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Leoni Online: The Articles — Scripps Howard News Service

Scripps Howard News Service July 11, 2001, Wednesday


LENGTH: 876 words

HEADLINE: Leoni, Duchovny may be beating showbiz-marriage odds

SOURCE: Scripps Howard News Service



UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – Marriage isn’t easy, no matter who you are. And if you happen to share the limelight with your mate, it’s doubly difficult. Two movie stars under the same roof can prove as toxic as oleanders. Demi and Bruce, Nicole and Tom, Meg and Dennis, to drop a few names. But there’s one couple cuddling under the Hollywood sign that seems to be bucking the trend.

Tea Leoni and David Duchovny may be beating the odds. “David’s weird, there’s no doubt,” says Leoni, who is starring in the third installment of the “Jurassic Park” series, which opens July 18.

“He’s a great, great wonderful, lovable, kind, charming weirdo. And at times I think he’s bizarre. And it would be easier to be with someone I could figure out more consistently and more easily,” she says, seated in a folding chair on Stage 6 of the Universal Lot where part of “Jurassic Park III” was filmed.

“And the exchange is someone who is constantly surprising me with his kindness and with his charm and he, like me, doesn’t want to stay put. We don’t want to stay put. I encourage him to grow. I don’t ever want to be the thought police, and neither does he. Maybe that’s part of the artist’s syndrome, you like that freedom in your mind and you like that willingness in your partner to go with you.”

They’ve both traveled the high road already – he with “The X-Files,” she with “Deep Impact” and now “Jurassic Park.” But Leoni took a little time out to become a mother to 2-year-old Madelaine West (whom she calls “Wes”). And playing a mother who is searching for her lost son in “Jurassic Park III” couldn’t have happened at a more opportune time.

Everything changed when she became a mom, she confides. “I really don’t see how my life DIDN’T alter. It’s impacted absolutely everything. I feel so blessed every single day.

“I look back on so much of my life and I just want to laugh. I want to laugh at the self-consumption that is your teen-age years,” she says, shaking her short, blonde hair, “or the 20s where it’s like: ‘Wow, rent, how am I going to pay rent? Oh, whatever.’ Because you’re going to figure it out. I never really understood why my parents and grandparents had such a sense of humor about things. My grandmother used to say, ‘Things aren’t what they used to be and they never were.’ And she’s absolutely right. Once you have a kid – for me it’s all different.”

The daughter of a nutritionist and a lawyer, Leoni was a preppie at Sarah Lawrence before she interrupted her education to scratch that wandering itch. She headed for Japan, where she taught Japanese men how to interact with American women and fell into modeling. (She was the Bridgestone Tire Calendar Girl there.)

When she returned to the U.S., on a dare, she auditioned with a platoon of other women for a TV remake of “Charlie’s Angels.” She snagged the part, though the show never made it to your living room.

That proved the GPS for her acting career. Leoni has co-starred in features like “Flirting with Disaster” and “The Family Man” as well as two sitcoms, “Flying Blind” and “The Naked Truth.”

She and Duchovny wed four years ago (it was her second marriage), causing his female fans to hyperventilate. But, then, it’s not so bad being married to an icon, she grins.

“I remember the first year right after we had gotten married and there were women who said, ‘Oh, my God. I’m so in love with your husband.’ I’d think, ‘I just want to try that back on you.’ Can you imagine? And then they’d go, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry. I can’t believe I just said that.’ And I’d be like, ‘I know.’ That was sort of funny, but for the most part, it’s fine.”

High voltage projects for a couple can often short-circuit a relationship, but Leoni isn’t worried about that. “People say, ‘What are you going to do if your movie’s bigger than his or his is bigger than yours?’ Truthfully, this town will eat you up and spit you out. You’d better hope that the guy or woman lying next to you in bed is there to tell you, ‘You did great anyway, baby, don’t worry about it.’ Otherwise you’re in trouble. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

The gander, who is starring in the summer comedy, “Evolution,” has admitted that he’s not much help around the house. She seconds the motion. “He’s not a terrible husband but he’s not a good chore-doer. He is not,” she shakes her head. “I have to allocate. Sometimes I say, ‘Listen, I don’t want to allocate. The trash is overflowing, think about it, just think about it. I’m not going to tell you to do anything about it, I just want you to look at it and think about it.'”

Of course, they could hire someone to do it, and sometimes they do, she says. “There are times when we’re both working and you do need somebody to take out the trash ’cause I’ve got the baby and nanny with me and we’re both gone and the dogs will actually get into the trash if the lid is not locked. We definitely have help around the house, but I’m careful about that. You can also lose touch with your life. All this stuff you’re doing and bringing home and suddenly you don’t even know your own zip code, and I don’t think that’s right.”