Linda Hamilton had some serious doubts about playing a mother of two devastated by her husband's recent death in the ABC movie-of-the-week, Bailey's Mistake (airing March 18). However, she then learned that the telepic was, strangely enough, a whimsical comedy.

"The woman in grief, the woman recovering from loss — I've done all that in real life," the Terminator 2 heroine admits to TV Guide Online. "I was after something funny. I loved the fascinating collection of eccentrics who live on a magical island owned by my character's late husband."

Facing life as a single mom with two kids is something Hamilton knows something about. The actress — who endured a tumultuous and very public break-up with Titanic director James Cameron — is raising her two children, 11-year-old Dylan (son with actor-ex Bruce Abbott) and eight-year old Josephine (daughter with Cameron) alone. "The hardest part was having my heartbreak become national and international news," she says of her divorce. "You realize that your broken marriage has become fodder for other people.

"People would say to me, 'I can't go anywhere without seeing your face,'" she remembers, "but they didn't address the fact that it was because my marriage had just fallen apart. That's the kind of world we're growing up in."

In spite of the pain, Hamilton reveals that some good came out of her failed marriage. "I think it was only when Jim and I broke up that I truly realized I had made my own impact on the world," she says. "It seemed like I heard from every person I had ever met — from make-up artists to ministers from churches I hadn't been to in ten years. People sought me out to give me their support.

"It changed my life," she continues. "I realized for the first time that I'm loved. That's a great lesson to take away from something tragic."