Chyler Leigh is one busy mama! She is spreading her wings in a Lifetime Original Movie, The 19th Wife, the story of ’19th Wife’ and fundamentalist polygamous sect First Church of Latter Day Saints. The movie airs this Monday (September 13) at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime Television. Celebrity Baby Scoop had a chance to speak with the Grey’s Anatomy star and mom-of-three about her role as a wife in a polygamous community, making family her number one priority and sharing parenting advice with her Grey’s co-stars.
CBS: Tell us about your three kids, Noah, Taelyn and Anniston. What are they like and what are they into?
CL: “That’s a loaded question. My husband and I dropped my son [Noah] off for his first day of first grade. He’s an an incredibly compassionate child who cares about the human condition. At such an early age, he asks very deep, thought-provoking questions. And he cares about his family. As much as he may bicker with his younger sister, the middle one, they get along really well and he cares about her well being so much. He loves the ocean. He’s all things boy. He wants to play hockey because daddy played hockey. He’s got an incredible sense of humor. He’s going to be 7 in November.
Taelyn, our middle, she just turned 4 on September 5th. So we did the Disneyland trip where she got to be a complete and total princess which was hilarious. She has a Belle princess doll. And that’s very much what she’s interested in. She’s totally into that and Dora the Explorer. She’s obsessed. She’s a very passionate kid. She loves singing and dancing. All things performance, which scares me.
And Annie, she is 16 months. She’s another one. She’s hilarious, has a great sense of humor. She’s our talker which was quite a surprise to us. Our two other kids had a bit of a speech delay when they were young. We went through speech therapy and occupational therapy for my son, all the speech development process that we could. And here’s Annie at 16 months and she communicates. She might be our rocket scientist!”
CBS: In 19 Wives, you had the opportunity to delve into the world of polygamy. What is your secret to a successful marriage?
CL: “Time. Time together as much as we can. Because we don’t have a lot of quantity time, we make it as quality as possible. A big thing for us is being able to get out of the house to even just look at each other. It’s really important to us to take that time and work on our marriage. To refocus about marriage and take time to build each other up. We’re a huge support system for each other, and we’re a team. We both come from an experience of divorce and difficult family situations. When you go through something like that, you have a choice to genuinely change it and make huge changes not only in yourself, but also in the way you work together. We cherish that. We work really hard to make our family the number one priority no matter what.”
On being married to more than one person:
CL: “I couldn’t imagine it and wouldn’t want to. I’m quite content.”
On her co-star Patricia Wettig:
CL: “She’s such a pro. She’s an incredibly funny woman, so witty. She did an incredible job with the character. I was so proud of the work we all did on this movie. I felt honored to work with everyone.”
On what viewers can expect on this season’s Grey’s Anatomy:
CL: “The trauma [from last season] manifests itself differently in each character. My character has a complete breakdown. She can’t stop thinking and can’t sleep. She ends up in the psych ward.”
On the love triangle on Grey’s:
CL: “There’s not much of a love triangle. It becomes a question of who’s going to be there for her after her breakdown and you’ll see that right away in the first episode.”
On sharing parenting advice with her Grey’s co-stars:
CL: “Yes, we all do. Jessica Capshaw is going to be a second-time mom. Chandra Wilson has three kids. There are something like 20 kids between all of us. We talk about what things work and don’t work.”
On what she’s passionate about and what inspires her:
CL: “I’m involved with Generosity Water and the Thirst Project, organizations that work towards ending the water crisis in Africa and other parts of the world by creating wells and using rain harvesting systems. They’re able to supply thousands of people with clean water.
I also support a campaign against human trafficking. Being a mom, I love all children and as a human being, I feel we have an obligation to do what we can to protect women and children.”