Lights, Camera, Lori

She’s just like any other mom next door. If you live next to a beautiful, talented and down-to-earth actress like Lori Loughlin. We asked the mother of three how manages to keep it real in Hollywood.

We caught up with Lori after a frazzled morning spent at the hospital with her injured husband. Fortunately he was on-the-mend by lunch time, but it just goes to show at-home accidents happen in any household – even the famous ones. Lori was able to master the art of multi-tasking by chatting with us on her cell, running to her next appointment while thinking about what to cook up for dinner. Sound familiar?

Loughlin is not far off from any other mom out there. She enjoys the goods things in life in moderation (like ice cream and other yummy foods), she keeps her toned physique with regular Pilates sessions, and her views on parenting are sensible and loving. We got a sneak peak into the life on the on and off screen mom.

ooking back at her laundry list of parts and guest appearances over the years, you might notice Loughlin seems to gravitate towards motherly roles. Perhaps she is instinctively maternal? Or because she is a mom herself? Or maybe she just goes for the good roles? It’s a little bit of everything for the 45-year old California mom.

“I think I chose those roles because they come naturally.  Like Summerland, I created that character (wrote, produced and stared in it) for myself. Even though I was the Aunt, I was the motherly figure taking care of my orphaned niece and nephews.

I also like to be involved in shows that have a family dynamic because there is something for everyone to watch. I remember growing up with TV shows like Happy Days and the Partridge Family and we all sat around and watched it together. I’d like to bring that back to the tube.”

What really brought the Full House star (known fondly as ‘Becky Donaldson’) back to prime time, is the reincarnation of the 1990’s generation-defining drama, Beverly Hills 90210.  In the new CW network hit 90210 The Next Generation, Loughlin plays Debbie Wilson, the mom of lead characters Anne and Dixon Wilson. Their family follows a similar story line to that of the Walsh’s, plucked straight from the cornfields of middle-America Kansas and plunked into the most famous zip code in California. Although Lori’s character is a far cry from the show’s original matriarch, Cindy Walsh.  Lori admits it was a bit daunting to follow up a huge series like Beverly Hills 90210 and living up to the hype (especially with all the media coverage it received straight off the bat). Although it wasn’t long before she realized it was an entirely new show, a new character, and new cast to boot. With their first season behind them, they’ll be hitting the screen with another new school year this fall.

The new 90210’s sexy cast has a whole set of new issues to deal with. The reality is that the world has changed a lot since we said goodbye to Brenda, Brandon and the famous Aaron Spelling series. Parenting practices and the way we interact with our kids has changed. And Lori knows this both from experience, and watching her characters evolve over the years. “The show takes a fresh, new approach to parenting styles. Today we’re (parents) allowed to make mistakes, we’re allowed to be different, and we have different options than we used to.”

The mother of three children off-screen might be bringing home teenage drama in a few years herself. Lori’s daughters Isabella (10), and Olivia (9), are sweetly preoccupied not with boys, but with little girl thoughts like movies, camp, and baseball. It’s her teenage son Gianni, 17, who she’s cutting a bit of slack these days as he finds his independence.

When asked about her views on how some parents today struggle with the balance between being their child’s friends and being their parent, Lori had something to say about her experiences both on and off screen.

Funny enough this is a topic that we touched on in the episode we’re shooting right now. Harry (Rob, father of Annie and Dixon) tells Debbie (me) she is getting too involved with their kids’ personal lives. Harry wants to ground them, but Debbie is opposed because she feels they don’t respond to that type of discipline anymore. Parenting today is different than 10 years ago even, and it’s really important to talk to you kids and have an open dialogue and line of communication.

At a certain point there’s only so much control that you have over their choices. There comes a time when you have to ease up, because you’ve taught them right from wrong, and given them the information and the tools they need to make the right decisions. It’s up to them to be smart about it.

Q: How do you communicate with your kids, your son, at his age, in particular?

The conversations you have with your kids should start when they’re young, and keeping them aware of the dangers out there and how they could be harmed.  You need that open dialogue because at some point they’re going to start drinking and go out, but he (Gianni) should be smart enough to call her if he gets into trouble or has had too much to drink and we need to drive his car home etc. But we always tell him that if he stumbles into a situation where he feels vulnerable or something is off that he can always reach back to us. Instead of scolding them, we try to empower our children while keeping them safe.

We always tell our son, “safety and well being first.”

Q: Do you find parenting in Hollywood any different than parenting anywhere else? Do you face any challenges or opportunities that come with being a celebrity mom?

I can’t really say, because I haven’t parented anywhere else!

On a whole though, I find it different than when we were kids. The world seemed to be a much safer place when I was growing up. We had a lot more freedom and would ride our bikes around the neighbourhood for hours, and all your friends lived on the same street. I don’t know if it’s the media that has called attention to negative things we see on TV, or reports of children going missing and things happening across the world, but I don’t remember that being on TV when I was a kid.  The world seems to be a scarier place now, and we’re a lot more protective of our kids and can tend to hover move than my parents did when I was a kid.

Photos by Brie Childers

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