The always gorgeous and down-to-earth Rebecca Romijn has conquered the world of modeling and acting. Next up for the successful 37-year-old Ugly Betty star? Mother of multiples! Rebecca and her husband Jerry O’Connell welcomed their adorable twin daughters – Dolly and Charlie – in December 2008. Celebrity Baby Scoop sat down with the model mom and discussed the challenges of raising two at once, the joys of motherhood and the importance of making time alone with your partner amidst the trenches of twins.
CBS: Is Dolly the one who looks like you?
RR: “Yes, Dolly is the one who looks like me [in blue tee above] and Charlie is the one who looks like Jerry. Jerry’s mother just sent us a photo of Jerry’s grandmother when she was Charlie’s age and they look identical.”
CBS: And you even kept the name in the family (Charlie was named after Jerry’s brother)!
RR: “It just worked out that way. When I was pregnant, I named them before I even met them. I could sense which one was which. It was funny, the second or third day I was in the hospital, I tried swapping their names and nobody could do it. It was set, it was in the stars.”
CBS: Your girls are absolutely gorgeous! Do you think Jerry is prepared for the teen years?
RR: “No, I don’t think any of us are! We just keep reminding ourselves that if we think it’s tough now, wait till they’re 15 and revert back to toddlers. We’ll see. Wish us luck!”
CBS: How are your girls different and how are they the same?
RR: “They are both extremely willful and curious and active.
Dolly is really social. She’s at this really funny age where she wants to play with the older kids at the playground. She’ll run up to groups of older girls and get right in the middle of them and start babbling and then laughing hysterically because that’s what they’re doing. She can’t even talk yet!
And Charlie’s a little more reserved. She’ll sit off to the side and observe. For a while there we thought Dolly was the wild child and Charlie was completely safe. But now we’re noticing that Charlie has got her bravado on these days. She’s climbing to the big girl slide and attempting to go down herself – which of course worries us. It’s been amazing and so cute. We laugh a lot. We try to keep it light.”
CBS: What a whirlwind it’s been for you guys. What’s your best advice for parents of twins?
RR: “Since I was pregnant, people were saying, ‘Just wait till 3 months, it’s going to get so much easier.’ And then at 8 months, they said it would get easier. These girls are 17 months and it hasn’t gotten easier yet! I’m still waiting for it to get easier. Maybe it will be when they turn 2?!
But do I have advice yet? I don’t know, I feel like I’m so in the trenches that it’s hard to dole out advice yet. I guess just to try and keep a sense of humor about everything. It’s really easy to get bogged down. You can’t even think straight half the time. I hope that once they start talking, that’s when I hope to cobwebs will start to clear from my head.”
CBS: Have you had a chance to make the time for yourself? Do you think that’s important?
RR: “Absolutely! Actually the best advice I can give to parents of twins is to make time alone with your partner and make sure that’s a priority. Even if it’s just going out to lunch, Jerry and I make sure that we still have dates together. At least every other day we try to go and work out or do lunch or something.
Both of our parents have been extremely helpful. Jerry’s parents live in New York but since the girls have been born, they come out here all the time. They just want to be nearby. When the weather’s bad in New York, they were out here for 6 months and they made themselves completely available to us which was amazing. We actually got a couple weekends away just the two of us which is nice to be able to reconnect. There’s nothing like leaving your kids with their grandparents. You know they’re going to get top-drawer care! His parents are so in love with these girls and they had such a great time with the girls. We had no problem leaving the girls with them.”
CBS: Can you see why the divorce rates are so high for parents of multiples?
RR: “Yes, I can see how people could cycle into a real black hole with parenthood. I can see how it could happen with just one child. If one parent is the primary caretaker and the other is working, resentment can build up for both. For example, last year when I was working for eight months and Jerry was the primary caretaker, I was jealous that he got to spend as much time as he did. I was coming home and he was heating up my dinner and I was watching them on the monitor at night. It was so depressing!
And now he’s back at work and I’m the primary caretaker and it’s like the reverse. He’s jealous that I get to be with the girls all the time and I’m jealous that he gets to go back to work. It also keeps things in perspective. We’re feeling good about tag-teaming with work right now. It’s working really well for us right now.”
CBS: How has motherhood changed you?
RR: “For me, being a mother of girls has softened me up in such a great way. I feel so honored to be a mother of girls. I grew up with a sister and I’m extremely close with my mom and her sisters. I come from a very female-oriented background. Jerry comes from a boy-rich household. I feel like it’s a very big wake-up call for him with a sea of pink all over our house.
I’ve been working for so many years. When you work so hard for so long, your masculine energy comes out a lot. It’s so nice to be soft and girlie with these precious little girls. It’s been really nice.”
