TV Guide: Thirteen is such a mystery, and we still don't know her name. What can you tell us about her?
The mystery is what defines her right now and sets her apart from the other women in House's life. Cameron has a giant heart; she loves to help wounded animals and wounded people. Cuddy wants to be a mother and takes care of House like a child. Thirteen isn't like that at all. She's more guy-like. She shies away from emotion. She has no interest in laying down her soul — aside from small flashes, like when she revealed she didn't want to know whether she carried the gene for Huntington's disease, like her mother. For now, though, it's the mystery that makes her so intriguing, especially to House.
TV Guide: What's House's damage? He hires beautiful women but can't be in a relationship with one. Why not?
His mommy issues are endless, I think. But it comes down to his maturity level. He was so focused on the brain all his life that he never really worked out his social side. So although he likes being around women, he can't quite figure out what to do when it comes to actual intimacy.
TV Guide: Would Thirteen ever have a fling with House?
Who knows? I can't see them as compatible, so I doubt it. She keeps squiggling out from under his thumb. But this show is so full of surprises, you never know.
TV Guide: Foreman suggested that Thirteen is bisexual. You also played Mischa Barton's bisexual love interest on The O.C. Are you trying to tell us something?
Not at all! [Laughs] I just like playing challenging, ambiguous characters. No, I'm very happily married.
TV Guide: In fact, your husband [documentary filmmaker Tao Ruspoli] is the son of an Italian prince. Does that give you special privileges around the House set?
I'm afraid not. No special parking spaces or tiaras. Since it's only a papal title, it doesn't carry a lot of weight, but his family does have a beautiful castle and palazzo in Italy, so that makes me feel like a princess.
TV Guide: What was it like growing up with a mom [Leslie Cockburn] who covered war and strife as a producer for 60 Minutes?
I had this muddy map of the Middle East in my brain but didn't really know what it meant that Mom was going there. I remember her doing a piece on famine in Somalia and feeling all this empathy for the world and the pain people face in places like that. But mostly I was shielded from it. All I knew about Afghanistan was that Mom brought me back a beautiful purple burka. It wasn't until I read her autobiography that I realized how much danger she actually faced.
TV Guide: House makes you aware of other dangers. Does learning about all those weird diseases ever freak you out?
I've learned so much about the human body from this show. I didn't know where my spleen or liver were. Then, over the break, I went to Thailand and got dengue fever and suddenly felt like I was in a real House episode [when] those organs were threatening to burst. Thankfully, that episode had a happy ending.
TV Guide: Got any scoop on the rest of House's season?
I'm most excited about the two final episodes. House is facing some kind of mental impairment and needs to diagnose without being as sharp as he usually is. He's in an interesting state. Thirteen and everyone else are more worried about him than they've been in a long time. I can't tell you too much, but those episodes are more ambitious and exciting than any film script I've ever read. It's going to be unbelievable.
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