Oprah: What's the most challenging part of motherhood?
Julianne: The endurance it takes. I always tell people that having a new baby is not necessarily difficult—it's just incredibly time-consuming. And it keeps going and going. You learn how to live on very little sleep, and you just power through things.
Oprah: Nicole, what's been the biggest challenge of motherhood for you?
Nicole: My instinct is to protect my children from pain. But adversity is often the thing that gives us character and backbone. For me it's always been a struggle to back off and let my children go through difficult experiences.
Oprah: We all know that in the past few years, you've lived through some adversity of your own.
Nicole: Yes, my marriage just sort of fell apart. I think a character can sometimes come into your life because she's meant to be there. The dead can give us gifts. And Virginia Woolf gave me the gift of being able to play her at a time when I was depressed and in an emotional struggle. I used her knowledge. In the same way that life feeds art, art feeds life.
Oprah: Didn't someone recently come up to you and say, "You look happy again"?
Nicole: A waitress who was bringing me the check whispered, "It's so good to see you happy again."
Oprah: How did you feel?
Nicole: I thought, "Good—I'm glad you think that." No, really, I hadn't thought I'd been looking so good before then, either. Life is about contrasts. There's a beautiful line in the film that says "Why does somebody have to die? So that we can appreciate life more." We actually don't want everything to always exist perfectly.
Oprah: Then we wouldn't appreciate the joys.
Nicole: I also believe that so much of happiness is about just taking time to ask yourself, "What do I actually feel right now?" in the midst of the rushing.
Oprah: Were you glad to be working so soon after the breakup?
Nicole: I didn't want to do this movie! I'm known for quitting a film a week before shooting starts.