Bridget Moynahan Dishes on Her Plans After the Last 'Blue Bloods' Family Dinner

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Bridget Moynahan

The year is 2010. Actress Bridget Moynahan is living in Los Angeles with her young son, Jack, and jumping around in various productions of small-ish films such as Prey, Noise and Ramona & Beezus.

Then she receives a phone call that changes everything.

It’s her friend (and fellow Massachusetts native) Donnie Wahlberg. The two had just worked on a TV pilot together that didn’t get picked up. He wants to know if she’d be interested in playing his sister in a new series. Tentative title: Blue Bloods.

“It was about an Irish Catholic family and hi, those are my people,” she explains. “And it was a family of cops, and I’d be a lawyer in New York City and looking at the dynamics within that. My whole family is already on the East Coast. So, of course that was going to bring me home.”

Now she’s gearing up to say goodbye to the show that changed her life. Moynahan, 52, is currently filming her 14th and final season of the popular Friday night CBS drama (which premieres Feb. 16 at 10 p.m. ET). No standard procedural, the series has cultivated a large and devoted fan base because of its rich connections among the formidable but endearing Reagan family played by the likes of Tom Selleck, Wahlberg and Will Estes. Over the course of the series, which will air its last episode in the fall, Moynahan’s hardworking Erin Reagan has become NYC’s Assistant District Attorney and raised her now-grown daughter, Nicky (Sami Gayle), all while enduring major physical trauma.

Moynahan sits down for her Parade interview inside a Bronx mobile trailer on a Friday afternoon during a break from production, looking effortlessly gorgeous on the Zoom screen in her chunky glasses, cardigan and jeans despite her insistence to the contrary. A former model, Moynahan popped up on TV for the first time in 1999 via a memorable arc on Sex and the City as the glamorous 20-something who wed Chris Noth’s Mr. Big. (In one episode, Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw and her girlfriends snidely refer to her Natasha character as “the idiot stick figure with no soul.”) She’s also appeared in the watchable hits Coyote Ugly (2000), Serendipity (2001) and The Sum of All Fears (2002), and has portrayed Keanu Reeves’ wife in the John Wick saga since 2014.

As if that’s not enough, Moynahan—married to businessman Andrew Frankel since 2015—boasts a lovely-and-spunky personality to match. Co-star Steve Schirripa, who plays Erin’s private investigator, reports that she once brought him a portable mini-air conditioner to wear around his neck when the two were filming on the hot NYC pavement during the summer. “She is such a thoughtful person,” he says. Plus, he notes, “She is talented and smart and always steps on the set fully prepared, which is why it’s so great to have scenes with her, and even more so when she directs. She and Erin do share some terrific qualities.”

Moynahan shows many of those qualities in this week’s Parade cover story.

Mara Reinstein: Sharing a Zoom screen with a former model is always a mistake.

Bridget Moynahan: Yeah, this is other people setting up stuff for me. This would not be me at home if we were scheduled [for this interview] on a normal day. One-hundred percent.

How are things going on the set during Blue Bloods’ final hurrah?

It seems to be going OK. I hate saying “final hurrah.” But it’s going well.

Without getting into trouble, what can you say about Erin’s developments thus far?

Well, I can’t get anyone in trouble because nobody tells me anything! These are just good episodes. Erin’s ex-husband Jack [Peter Hermann] is coming back, so we’ll see about that.

She’s had a rocky time with her ex and has held off on running for district attorney. Do you think a happy ending is in store?

Yeah, maybe she’s happy with neither of those options!

Those Sunday night dinners with the family are such a pivotal part of every episode. How have those big cast scenes evolved over the past 14 years?

For that very first episode, we all shook hands and said “Nice to meet you” and sat down at the dinner table and just fell into some very natural roles of brother and sister and grandfather and father, and it was such a good fit. You knew instantly that it was cast well. And it’s just grown over time.

How so?

In those 14 years, there have been births and deaths and marriages and divorces, and we’ve gotten to experience it together as a family around that table. Even the crew has been with us since day one. We’re definitely going to miss spending time together. We film that scene in about three hours now. And I have learned over time not to eat the mashed potatoes take after take. Yeah, that was a bad move.

Just a theory: Donnie eats the mashed potatoes.

Donnie is eating and Will is eating non stop. But he’s eating, like, lettuce.

Could the show have gone on longer?

