|photography by Bode Helm|
On a recent Thursday night, Janine Turner breezes into the Southlake Town Square Starbucks, and heads turn. Whether the people recognize her from Northern Exposure or are just admiring a beautiful woman, we’ll never know. But one thing is certain: in the words of Bret Michaels, she’s “smokin’ hot.” And busy. In addition to starring in movie and television roles, directing her first film, and raising her 10-year-old daughter Juliette, the 45-year-old has just written a book called Holding Her Head High: 12 Single Mothers Who Championed Their Children and Changed History. Sipping a venti chocolate milk, Turner tells D Magazine about how she splits her time between New York City and her ranch north of Fort Worth, and about why she’ll never have plastic surgery.
Do you date very much?
I’m sure it’s hard to meet quality guys.
Well, when you’re a mother, forget about it. When I was single, before I had a child, it was a whole different ball game because I was just responsible for myself. But I show up for every blind date that anybody has for me. People get very discouraged. They’re like, “Man, Janine, come on!” But I have this list this long now, because it’s not just me.
I’m sure your standards are high.
They are for Juliette especially, you know. I don’t drink and so I don’t want that to be around her. Here’s the way I look at it: in about eight years, when she goes off to college, that’s when I’ll find somebody. I’ll get married at 53.
There’s lots of time after that. You’ll still be looking good.
I don’t know. I’m not going to do plastic surgery.
No. People always accuse me of having my lips done, and I have not had my lips done. I just line them! I won’t go under the knife. There’s no way.
I would maybe do a little Botox.
No, I’m sorry, I can’t put botulism in my body. I’ll have to come up with something—my bangs are my Botox!
Back to your dating list. What’s most important?
If booze is important in their life, then they’re out because there are too many issues. I’m trying to show my daughter a way to live without booze. You wouldn’t believe all the men who really like to drink out there.
So that’s out. What about sense of humor?
Sense of humor’s fantastic. Once we get through the faith and the drinking issue, intelligence is great, sense of humor. Well, I think, third, if a man were to come into my life in the next eight years, he’d have to be someone that would adore my daughter, love children, and be a good father figure.
Would you ever date anyone younger?
I have. I’ve dated someone seven years younger.
Would you do that again?
I had a blind date and the guy was younger than seven years younger. I was like, “Wow, I have a child!” But there are also young men out there fighting for our country that have children at home and have families. Whether they’re 22, 27, or 35, they are very responsible young men. It isn’t about age. It’s about where they’re coming from and how they’re choosing to live their lives.
Tell me about [ex-boyfriend] Alec Baldwin. Do you watch 30 Rock?
I love 30 Rock. I actually saw Alec recently. We had lunch and talked about the old days. He’s a liberal and I’m a Republican. We’re good friends and had a good laugh.
How did you get inspired to write your book?
I was sitting in Dallas, and a friend of mine said, “You know, you should write a book about being a single mother.” And I thought, “Well, how do I do that? I don’t want to go into Juliette’s life and her privacy.” As I was researching, in my first chapter, I talked about single mothers from history. My publisher said, “That’s the book. Go write that book.” I researched these women, and they all jumped off the pages. Even though they went through these really, really devastating black holes, they realized they had to pull themselves out of it for their children. And in the process they championed their children, but they also became these wonderful women who championed their nations and cared about their fellow human beings.
Had you written anything before?
No, but I won the third-grade writing contest at Wilshire Elementary, and I remember being really excited about it. And I wrote poetry all through my New York days. Poetry saved me.
It seems like your faith has become stronger in the past few years. Is that because of Juliette?
I think during the pregnancy there were probably times that were very emotional and difficult, and I think that my faith in God has deepened since Juliette’s been born. I’ve always been a Christian, but, boy, did it kick into high gear when I realized we were gonna be on our own.
Tell me about this Christian yoga video you did. I saw a clip on your website.
I have no problems with going into a yoga class and doing yoga in the normal, traditional way. But a friend of mine, Mary Cunningham, who’s my partner in it, called me a few years ago, and I thought, “Well, that’s an interesting concept.” We found 75 scriptures and changed the names of the poses. So down dog is Holy Roller, etc. When you’re holding the pose in this video, you get to hear a scripture.
What does Texas mean to you?
I had to be in New York or LA to make it in showbiz. I wouldn’t allow myself to miss Texas, or even think about coming home, until I’d made it. And when Northern Exposure happened and it got picked up for 50 episodes, the first thing I wanted to do was move back to Texas. So I bought a horse and pickup truck and, two years later, purchased my ranch, and there is just something—I feel like Scarlett O’Hara when she picks up the dirt—there is just something about Texas. It’s indescribable.
Does it feel like a long time ago that you were doing Northern Exposure?
It does and it doesn’t. I’m still so fond of the show. I just have the best memories, and it’s been my favorite show ever. My favorite part ever.
What was your favorite movie role?
Cliffhanger was an adventure. I was very homesick when I was making that movie. It was filmed in Italy. Really a wild time. But Sylvester was wonderful.
Do you still feel the pressures of Hollywood to look a certain way?
I’ve felt like that my entire life, since I was young. I actually got really thin a couple years ago. I thought it would be really cool to fit in those size 2s and 4s, and then I realized in the face, it doesn’t work. My body likes to be a certain weight, more along my Northern Exposure weight. They say you have to choose between your face and bottom. So I choose my face!
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