Claire Danes: ‘I Would Make a Lousy Stay-at-Home Mom’

Kathleen Perricone
The Juice

After 20 years in the business, Claire Danes isn’t looking to retire any time soon.

The “Homeland” star gave birth to her first child, son Cyrus, on December 17, but she won’t be on maternity leave for long, since her mega-hit Showtime series begins production on its third season very soon. Although the timing isn’t exactly ideal, Danes is wouldn’t have it any other way.

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“I’ve always wanted to have kids, but I’m glad I didn’t until now,” the 34-year-old tells Elle magazine in its February issue. “When I was thinking about [working and being a mother] originally, I was really nervous about it … I think I would make a lousy stay-at-home mom. It just wouldn’t suit me. I feel so fortunate, in that I’ve had this arrow-straight focus … that I wanted to act.”

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Danes was only 15 when she landed the role of angst-ridden teenager Angela Chase on the short-lived, yet critically-acclaimed “My So-Called Life,” for which she won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy. Over the years, she took the path less traveled by child stars – she chose Yale University over the party scene – but Danes acknowledges it was a different time.

“When I was younger, I was a little bit more restless, but there weren’t as many eyes,” she says. “There weren’t as many tabloids or the number of cameras that everyone’s armed with. I feel huge sympathy for teenagers who have suddenly found themselves as public figures now, because it just sucks for them.”

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Even as an adult, Danes has managed to keep her personal life primarily private. Although she doesn’t talk much about her husband, fellow actor Hugh Dancy, she gushes that he is “the right partner for me. I got very, very lucky. There’s only so much credit you can take when it just sort of works, you know? And obviously we work hard at maintaining our relationship – that is central to both our lives – but at the same time, it’s just this kind of ease that I can’t really account for.”

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One of the couple’s biggest highlights – besides the birth of their son, of course – is when they met President Barack Obama, a fan of “Homeland,” at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.

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“Hugh was like, ‘We have to meet Obama,’ and we walked over before we could think and found ourselves shaking hands with him,” says Danes. “Hugh realized that he’d forgotten to actually properly introduce himself, and he [President Obama] was like, ‘And you are?’ And Hugh was like, ‘I’m sorry, Mr. President.’ I said, ‘I’m Claire Danes,’ and he said, ‘Oh, you’re a fine actress.’ And I said, ‘You’re a fine president!’ And he said, ‘Oh, you’re a finer actress than I am president.’ I didn’t have any retort. Hugh and I went immediately to the bar and had a big shot of vodka.”