• Golden Globe Awards

Oral History: Jennifer Connelly on Becoming a Mother

Jennifer Connelly, who stars in the TV series Snowpiercer, talked to HFPA journalists in 2001 about becoming a mother for the first time to her son Kai, when she was single, then in 2003 after she married Paul Bettany and had a baby son, Stellan.
“It would be much easier to answer how becoming a mother hasn’t changed me, but I probably wouldn’t have anything to say. In terms of my work, the choices that I make have changed in so many ways. Now I think about the world that my son Kai is growing up in, and I don’t want to put anything out into the world that’s going to cause any more suffering or pain or confusion, which isn’t to say I won’t make challenging movies, like Requiem for a Dream.  I’m drawn to movies that are wrestling with something that I feel is important, so I want to make responsible films.”
“On a more personal level, there’s this poem by E.E. Cummings ‘Somewhere I’ve never traveled, gladly beyond,’ where there’s a line that says ‘nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands,’ and it reminds me of my son. The ways in which he’s been able to reach inside me and open me up, I never would have imagined that anyone could have reached me in that way. And practically now my whole life is different, whereas I spent a lot of time alone before, my child happens to be very socially active and he demands a lot of playtime, so now I’m really part of a community because of him.”
“I don’t think it’s important to be married necessarily. I’m very grateful that my son has a good relationship with his father (photographer David Dugan) that’s very consistent, so I really support that and do everything I can to protect and nurture it. We live in New York, so we see a lot of different versions of family and it helps my son feel more comfortable with our version of our family, but he thinks of us as a family, his father and I still co-parent, even though we don’t live together.”
“Now my life circumstances don’t really allow me to bring my work home too much. I have my son Kai, and when I come home, I want to play with him, to help him with his Lego projects, so I don’t really have time to sulk in a corner. My husband Paul loves to make fun of me for taking myself too seriously, so he wouldn’t really tolerate that either.”
“The baby is another element to balance, but Stellan is here now and he will travel with us everywhere. When kids are little it’s actually easier. The harder part will be that, as Kai gets older, he will need to stay in school. That’ll be something to negotiate, but it’s worked out well so far, and I feel like we can balance it all.”