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Lisa Kudrow Shares Her Dos and Don\'ts (It\'s the Best Advice We\'ve Gotten All Year!)
Lisa Kudrow is a rare breed of Hollywood superstar. Perhaps the only Emmy winner with a bachelor’s in biology (Vassar, ’85), Kudrow has made her name as a comedy trailblazer with characters like Phoebe Buffay in
. Then there’s this: Back in 2005 she created—and starred in—HBO’s
, a mockumentary about Valerie Cherish, a D-list actress who agrees to a reality show with the hope that it will restore her former glory. The cult show was ahead of its (pre-Kardashian) time and canceled after one season. Nearly a decade later, it’s making its own buzzy comeback. But despite her success the 51-year-old knows what matters: She and Michel Stern will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in May and have raised son Julian, 16, out of the spotlight. She’s been friends—real friends—with Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox for decades. She’s the kind of celeb you actually want advice from and riffs on living a well-rounded life here.
I never thought I’d be an actress. It wasn’t even on my mind when I was 22, sitting at graduation. Then something hit me: You’ve always kind of wanted to be an actress—
is the time to try. If it doesn’t work out, you can go back to school and catch up on evolutionary science. My brother’s best friend, [comic] Jon Lovitz, said to go to the Groundlings School for improv.
wasn’t until, like, eight years later. You never know what the next opportunity will be, so you have to be open, especially starting out.
With any rejection, you can’t help but consider how correct people were for rejecting you. What helps? Having someone you respect who thinks you’re good, so the story is: Well, they think I’m good, so I’ll keep going. [My improv classmate] Conan O’Brien completely helped
When [Michel and I] decided to get married, we understood: We’re not promising to love each other forever, because you can’t do that, but we
promising to work on whatever problems come up. We’re committed to our marriage working. It turns out, after you have a history, there’s such a bond, and love takes another shape. But, oh, I don’t want to jinx it—I’m superstitious!
[Michel and I] respect each other’s independence, and I don’t mean that as a euphemism. I don’t mean relationshipwise outside the marriage. Clear? But I don’t like to travel. So if he wants to go on a golf trip, he goes. I think people get in trouble [when they assume they’re] supposed to be one unit, in sync about everything. [Marriage] is like being on a team. Each teammate is different, but you have the same goal.
I feel strange addressing [work-life balance] because I think most people do not have a choice—both parents need to work—so for me the guilt is I do not
to be working, but I do like it a lot. So I try to make it all as 9-to-5 as possible. I stopped doing out-of-town films years ago. You have to know your kid. [Julian] wasn’t a kid [I could uproot] to New York, then London.
I’m too afraid to do Botox or filler or plastic surgery. It doesn’t mean I won’t
do it, but it all scares me a little too much. I think everyone’s beautiful when they’re smiling. So I try to be happy. Drink in the good stuff.
[Courteney, Jennifer,] and I—we’ve known each other for over 20 years. We had lunch together every day for 10 years, and it just mostly feels like, Well, that wasn’t enough time at all; I want more, please. When we get together for a dinner now, it feels like,
As you get older, there are fewer Dos and Don’ts. You’re less judgmental of yourself and others. My advice: Be a good listener; human beings are very complicated.
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