"Dark Shadows" star Michelle Pfeiffer, 54, steps back into the spotlight and opens up to Dotson Rader in this Sunday’s issue of PARADE about starring opposite younger leading men, the challenges of parenting, and the secret to staying in love. Read the full interview in this weekend's issue of PARADE.
Here are some highlights:
On what drives Pfeiffer to succeed.
"I don’t know if it’s naïveté or just narcissism, but I start out with this notion that I can do anything. It’s not until I get into it that I realize what I’ve thrown myself into, and then I will do anything not to humiliate myself. And that, I think, is the secret to my success."
On acting opposite younger leading men.
"They get younger and younger. I went from Ashton [Kutcher, age 34, in "Personal Effects"] to Rupert [Friend, age 30, in "Cheri"] to Zac Efron [age 24] in 'New Year’s Eve.' If I keep on like this, I’m going to get into X-rated material! Well, that’s what happens with men and their leading ladies, right? I was acting in 'The Russia House' opposite Sean Connery when he was turning 60. [Pfeiffer was 32.]"
On her husband of 19 years, TV writer-producer David E. Kelley.
"I chose really well with David. I got really lucky. … And 19 years later, I never take him for granted. I’ve never met a person who has more integrity than my husband. I respect that. There’s his humor and intelligence, too, and he’s really cute, all those things—but if you don’t respect your partner, you’ll get sick of him."
Would Pfeiffer ever do a series with her husband?
"I’d worry about coming home and complaining to him about the people I work with. I wouldn’t want to bring my work home with me like that. But it doesn’t mean we won’t do something together one day. I couldn’t ask for anyone better. David’s the best in terms of developing things for women. I watch [his shows] and I turn to him and say, 'I hope these actors realize how lucky they are.'"
On her first marriage to Thirtysomething star Peter Horton.
"I married Peter at a very young age. I’m not the same person I was then. I forget I was even married before. … Actually, I didn’t tell my kids for the longest time. They were old when I finally said, 'Oh, by the way, just FYI, I was married once before.' They were like, 'What?!' It had never occurred to me to tell them."
Which is harder: parenting or acting?
"Being a parent is the hardest thing in the world … the psychological toll it takes on you because these lives are in your hands. I take it very seriously. Just when you think you’ve got your kids figured out, they change on you. For somebody who’s controlling, you can’t control it. Of course, I don’t think I’m controlling, but that’s what I’ve been told!"
On preparing for an empty nest.
"People make a lot of jokes about the empty nest. Let me tell you, it is no laughing matter. It is really hard. Claudia’s in her first year of college. She’s doing great. My son is applying to colleges now. I remember reading an interview with Dustin Hoffman; his first child had just gone off to college, and he said, “Nobody talks about their [empty] room.” I feel like I’m going to cry just thinking about it. [pause] Are you hot? I am. Or am I having a big hot flash? Did I really just say that? That will be a headline; I can see it. [laughs]"
Watch Michelle Pfeiffer and Johnny Depp in a clip from 'Dark Shadows':