"If this all had happened to me when I was 25, I would have been shaving my head and driving over people's feet!" jokes Kate Walsh, digging into a plate of bacon and eggs at the Alcove Café in L.A. while referencing the train wreck that can occur when becomes too successful too young. "But I know myself now," she adds, those famously red lips of hers curled in a wise smile, "and I can appreciate it all."
And what a treasure trove there is for her to appreciate. For starters, she's just driven here from the $4.75-million Spanish-style home she purchased last summer with Alex Young, the hotshot copresident of production at Fox, with whom she tied the knot at a three-day shindig in September. And after breakfast, she's off to transform herself into sassy, sexy Dr. Addison Montgomery, who left gloomy Seattle and the megahit Grey's Anatomy for sunny L.A. and her very own show. Private Practice (Wednesdays, 9 pm/ET, ABC), of course, has become one of the precious few hits of this season, with Walsh easing into the leading-lady role with gusto.
Grinning and glowing, Walsh, who just turned 40, is definitely enjoying the bounty the past year has brought her.
TV Guide: Kate, what a year you've had! What's it been like?
Like a growing tornado that keptpicking up things along the way. I kept thinking,"Oh, it'll slow down," but really, it's beenlike a wave and I've just been riding it.
TV Guide: Let's start at the beginning: Private Practice was officially announced last February,but when did you really find out?
A coupleof weeks earlier — and it was strange to notbe able to talk about it. But we were so usedto being sworn to secrecy about the plotlineson Grey's that it was also, like, "I alreadyfeel like I work for the CIA, so it's not that biga deal to keep quiet." [Laughs]
TV Guide: You also met the man you'd marry in February. As the legend now goes, you moved in together the following month, he proposed in May and you married in September. Are you nuts?
[Laughs] Listen, you justknow. I met him at this work meeting wherewe ended up talking for two hours and it wasjust like boom! — love at first sight. I knowthat sounds nauseating and you want to hitme, but it's true. Afterward, I was like a catwithout a whisker, and I went to a dinnerparty and a friend went, "What's wrong withyou?" I said, "I met somebody — a person Iwould make sacrifices for!"
TV Guide: What a funny thing to say!
Yes! And Alex used to take issue with it. "Sacrifices? Sounds bad." And I'm like, "No, that's really good!" Anyway, a few days later, he came over and my dog and cats all crawled on him like he was Dr. Dolittle — a very important sign! — and then we went out to dinner and I was like, "That's it!"
TV Guide: And "it," you clever girl, turned out to be a younger man.
Walsh: For sure — I'm four yearsolder than Alex, so I'm a cougar, baby! Oneof our show's producers said he went onsome website where I was even Cougar ofthe Week! [Laughs and snarls like a cat]
TV Guide: So I heard that butterflies played a role in Alex's proposal?
Oh, our whole theme isbutterflies. I see a butterfly every day —like, literally, ever since I was a baby. So wewere up in San Francisco at Gary Danko's restaurantand there was this amazing butterflypainting on the wall, and then I looked down atmy appetizer and it was tuna tartare — shapedlike a butterfly with these crazy wasabi antennae.And then he asked me. It was like agreat dream that I've never experienced.
TV Guide: It's even more interesting considering that not long before this happened, didn't you say you'd given up on the idea of marriage?
Absolutely. I think that was becauseeverybody in this culture gets a littleobsessed with age and, for women, the twobig things related to that are marriage andchildren. We live in a baby-obsessed cultureand everyone assumes that we're born tobreed. I said, "Well, maybe not. Do I wantthat badly enough to go and have one on myown? No, I don't. I'd rather have my life andfind a partner and, hopefully, love — that'sthe most important thing." And, also, in thisbusiness we get to dress up in pretty dressesand pretend all the time, so it wasn't like,"Oh, I need my one big day!"
TV Guide: Which, nonetheless, you got — along with a little heat sickness — when you got married in Ojai, California, on Sept. 1. What happened?
First, there was a blackout,then I was dehydrated.… It was 105degrees, I'm in a long-sleeved lace gown,and, all of a sudden, I go [whispers], "Alex,I can't feel my hands!" He's like, "It's OK,baby, just breathe." Then I look down andmy hands are, literally, clawed around mybouquet. I thought I was having a stroke. Sothe minister goes, "Can you just make itto the kneeling part?" and I go, "I don't thinkso." [Laughs] So we had to take five. Thebest part was someone went to get mymakeup artist and was like, "Sir, could youplease come with us right away?!" Someoneelse asked, "Is that a doctor?" and my assistantgoes, "No, it's the makeup artist!"
TV Guide: Hooray for Hollywood! You had another milestone right after that when you turned 40. Did you have any freak-outs?
So muchwas happening at once, I didn't have time tofreak: Private Practice started, I got married,then, a month later, I turned 40. My onlyguilty lament was… well, I'd just had all myfriends and family up for the wedding, but Iwas like, "In case you didn't get enough ofme, everybody, time to celebrate me!"[Laughs] But Alex planned the most amazingbirthday party — the guy has a secondcareer as a party planner if things don'twork out being copresident of production atFox. The greatest Alex idea was a photobooth, which became the life of the party.What happens in the photo booth stays inthe photo booth, that's all I'm sayin'!
TV Guide: What's the best thing about marriage so far?
The more everything was happeningprofessionally, the more imperative itbecame to have someone to share it with. 'Cause [this kind of success] is so rewarding,but it is extreme and exhausting. And youfeel like, "If I don't have anybody to share itwith.…" I can only call my mom and brotherso many times. You need support and loveand balance — and, also, someone whocares and can call you on your s--t, too!
TV Guide: How does Alex feel about all the face-sucking you do with Tim Daly for the sake of Private Practice?
He's like, "We shouldjust call the show Addison Gets Worked!"See, Tim and I are obsessed with making thekisses look real. The other night, Alex was watching at home and I called and said, "Did it seem hot?" and he said, "Yeah, it was really hot — if I wasn't your husband!" [Laughs]But you'd have to be a sociopath to be ableto detach and go, "That's cool, babe. I knowit's just your job." It's weird.
TV Guide: And now Alex's kisses are captured for the cameras, too. The tabloids recently ran photos of the two of you making out in a supermarket. How weird is that?
The grocerystore make-out, sure! Listen, as soon aswe pull away from our house, usually on Saturdays,there's a line of four cars followingus. But what are ya gonna do? This is part ofthe job. To go to work and act is playing; theactual work is the paparazzi, the politics,everything else. But hey, I'm not gonna notgo grocery shopping — it's literally becomea novelty, like, "Hey, let's go grocery shopping.Exciting!" All of your life changes withthis success. But, come on, it's glorious.Glorious! [Big laugh] I'm so happy, it'smorbid.
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