. "Whereas with this new guy, Billie's really able to put herself first as well."
Courtesy of Netflix
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Despite the new relationship, she assures fans they should keep their "hope alive" for a reunion between Billie and Brad.
"I think this season is really about hope and second chances," she teases. "Those are the themes that kind of resonate the most within the characters is timing. A lot of times the person that we wanted back then, just the timing was off and we weren't ready."
She adds, "But then to get reconnected with them in the future could provide for a different scenario and it could be better timing."
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Sex/Life season 2 hits Netflix on Thursday.