For PEOPLE’s new cover story, Hawn, 71, who’s back onscreen in the new comedy Snatched, sat down at her L.A. home with Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle for a wide-ranging interview about her remarkable rise to success, motherhood and her life with Russell.
“He was so good-looking, but he had no pretense about him. I could tell right away he wasn’t a womanizer,” Hawn says of her first impressions of Russell.
At the time, Hawn was already a mother of two — to Kate and Oliver Hudson, her children with second husband Bill Hudson — and she says it was Russell’s interaction with her kids that made her fall for him.
“What really got me was when I watched my kids when they’d come to the set and how he was with them. He was amazing with them. He was such a natural,” says Hawn.
Today, Hawn and Russell, 66, happily unmarried, love spending time at home with their blended family, which includes kids Oliver, 40, Kate, 38, Boston, 37, and Wyatt, 30, along with their five grandchildren.
Hawn says she has learned the secrets to a long-lasting relationship.
“Love, gratitude, compassion, because sometimes every man or every woman will drive their partner crazy. Family. Fun. Laughs. Sex,” Hawn says. “If you don’t nurture that, and remember, you’re done.”
Asked about the challenges of monogamy, she also has some practical advice.
“Monogamy is a very tough order,” she says. “You’re in the prime of your life, you are attracted to other people, potentially, you have fantasies about that. It really runs the risk, if you will, if you’re not aware that you could maybe screw up a really good thing by doing that.”
The key, she says, is how couples deal with those feelings. “I’m sure I’ve been party to it, and Kurt’s been—we’re all normal this way. It’s like, ‘You really liked that guy, didn’t you?’ Or the woman says, ‘You were looking at her.’ My answer would be, ‘Of course. Why not? She’s beautiful.’ Would you want a man who doesn’t look? Who doesn’t feel inspired by the beauty or the curves of a woman’s body? Or the way she is? I mean, come on. We’re human beings. There is, I guess, an elasticity to the relationship. Otherwise it’s going to break, just like a rubber band.”
The couple recently received side-by-side stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Hawn says Russell’s remarks moved her the most that day.
“It turned out to be a lovefest,” she says. “The last thing he said was, ‘I’ll always cherish you.’ I didn’t expect him to say those things. I had no idea he was going to be so beautiful.”
Snatched hits theaters May 12.
This Story Originally Appeared On People