I definitely think it could go on longer. We’ve been so blessed to be able to tell stories of the police, detectives and the law from the perspective of people who actually take on those selfless roles and tell it across that dinner table from a family that is so rooted in morals and values. I really think we’re going to miss that as a society because there’s a lot of energy questioning all those things. There’s going to be a void, and I think it’s a shame we’re removing such a true, honest voice from the air.

Let’s go back to your own professional beginning. Were you part of that Kate Moss modeling era in the ‘90s?

Kate just turned 50, so she’s around my age. But she was definitely a different look than I was. She brought more of a grungy look and that wasn’t really my thing. I sold a lot of shampoo and soap and clothing and did a lot of magazine covers. I sold health. Kate wasn’t selling health.

Did you enjoy that lifestyle?

It was a great time. I got to travel the world and work and meet a whole slew of interesting people. It was like a precursor to this circus I’m in now.

So was there a moment where you thought, “I can’t sustain this” and decided to pivot to acting?

“Sustain” is probably not the right word. I did a lot of commercials and really appreciated the concept of residuals. I had done some acting in high school and going into film and television seemed like a natural progression. But it wasn’t like, “Oh, I’ll go act now.” I worked during the day and studied at acting school at night before I felt like I was ready to go out there. It was well thought-out. Then I was doing a small-budget film, and I got cast in Sex and the City and Coyote Ugly within the same week.

Do people still talk to you about that Sex and the City run even though it was decades ago?

I think when And Just Like That . . . came out, it reignited the whole Sex and the City craze. [She reprised the character in a 2021 episode of the sequel series.] All these moms who had grown up watching the show are now watching it with their daughters. It has a whole new generation of people loving it.

The part made you famous, but was it a mixed blessing because your character came between this beloved couple?

Oh, it was a great gig! It was just supposed to be one episode. And then they just kept bringing the character back. And I didn’t have that many lines or much dialogue. But I think just the presence or the idea of the character in Carrie and Big’s lives was bigger than the actual time on the air.

And can you still believe that Coyote Ugly was a big summer hit? It’s basically about waitresses dancing on a bar!

I didn’t really understand what it was until I was driving on Sunset Boulevard heading to Hollywood. And when you get to Hollywood, there’s a giant building. And the poster on the building was like, 12 stories high and it was all the stars of Coyote Ugly. It was like, Oh my god! Even though I’d seen myself in print for years, I had never seen myself on a billboard like that and certainly not for a film. That felt really good.

You’ve been a part of the John Wick success as well, even though your character is a goner so early on.

It’s another gift that keeps on giving. It was so lucky that they happened to be casting in New York and I happened to get in on it. I saw Keanu [Reeves] at the premiere of the last film [2023’s John Wick: Chapter 4] and he said, “Can you believe 10 years?” Like, what are you talking about? It went by like that [snaps fingers].

What are your post-Blue Bloods plans? Staying in New York?

I think until my son [Jack, 16, with ex Tom Brady] graduates from high school, I’m not going anywhere. So I have high hopes that I’ll be working here. I was able to produce a great little short film in October called Swipe NYC. It stars Lisa Edelstein and it went to a lot of film festivals. I’m trying to stay on track with that and keep looking at things to produce and direct. That’s interesting and challenging to me. [Moynahan has directed three episodes of Blue Bloods.]

Can you tolerate watching yourself on the screen?

No. I’m already bothered seeing myself on Zoom!

You’re on Instagram, but you don’t like to reveal a lot about your private life. Do you have a secret hobby or something?

If I did, it wouldn’t be a secret! I just try to keep things private. Everybody’s already out there.

OK, can you at least reveal your favorite movies?

Here’s the thing: If a Harry Potter movie is ever on the TV, I will drop everything and watch it. Harry Potter, Gladiator and of course The Shawshank Redemption. I don’t watch much TV.

Are you going to take a break after the show wraps and enjoy yourself a little?

I’m looking forward to having a summer because we’ll be done in June. Then who knows? But I enjoy my job. Someone just asked me, “Are you going to retire?” Like, why would I retire?! I love what I do. I’ve had the two best jobs in the world: Modeling internationally and acting. I love the people, and I love the community.

Are you even 50 yet?

I’m 52! And my 50s have been fantastic.

So, does it get better with age?

What is “it”?! I will say that life is very odd right now, no matter what age you are. So hopefully the world will settle down and we can all just take a breath and enjoy each other.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length