Scarlett Johansson: ‘Motherhood Is The Best Thing That Has Ever Happened’

Ghost in the Shell star Scarlett Johansson opens up to Playboy about her thoughts on monogamy, relationships and life with her 2-year-old daughter Rose.

On if motherhood changed her: “Oh, it has changed me, yes. Just the process of being pregnant and giving birth was incredibly profound. Also surrendering to the fact that with babies, and particularly infants and toddlers, you have to let go of your expectations and of whatever instincts you have to take control of the situation. Of course, being a mother, you have to make decisions all the time that affect this person who is completely dependent on you, but you also have to surrender to the experience, and that in itself is really liberating. For me, it’s the best thing that has ever happened. Ever. Somebody once described it to me as your heart growing this other chamber, and I think that’s really profoundly true. Your capacity to love something, at least in my experience, deepens to a whole other space. I think I was afraid that life would change, and it does; it dramatically changes. But I feel in a lot of ways more myself now than I did before.” 

On the importance of self-care: “I understand the importance of my own happiness now more than I did before. Because you see how it affects somebody else, and you’re kind of like, If I’m not happy, then I can’t be in tip-top shape for this other person.”

On being a working mom: “Where I want to be working is definitely something. That’s just a practical part of it, though I’m fortunately at a place in my career, after 20-whatever years, where I can dictate that a little bit. It will probably get more challenging as she gets older, once she’s in school and her life is more established in one place. It’s a struggle for a lot of people, because we exist in this weird nomadic industry where almost everybody on a crew has a family, and it’s hard. It’s hard on relationships; it’s hard on your partner, your kids, family in general, friends.”

On her feelings about monogamy: “Well, with every gain there’s a loss, right? So that’s a loss. You have to choose a path. I think the idea of marriage is very romantic; it’s a beautiful idea, and the practice of it can be a very beautiful thing. I don’t think it’s natural to be a monogamous person. I might be skewered for that, but I think it’s work. It’s a lot of work. And the fact that it is such work for so many people—for everyone—the fact of that proves that it is not a natural thing. It’s something I have a lot of respect for and have participated in, but I think it definitely goes against some instinct to look beyond.

On her second marriage to Romain Dauriac: “It felt different. I had a really young baby at the time, so that also—our family dynamic was just different. I don’t know. Whatever that is, the thing you can’t fully put words to, it changed.”

For more from Scarlett, go to Playboy

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