Jeanne Tripplehorn, <EM>Big Love</EM> Jeanne Tripplehorn, Big Love

HBO's Big Love went out with a big bang last season, when First Wife Barb was unceremoniously exposed as a polygamist at Utah's Mother of the Year ceremony. As the second season begins (tonight at 9 pm/ET), we asked Jeanne Tripplehorn about Barb now coming unglued.

TV Guide: Is this the beginning of the end for the Henricksons?
No, but everybody's sort of in disarray. The other wives are really concerned about Barb. She knows she put her family in jeopardy out of vanity, and she's paying for it. The family sort of blows apart for a little bit.

TV Guide: The show's premise is decidedly out of the mainstream, not to mention illegal. Yet these characters earn our sympathy.
It's [executive producers] Mark [V. Olsen] and Will [Scheffer]. They adore these characters, and they want to make sure the audience understands them, their motives and who they are. The Henricksons are incredibly spiritual, and like the title says, they have a lot of love.

TV Guide: So the theme didn't turn you off?
No, I thought it was great. When they gave me the role, I started laughing, and I said, "Just when you thought you'd seen it all on TV."

TV Guide: The wives seem to serve different purposes. Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin) has a childlike innocence, while Nicki (Chloe Sevigny) has a connection to power. But is Barb Bill's one true love?
Exactly. She's his soul mate. If she hadn't gone through cancer, they definitely would not be in a polygamist relationship. Bill was having money problems and Barb was dying, so they went back to the compound to lick their wounds and get back on their feet, and that's when Nicki came into the picture. But it all spun out of control, because Barb lived.

TV Guide: You've played in films opposite Tom Cruise, Kevin Costner, Hugh Grant. So how does Bill Paxton measure up?
Well, he's an incredible dancing partner. I have a smile on my face every day I go to work, and he's a huge part of that. We have a nice shorthand because we're from the same part of the country: He comes from Texas, I'm from Oklahoma. He has an understanding of where we come from and who we are.

TV Guide: Any plans for Bill to add another wife this season?
I don't know.

TV Guide: You mean if you told me, you'd have to kill me?
Exactly. I don't know.

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