Kate Hudson is probably best known as the golden girl of romcoms, turning date-friendly flicks like Bride Wars and How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days into box office gold. But for her latest role in Wish I Was Here, while still sticking to her comedic forte, she’s veering away from the mainstream movies that made her famous.
For starters, the project – which is directed by and stars former Scrubs actor Zach Braff – is crowd-funded by more than 46,000 investors from all over the world. Written by Braff’s brother, Adam, it’s the follow-up to cult hit Garden State, and tells the story of a struggling actor’s midlife crisis. Kate plays his wife, who financially supports his ambitions while his career limps between anti-dandruff commercials.
For most A-list actresses, the graduation from kooky blonde romcom starlet to a grown-up wifey role could send them into a neurotic tailspin, but Kate is relishing her latest incarnation. “I was always cast as the ingénue but now that I have some creases around my eyes, I’m getting more adult roles,” she says.
Besides, after showing off her acting chops in more serious fare such as The Killer Inside Me and last year’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, (not to mention an Oscar nod at 21 for Almost Famous), she’s got nothing left to prove. And while the job offers are pouring in just as quickly as they did in her 20s (she’s got two more films due out this year), she is having fun being in control. She’s at the stage in her career where she can cherry-pick her jobs, taking a cameo role in Glee for fun (and to help out her friend Ryan Murphy), and she’s keen to move behind the camera, producing and directing.
“My dream is to produce female comedies that take women’s humour beyond the established format of romcoms. Guys can go out there and do great hilarious buddy movies such as The Hangover, Wedding Crashers or Anchorman, where they are » making fun of themselves and being irreverent. We women know how to laugh at ourselves and we could do the same thing, but we are just not given the same opportunities to do so,” she says.
Her 30s have brought with them a new-found, easy confidence. “I shot Almost Famous at 20, got married [to first husband Chris Robinson] at 21. I had Ryder at 24, so you know, a lot happened in my 20s. I was working a lot and there were times when it was extremely tumultuous. So 30 kind of felt like, ‘Oh, OK’... I had a different kind of confidence,” she says.
Perhaps one of the reasons she is embracing getting older in Hollywood is that she has such a great role model in her mother Goldie Hawn, who is testament to the fact that age doesn’t have to be the death knell in an actress’ career. “My mother is the most inspirational person in my life. She motivates me as an actress and as a businesswoman, but mostly I am guided by who she is as a person. It’s very fortunate to be able to look up to your mother,” she says.
For Kate, family is a strong theme. In fact, she was drawn to her latest project because it celebrates modern family life – with all its nuances. “I definitely think the film reflects the way the traditional roles of husband and wife – the woman being the homemaker and the man being the breadwinner – have completely shifted for my generation,” she says. “When Zach’s character steps up to the plate and agrees to temporarily home-school the children, it not only gives him a new sense of purpose in life, it also revitalises his relationship with his wife. I think the best relationships today are those where the couple work out a way to share the domestic responsibilities of family life. And I certainly know that in my own friendship groups, women want the man to play a very defined domestic role within the family,” she says.
She’s certainly got her own modern family set-up sussed. She lives with her fiancé, Muse frontman Matt Bellamy and her two kids Bing, three and Ryder, 10, splitting their time between the UK and LA. In keeping with her free-spirited flower-child reputation, it’s an authentic existence (“We have sheep. A vegetable garden, chickens...”). And when she is not spending time with her own mum in LA, she is with Matt’s mum at their farm in Devon, even dubbing the latter ‘Devon mum’. “I am so lucky because our house in Los Angeles is just round the corner from my wonderful mum, and when we are on the farm I spend a lot of time with my amazing Devon mum. Devon mum is actually ‘world-travelling mum’, too, because she helps me out with the kids wherever we are – in London or LA,” she says.
Rising above it
As a tabloid favourite feature, Kate and Matt’s relationship has been plagued by split rumours – especially when Matt is away touring – but, like most things in her life, she takes it all in her stride. “I get why people are attracted to gossip, but it’s different when you are at the centre of it. So, yes, we are together, and even though our separate careers involve us travelling, we are together a lot. We are never apart for more than two-and-a-half weeks,” she says.
Like most couples, they work hard at their relationship, she admits. “There is so much going on in our lives that I think it is important to make sure you have moments when you are together just as a couple. To go to a hotel for a night – and sleep! Or go to places where you can be alone and playful together,” she says.
In fact, she even recently admitted they are keen to add to their brood, saying, “I would love a baby girl one day. One thing’s for sure, there will be more babies. I am not done yet.”
Healthy body image
But it’s not just her love life under the microscope: Kate’s body shape is the topic of constant tabloid scrutiny, too (she sued a tabloid for falsely claiming she had an eating disorder, and was attacked for putting on weight during her pregnancy). Her main concern is what young girls who look up to her will think. “I want girls to love themselves. I want them to feel good about who they are.”
She’s all about being fit, not skinny, and in the last year, she co-founded Fabletics, an online retailer for affordable, chic and practical sporty clothing. Even though she is ridiculously toned, and naturally athletic, she understands getting in shape can be hard. “Emotionally, we get caught up in our lives. When you are dealing with things, whether it’s relationships, friendships, our kids, our careers—the last thing you want to do is go get on a treadmill. You always have that light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone knows if you do get on that treadmill, you will feel better.”
She adds, “My workout mantra is ‘Break a sweat every day.’ Even if it’s just for 20 minutes. I’m very disciplined about that. That said, sweating every day doesn’t mean you have to go crazy.”
For her working out is not about looking good as much as it is about feeling good. “If you work out for vanity, you’re going to hit walls that are going to feel really bad. Now, my fitness ambition is internal. It’s about feeling connected to myself. After I had Ryder, I was sitting at 150 pounds [68kg] for weeks, exerting so much of my energy looking at numbers [on the scale] and holding on to stress. The second I forgot about the numbers, my weight started to fall.”
Not that she is without her fair share of confidence blips. “I’ve had insecurities. I can look at a picture of Gisele [Bündchen] and say, ‘I’ll never have legs that long or lips that big.’ You have to honour who you are.”
A true girl’s girl, she counts Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon and Cameron Diaz amongst her close friends. “My girlfriends are so important to me. They’ve been my rock-solid foundation. You have a choice – support the woman standing next to you or compete with her.
“But if you compete, you’re going to be miserable. Stick with what motivates you and makes you happy.”
If happiness and contentment is what it takes to feel beautiful in your own skin, it’s no wonder Kate is glowing.