20 Questions: Eva Amurri Martino Fills Us In

Eva Amurri Martino, who is best known for her role on Showtime’s “Californication,” is having a lot of fun right now. She just announced that she and husband Kyle Martino will welcome their second child, a boy, in the fall. (Their daughter Marlowe is 2.) And, last month she launched her first line of iPhone cases as part of her blog and lifestyle brand Happily Eva After. Recently, Martino, who also happens to be the daughter of Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon, chatted with us about growing up with a famous mom, taking a break from acting, being pregnant again, enduring her recent nanny scandal, and more.

MT: You started acting at age 15. Were you nervous about putting yourself out there, particularly since you were following in your famous mom’s footsteps?
EAM: No! I always say that I did some of my best work at the beginning of my career when I was young. I was so blissfully innocent! I don’t think I ever thought for a second that there were going to be haters or trolls or critics…Your world is so small when you’re a teenager. If anything I was worried about whether I was going to miss the school dance because I was on location somewhere.

MT: Why did you decide to take a break from acting?
EAM: I had reached a time in my acting career where I wasn’t having fun anymore. I wasn’t finding the joy in it. I had a few really disillusioning, frustrating experiences in a row and I just thought to myself, Here I am raising a daughter, I’m planning to tell her she can be anything she wants in the world, and I’m working at something that makes me miserable. What does that say about me and my parenting?

MT: What inspired you to launch your blog, Happily Eva After?
EAM: I wanted to invest my time in something that I could grow, and I wanted to connect with people. I also wanted to remember who I was. As an actor you’re constantly trying to fit into a box of what someone wants you to be for a specific part and I think you lose a lot of yourself in that process …So I decided to try blogging. I got a great response from readers and I realized that this was the kind of thing I had been looking for.

MT: Now on to the really exciting news: You’re expecting a baby boy in the fall! How did you share the big news with your family?
EAM: We were really close to the vest with this pregnancy for a while because I had a miscarriage at almost 10-weeks-pregnant last August. It just felt better to us to wait until we had our genetic testing back and got an idea from our doctor that things were progressing well and normally at 12 weeks. Then, we had a cocktail party with family and close friends where we announced we were pregnant and surprised everyone by bringing out a gender reveal cake to cut! It was so fun to find out we were expecting a little boy at the same time as everyone there.

MT: Does Marlowe understand that she’s going to be a big sister yet?
EAM: She knows that there is a baby in Mama’s tummy, and she calls him by name and kisses my belly in the mornings, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t understand the brother/sister concept or the fact that he will be coming out and joining us forever. Might be a bit of a rude awakening!

MT: How has your pregnancy been going so far?
EAM: Physically, it’s been much more challenging this time around. Having a toddler on top of everything else is much different from getting to nap and just relax during my first pregnancy! I was also much more nauseous this time than with her but thankfully it has more or less subsided now that I’m in my second trimester. Emotionally, this pregnancy has been a challenge as well. As anyone who has suffered a pregnancy loss will tell you, expecting a child after a loss brings a lot of emotion — fear, guilt, sadness, apprehension — alongside the joy of the new life. It’s a really tricky time. I’ve been trying my best to have faith in the process and focus on the positive feelings. It’s so hard to keep your heart open after it’s been broken badly, but it’s so important to learn to do this no matter how scary it is.

MT: You’ve said that you’re more of a “structured parent” than your mom. How so?

EAM: I had to go back to work really quickly after having Marlowe. I wanted to get her on a schedule right away, so that our lives would be organized. She eats at specific times and sleeps at specific times. I think sometimes my mom thinks I’m a little crazy because back in the day she would bring us to the dinner party and we’d fall asleep in the host’s bed, which is not something I would do myself.

MT: Was it difficult to go back to work so quickly after Marlowe was born?
EAM: Yes, I felt a lot of pressure to go out and audition, since I didn’t really work while I was pregnant. In hindsight, I regret giving into that pressure. I think it added a lot to my postpartum stress levels. I have a picture in which Marlowe is around 3-weeks-old and I’m heading out to an audition. I have her in her car seat and you can barely see her, she’s so tiny. My husband had to drive me so I could breastfeed her on the way there. It was such a nightmare, and I remember thinking, Why am I doing this? What I was putting into acting and what I was getting out just wasn’t satisfactory to me at a certain point.

MT: Did you always imagine that you’d have a daughter?

EAM: Yes. I felt such a desire to have a daughter, so it’s so special that I got to experience that. Marlowe is the fourth generation of first-born girls in my family.


