Kyra Sedgwick talks empty nest, her new comedy, and still liking her husband
When it comes to hashtag couple goals, you can’t really aim much higher than Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon. Sedgwick, 55, and Bacon, 62, have been together since 1988. That’s 33 years. As a point of reference, that’s roughly two-and-a-half times as long as FDR’s presidential term in office. But here’s the thing. When their daughter Sosie, 28, and son Travis, 31, vacated the family home to strike out on their own, Sedgwick had something of personal reckoning. A marital come to Jesus moment, if you will.
“First of all, one thing that happened was that I was like, ‘Do I even like my husband?’ I hope so. I hope I want to hang out with him,” says Sedgwick.
With her kids, Sedgwick takes a decidedly hands-off approach, allowing them to come her with problems instead of prying into their lives. But being an actress has its many perks, one of which is the ability to dip into a life vastly unlike your own. On ABC’s Call Your Mother, streaming now, Sedgwick plays the needy Jean, the kind of mom who inserts breastfeeding anecdotes into casual conversation with her kids and helps her adult son deal with a splinter.
“I feel like it’s more evocative than ever — the concept of call your mother. Nobody tells you when you first start out this whole crazy journey that you are going to be in it for life. I worked through both pregnancies and my kids are grown and mom is still number one on my resume,” says Sedgwick.
She talks to Scary Mommy about empty nesting, pandemic parenting, and why there’s no such thing as a vacation from being a mom.
Kyra, it’s so nice to see you in a comedy at last, and I feel like everyone needs some cheering up at the moment.
I love comedy. I wanted to do more of it. I just feel like life is hard right now for the world and laughter couldn’t be more vital. I really hope we get a second season so we can do it in front of the studio audience. I want to set up a problem in the beginning of a show and I want it to be solved pretty much by the end of the show.
I also feel like right now, everyone I know has bumped up against their parents, their families. There’s no escape.
That’s 100 percent true. I have never spent this much time together with my kid. And it never stops.
I remember literally doing a movie and I’m going to drop another name — Paul Newman — I’m just going to drop names, that’s happening today. I was 23 and I had just had my son literally two months earlier. I was breastfeeding him on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Bridge. Paul said to me, ‘You never stop worrying about them.’ And I was like, ‘What? I’m sorry, what?’
This concept was not one I had considered, to be perfectly honest with you. And I think about it all the time, because I think about them all the time. And I worry about them. I wonder how they’re doing and what did they have for breakfast? I want to give them the dignity of their journey. I’ve got all sorts of thoughts about their journeys, but I keep it to myself. I stay out of it for the most part and wait for them to come to me if they ever want feedback, advice, et cetera.
Did you lose your mind when your kids moved out? I am dreading the day my son leaves, even though I would never tell him that. Did you grapple with a whole shifting of who you were?
Well, I had to look at myself and my husband. So that was a really big part of my concern about empty nesting. Did I still like the guy? During this pandemic, it’s nine months of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and I still liked the guy. So lucky me. So that’s a big deal. I think that’s one big check off the worry list. Suddenly I was like, ‘Yeah, you know, I really do.’ In fact, we still have stuff to talk about if we don’t talk about the kids 24/7.
I think the concept of it is much scarier than the actual reality of it, because the truth is like, they do leave and they never quite come back the same. It is a very clear dividing line. So even if they do come back, it’s different because they’ve been out on their own in the world. It’s so fulfilling to see them out in the world, just being able to be outside in the world and cope with stuff. Stuff is always going to come up. But they can handle it — it brings me such joy and such sense of completion. I think, ‘Good job. You did it, you did okay.’ You didn’t completely fuck it up, you know?
Being back at work during a raging pandemic is horrifying, gratifying, a combo of both?
I couldn’t be happier doing this job. I have so much fun doing it. I feel like I get better all the time. I feel like it’s been a real challenge and it is all hard. Comedy is hard. The timing is very exacting. And especially with sitcoms, it’s really like math.
I love my cast and I think that we’re trauma-bonding a little bit right now. It’s terrifying. I want the show to be so well received. I want people to love it. But this more so, because I am literally putting my life on the line for this. I think people feel really fulfilled and grateful to have the job. I feel so grateful everyone. And I look out on a sea of masks and shields — we’re only allowed to take our mask off for quick moments between action and cut. I always feel responsible for the group.