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Leoni Online: The Articles — New Weekly

newweekly-1463075 Family woman Tea Leoni is back, with The Family Man Tea Leoni is back from her self-imposed hiatus, in which she got comfortable with her off-screen role as mother to 20-month-old Madelaine West Duchovny, and stars opposite Nicholas Cage in the new film The Family Man. “It was hard to go back to work, but I knew I was ready,” she says. “I fell really invincible, because I have this baby and husband at home. And even if the movies I do fail, it won’t sting as much anymore. Motherfood tends to give you some balls, and the feeling is astounding.” Clearly, the 34-year-old is over the moon about her two-and-a-half year marriage to David Duchovny (until recently, headlining The X-Files) and expanding family. “What I wasn’t ready for is just the f**king gloriousness of parenthood and marriage”, she says. “It’s like nothing in my wildest dreams. I never could have imagined home life to be like this ­ and I grew up in a really good one. My mom and dad are still married, but when it’s yours, it’s an awakening that’s stunning.” David didn’t have an ideal childhood, but Tea says he’s adapted well: “David has taken to fatherhood very easily. She has a great dad, an adoring dad. He makes time for her, and he’s interested in her, and he’s a great listener. And it’s funny, because I think he’s had to learn that, sort of, by himself. David didn’t have his father around very often, and so I think at times he’s not sure whether he’s doing it right. We all wonder at times if we’re doing it right. But he pushes on.” The happy couple had to face a potential tragedy last year, when Madelaine had a respiratory virous and viral/bacterial pneumonia, which they thought was meningitis. “They gave her a spinal tap and did many tests,” she says, her eyes slightly teary. “That period was the worst of my life, hands down. And David was so altered by the experience that he put a tattoo of her name on his ankle.” Not surprisingly, the first-time parents look forward to having more kids. “Originally, I wanted five, but if I do, I need to get on it straight away. David was thinking more of two, so we’ll meet somewhere in the middle, if we’re lucky.” She says the break hasn’t ruined her career, as many had warned. “It’s not like I went away, or fell off the Empire State Building; it was just a break,” she says. “And motherhood is still really new for me. Right now, it’s absolutely harmonious, because I can work and spend lots of time in my trailer with her, because you run out on the set, do your scene and then run back. So we goof around for hours. As she gets older that may become more difficult, when she wants to spend more time with her friends, or has to go to school. Then I’ll have to reassess again.”

Tea, who starred as a tabloid journalist in the now-defunct sitcom The Naked Truth, fears for her daughter’s privacy and safety.” I fully recognise the irony,” she says. “In the beginning, when you become famous, it’s like, `Oh, I think I look terrible. Oh, shit!” Or,`Oh my God, maybe my ass looks too big’, but I don’t care about that anymore. The only thing that worries me is having my daughter photographed, for security reasons.” Meanwhile, the actress is shooting Jurassic Park III. “It’s going to be huge, of course,” she says. “I wonder what the action dolls are going to look like ­ that’s what I’m worried about.”

There won’t be any such worries with The Family Man, which is about a millionaire (Nic Cage) who left his college sweetheart long ago to pursue a material life. But after bragging to a stranger on Christmas Eve that he has no regrets, he wakes up in the life he would have had­ in suburbia, married to her with two kids.

“This will sound like thespian crap, but, I’m telling you the truth, I really did relate to the character, and I thought the story was wonderful,” Tea says. “And, of course, the chance to work with Nic Cage -­that guy can make even a mouse look good. Acting with Nic is like playing tennis with somebody better than you are. Your game tends to raise the bar.” She’d also like to work with her husband. “I’d really love to work with David, but not in any big romantic thing,” she says. “That would be dumb. But I’d really love for him to direct me one day. But if he yells at me, I’ll leave. I’ll shut myself in my trailer.”

Obviously, the couple are still living in domestic bliss, and Tea recalls their last wedding anniversay in May. “He rented a sound studio with 10 musicians,” she says. “He walked me with a bottle of wine ­ thank God ­ and said, Sing. Sing your guts out. The studio is yours for the night.’ And I did; I sang my heart out. That was the most fun I’ve ever had. It was a really special evening.”