From her turn as the iconic Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City to her newest role as protagonist Frances in the HBO dramedy Divorce, Sarah Jessica Parker has become a household name over the duration of her 30-plus-year career.
But before she hit the big time, the actress and mother of three had a humbling upbringing, far away from the limelight, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“I think my mother is sorry that there were things she couldn’t give us, but I work hard to be as depriving to my children as my mother was … meaning I like to withhold things from my children,” Parker told People and Entertainment Weekly Editorial Director Jess Cagle of how her childhood has influenced how she and husband Matthew Broderick are raising their kids: 7-year-old twin daughters Tabitha and Loretta and son James, 13.
“Things they want, I think they should yearn for, and in some cases, as my son gets older, I think he should earn,” adds Parker, 51. “I think it’s good to pine for something so that when you get it, it has such meaning. You aren’t casual about the possession.”
Watch the full episode of The Jess Cagle Interview, available now on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to people.com/pen, or download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS and Android devices.
One of eight children herself, Parker understands that the household chaos in her past was just a part of life—and that her own parents did their jobs well in teaching her the value of possession.
“For the most part, we had everything we needed—not always, but for the most part,” she says. “Not having everything you want is a blessing. I think wanting is a great gift.”
“I know my parents did the best they could,” Parker continues. “I never thought they were lazy or being cavalier, so I’m not resentful.”
“I think the things my mom says now about the time is she’s sorry that there was chaos, and I’m sure she wouldn’t have wanted us to lay in bed and worry, but I think there were advantages in my experience for me for that,” Parker says.
But although the actress can see the advantages of childhood worry when it comes to herself, in general, she has a different outlook.
“I don’t think it’s good for children to worry and lay in bed,” she adds. “I think it’s really hard.”