Smash Star Anjelica Huston

Born of Hollywood royalty, longtime grist for the tabloid mill, and no stranger to tragedy, the actress, at 61, has found a new inner confidence.

Anjelica Huston

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Q: You were married for 16 years to artist Robert Graham. Was being married part of what changed your outlook?
AH: I think so. We had a lot of fun. We understood each other. We both had big egos. [Laughs] We both felt very, very lucky. He was a great guy. Of course we fought some times. We’re not robots. You have to have differences and then you come together. There’s no better thing than that unity sort of sense of purpose. Although, I have to say, being with a partner can be difficult too. It’s like ‘Oh, is that what you’re going to wear?’ ‘Well, what do you mean I look fat?’ It’s funny. When I was getting ready to go out the other night I thought, there’s absolutely nobody in my life to tell me how I should look, how I should act, or what I should say. In fact, I doubt that there’s anyone who cares very much one way or the other what I do! And in a way, that was very liberating.

Q: But you do come home to an empty house.
AH: That’s just what the circumstance is right now. You have to roll with the punches. After Bob’s death, I did learn a lot. It was actually fascinating to see that if I emphasized the positive I was able to still have a good time. That was sort of shocking to me as a suddenly single person.

Q: Before you got married, your most famous relationship was with Jack Nicholson, which certainly had its highs and lows.
AH: Jack is somebody I’ve adored in my life and will continue to love forever. I don’t take him lightly. As it happens, we had a really lovely conversation on the phone yesterday—a conversation that started off a little bumpy and wound up just completely wonderful. That’s a real relationship. Real relationships have a continuity, and Jack and I have a deep abiding love and affection for each other. I’m proud that we’ve gotten through some very tough times together.

Q: Could there be another man in your future?
AH: It would have to be the right one. Someone who it would make sense to have a love with. Someone who wanted to share that. I can’t say I’m looking for it. I don’t think I’ve ever really looked for it. I’ve never been one of those women who said, ‘Fix me up on a date.’ I always just feel like if the time is right, it’ll come to you. I’ve worked with horses all my life and there’s something that every person who’s ever worked with a horse knows. You can go into a field and try to catch a horse and chase your horse all over the place and you’ll never get your hands on it. But if you go into a field and sit down on the grass, whoa! Probably within 5 minutes that horse will come to you. I think that’s how it is with people too.

Q: There have been a lot of changes in your life recently—an important part in a TV series—the first time you’ve done series television.
AH: All of a sudden things have gotten very busy. But that’s a good thing. I think one should always be optimistic. I think it’s people who reflect too much on what they’ve lost who become incapable of forward motion. But forward motion is important. Change is important. My Los Angeles house is for sale now. It’s very bittersweet for me because while it’s too large for me as a single person, it’s the house I shared with Bob.

Q: You grew up with two very strong parents [director John Huston and ballerina Ricki Soma]. How did they influence you?
AH: I didn’t have a conventional upbringing but they both gave me an awareness of beauty, which is what my life is about. They also gave me a lot to read, and they had very interesting people around. I was constantly exposed to the possibilities in life and alternative ways of thinking and being and existing. They always showed me that one didn’t have to go along with the herd. At the same time, they emphasized that it was possible to do that gracefully.

Q: There were a lot of Hollywood luminaries in your life who were friends of your renowned family. Many of them are still your friends.
AH: It’s kind of great. It’s like being a part of a big, wonderful diverse mad family.

Q: You’ve had your share of fame, and weekly TV brings even more fans. How do they treat you?
AH: I like them. They’ve always been a very nice group of people who’ve never intruded on me or been aggressive. But I do like the people who like me. It sounds really corny, doesn’t it? I’ll go along with Sally Field on that one.

Q: You’re writing a memoir. How is that going?
AH: I’m kind of in the midst of it, and it’s daunting, but on the other hand, it feels quite cathartic. Since I’m in the process, it’s a bit hard to talk about. I remember quite a lot, I have to say. Sometimes I wish I remembered a bit less.

Q: For example?
AH: Well, I remember that when my mother died I was going through that very difficult period where I was just becoming a woman. And she was sort of having to make the adjustments to that.

Q: Your life has been fascinating. What can you say that you learned over the years?
AH: I’ve always felt like I’ve kind of had an inherent knowledge about things, like that horse knowledge I was talking about. I wouldn’t call it wisdom exactly. But you recognize certain patterns in yourself and other people, and you learn what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at. Hopefully I’ve made a little progress over the years. I’m very Cancerian by nature, crablike, and I don’t like a lot of big changes in my life. I’m happy when I’m on the ride. It’s just thinking about getting on the plane that I don’t like.

Q: Who’s the biggest influence in your life now?
AH: I guess it’s still Bob. I find myself wondering what he would have thought—more than I wonder what my parents would have thought. I still kind of dress for him—like his eyes are on me.

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