CBS: Do you want your girls to walk in your footsteps and enter modeling or acting?
RR: “Not until they are 18. No work until they’re 18, across the board. We did the milk ad but that was college tuition and they’ll never remember it (laughs).
They’ll have our support, but not until they’re 18. I feel strongly about that. I started modeling after my first year of college. I was 18 when I started and right around my 19th birthday, I moved away. Jerry, of course, was a child actor. He comes from a pretty level-headed family. They maintained his level-headedness throughout it.
I feel – especially because we live in Los Angeles and we’re surrounded by it – the girls are going to be growing up around a certain amount of the celebrity world and paparazzi. I want to try to keep them as normal as possible and let them have a normal childhood.”
CBS: Do you think the girls are noticing the paparazzi yet?
RR: “For Jerry and I, it rattles us every single time. When someone comes out form behind a car with something aimed at you, it makes you jump. If someone is wearing black with a giant lense pointed at you coming out from behind a bush, it makes you jump.
For the first time just the other day we were on our way into a restaurant and the girls were absolutely beaming! They had giant smiles on their faces and Jerry and I were like, ‘OK, I guess they’re alright.’ We also don’t want to make it scary for them.
It’s a little bit scary. Of course the babies don’t pick the lifestyle. Then again, they don’t know any different. Babies only know what they know. So it’s up to the parents to make it as safe and normal as possible.
I don’t know the best way to deal with it. We’re in the throws of it ourselves. We make an effort to stay away from the places we know the paparazzi hang out. Sometimes they catch up with us. But there are a lot of people that go to the parks and restaurants where they know the paparazzi are. We never do that. We try to avoid it just because we like our privacy as a family.”
CBS: Has Jerry gone back to school?
RR: “He just finished his first year of law school. He’s officially a 2L. A week after his finals ended, his show got picked up. He’s playing a Los Vegas defense attorney with Jim Belushi in The Defenders. It will be on CBS in the fall on Wednesdays at 10. It’s really good. I just watched the pilot the other night. It feels great.
We’ve been joking that he should do his second year of law school on the set with a tutor like a child actor does. But there’s no way. I don’t know how he did that first year. He worked his butt off. It was no joke! It was night school so he would leave at 4 in the afternoon and come home around 10. He was studying a lot obviously, but he did it. I couldn’t believe.
He’ll do the show and put school on hold for the moment. But he’s definitely going to finish. He wants to get his degree. He went to NYU and it’s an intellectual passion for him and something he’s always wanted to do. He’s always intended to go back to grad school. He would come home from class and it’s what we talk about.”
CBS: And what about his parenting book?
RR: “I think that’s on hold for now.”
CBS: Are you guys going to try for the boy?
RR: “I doubt it! Two just feels so right.”
CBS: Tell us about teaming up with Huggies for their limited-edition Jeans Diaper.
RR: “I teamed up with Huggies to help launch their little denim diaper. It’s so cute! I’m so glad that they’re thinking outside the box when it comes to diapers. I’m actually trying to get them to push it further. I’m like, ‘Why not polka dots and plaid and stripes? Keep going!’ I prefer putting clothes on them when we’re outside the house. But at home on a hot summer day, just a diaper and a T-shirt is fine.
They’re limited edition and only available in June and July. It’s really only a summertime thing.
When I partnered up with them, they offered to donate diapers to LA Diaper Drive which provides diapers to families in need. Diapers are not covered under social safety nets like food stamps – and obviously they’re a basic necessity – so I was really impressed that they were willing to do that and proud to work with them on this. It’s a really cute product!
I’ve heard some people saying, ‘I don’t get it – why should kids be thinking about fashion choices?’ This is not for the babies, it’s for the parents!
They’ve got them in all different sizes. They’re regular Huggies diapers with the image printed on the diaper. They’ve got all the details right down to the stitching and the pockets. It’s so much cuter than the cartoon characters.
My girls have been wearing them and we’ve been getting lots of compliments on them.”
CBS: What’s up next for you?
RR: “At the moment, we’ve decided to tag-team with work. I’m going to be at home with the girls. We’ve got our summer off. Jerry starts shooting for the show in about two months, so we’re going to take a nice long trip with the girls. We’ll go back east and hang with Jerry’s parents. It’s going to be a nice, relaxing summer. I’m really enjoying this time with the girls. I’m loving every second of it.”
CBS: You and Jerry always seem so happy. It looks like you’re really loving parenthood.
RR: “We are just loving it and we really want it to be an enjoyable experience. We know that if we’re not happy, these girls aren’t going to be happy and their happiness is the most important thing in the world to us.”