MT: What is Marlowe’s personality like?
She is hilarious. She is a handful. She’s very outgoing. She likes to joke around. This morning, for example, she was having her bottle in our bed and Kyle tried to say something to her and she said, ‘Dadda, no!’ And he said, ‘What?’ Then she said, ‘Daddy, get out!’ We had never heard her say anything like that before! Then, since starting daycare, she says ‘Yeah, sure’ when you ask her a question. It’s just so funny. You realize your children are their own people and they’re going out and having experiences in the world and turning into their own people and it’s really an incredible thing to watch.

MT: What was it like taking her to daycare the first day?
EAM: I cried so hard when I walked out…In the beginning I took her little by little. Then, that first day when I wasn’t going to be with her all day, I dropped her off and said ‘Bye, Marlowe, I’ll be here later to pick you up.’ And she said, ‘Okay, mama.’ And then I said, ‘Give me a kiss,’ so she gave me a kiss and then she looked at me and said, ‘Bye, Mama,’ like ‘Get out of here.’ She loves it.

MT: Which was more difficult for you: The newborn phase or the toddler phase?
EAM: Definitely the newborn phase! Nobody talks about what a bummer that time is. Everyone is like, ‘Isn’t it amazing?’ And it’s like, ‘Actually, I feel crazy beyond words.’ So that was super hard for me. I struggled until she was about 4-months-old and then things got really good when she was 8-months-old. I was like, ‘Oh yeah, this is why people have more than one of these.’

MT: What was it about the age of 8 months that you loved?
EAM: They’re just so delicious at that stage. They’re not too mobile where they’re falling everywhere but they’re super giggly and really interactive. It was just easier as opposed to treading water every day, which is what I felt like I was doing when she was a newborn.

MT: What’s the most mortifying parenting moment you’ve ever had in public?

EAM: I do not get embarrassed very easily. Tantrums and meltdowns in public don’t really bother me. In fact, I laugh because they’re so ridiculous. But, I do get very stressed out when she’s sick. We were out one time and she came down with the stomach flu and threw up all over herself. It was like, What do I do? Am I supposed to strip her naked? So she just had to sit there covered in throw up. I felt so bad for her. She was upset and I was upset and I still had to drive home. It was horrible.

MT: Is there anything that you’ve attempted to do with Marlowe that you’ll absolutely never do again?
EAM: Traveling with her by myself is the absolute worst. There isn’t anything worse. It’s hell to me. One time I was trying to go to Nashville from Los Angeles and I ended up having a 23-hour travel day, with an emergency landing. There was weather in Texas and it was a nightmare. It took years off my life, I’m sure of it.

MT: You’ve always been very honest about your parenting experiences, including the time your daughter fell off the changing table when she was 5-months-old. Why did you feel like it was important to share that?
EAM: I feel better about myself and about my life when I’m being as honest with myself as possible. I find parenting to be the hardest thing in my life… I feel like it is the most humbling experience ever and it makes me feel so vulnerable. Yet, for some reason, people think a way to combat that is by hiding and by not leaning on other people. I think that we would be so much better served as a society and especially as moms if we would share our experiences.

MT: You were also very candid about your recent nanny nightmare. What was the reaction you got?
EAM: People were like, ‘Why did you share that?’ And I was like, ‘Look, I share about my shortcomings as a parent. I shared about sex after having a baby. This is the first time I have ever been threatened by another woman in my relationship, so I’m going to share that.’ The whole thing made me feel so vulnerable. This person was working in my home every day. I never imagined she’d do something like that.

MT: Would you hire another nanny, or have you sworn off nannies forever?
EAM: I’m definitely not someone who would swear something off all together, just because of a couple of bad experiences. But, I need a second before I think about hiring another nanny.

MT: Switching gears, what’s your idea of the perfect date night?
EAM: We love to try a new restaurant, have a bottle of wine, have delicious food, and then go get a nightcap at a really cool, sexy bar. I like to get dressed up for date night because it makes me feel like all the makeup I compulsively buy isn’t getting wasted.

MT: Last Q before we let you go: When you have a little time to yourself, what do you like to do?
EAM: I love hanging out with girlfriends. Chatting and laughing and being ridiculous with them makes me happy and reinvigorates me. The other day, Marlowe was sick and Kyle was away on business. My mom came over to watch her so that I could go into the city and have brunch with my friends. It was only gone for, like, three hours and I came back and I felt like I had been on a vacation. Sometimes you just need to get away to get back in the swing of things!

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Photos: Eva Amurri Martino/Instagram