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Rebecca Romijn never expected that being a mother of two-year-old twins would be more tiring than filming a hit television show—or that the life change would enable her to so easily relate to a new role in a Tyler Perry comedy.
In Perry’s upcoming Good Deeds, she plays a former executive who ultimately prefers motherhood over career. “This is my life in this script,” she says. “I relate to the character because she has worked her butt off for many years, and now she just wants to spend time with her kids. In one of the scenes, the kids are watching The Wizard of Oz, and that’s exactly what was happening in my house when I got the script: My girls were watching The Wizard of Oz over and over.”
The 38-year-old actress has certainly worked hard—for 20 years, to be exact—since she launched her career modeling for Victoria’s Secret and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Then she transitioned to acting, with roles as a supervillain in the X-Men trilogy and on TV in hit shows such as Carpoolers, Eastwick and, most notably, Ugly Betty.
But she’s carrying the largest workload as a mother. And these days her wardrobe is less skin-baring styles and stilettos and more “mom flats”—her words.
But Romijn has happily—euphorically—adjusted her routine since welcoming daughters Dolly (named after her favorite singer, Dolly Parton) and Charlie (after the brother of her husband, Jerry O’Connell) into her life in December 2008.
“The crazy thing about the terrible twos is they trick you, because when the girls are being adorable, they lure you right in and they get you,” she says with a hearty laugh.
Luckily for Romijn and her husband of four years (in July), there are more adorable moments than not. “One of the twins is a daredevil,” Romijn says. “The other is careful and reserved. Yet they complement each other well.”
“Working all day on a TV set is so much more relaxing than being home and being Mommy,” she says. “I started getting jealous of Jerry going off and doing The Defenders every day.”
She’s referring to last season’s CBS drama, which costarred O’Connell, about two criminal defense attorneys in Las Vegas—the city that brought O’Connell and Romijn together.
“My favorite Vegas story is the one where I met Jerry,” she says. “We were at the pool at the Hard Rock Hotel. I was at my cabana and he was at a nearby cabana. He did a very good job of coming over and talking to me.”
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That fateful day in 2005 established Romijn’s love affair with O’Connell, and Sin City. “I love walking down the Strip,” she says. “There is eye candy everywhere you go. I always loved sitting outside the Bellagio right next to the fountain, and I had all these ideas about putting my own fountain show together.” So Romijn and a friend took those ideas and choreographed their own show to Ennio Morricone’s “Ecstasy of Gold.” She even filmed a documentary, Wet Dreams, about the experience. “We were able to go in the fountain when it was 100 degrees outside,” she says. “But we had to wear wetsuits because the water was coming down so hard that it was freezing.”
And while there are plenty of other things she loves doing when visiting Vegas, you won’t find her at the slots. “I’m not a huge gambler—shopping is more of a sure thing,” she says. “I figure, if I’m going to drop that amount of money, at least I’m coming home with something I love.”
Along with baby proofing her shoe collection, Romijn has also reevaluated her denim drawer. “I’m always bending down—to find a blanket, grab a bottle—and all the jeans I owned were coming down way too low,” she says. “Not that I wear ‘mom jeans,’ though!” Maintaining a level of coolness is clearly still important to Romijn, and so is keeping her 5-foot-11 frame in shape.
“I had to change my exercise routine because what worked for me before I was pregnant didn’t work for me afterwards,” she says. “I started doing Bikram yoga, and I highly recommend it to any mother who wants to shock her body back into shape.” She has become such a dedicated yogi—she hits the mat four days a week—that she even convinced O’Connell to join her.
While she admits finding time alone with her husband isn’t always easy, she’s hoping to plan a romantic getaway at some point. Maybe back to Vegas? “I’m a beach person,” she says. “The new Nikki Beach that’s opening sounds great!”