Diane Kruger has come a long way in her feelings about being a mom.
Appearing on the cover of Tatler‘s January issue, available Thursday on newsstands and via digital download, Kruger opened up about how her perspective on having kids changed throughout the course of her personal and professional lives.
“I didn’t want children for a long time. I really liked my life the way it was,” she told the outlet.
“In my late thirties, I was starting to think about it but I wasn’t in a place in my relationship at the time – or whatever – where that was going to be a possibility and so I had kind of given up hope and I thought it was just too late,” she admitted. “And I was OK with that.”
Having a difficult experience growing up — the National Treasure actress recalled feeling like “an outsider” — Kruger now prioritizes making sure 4-year-old daughter Nova “always feel like she has a place everywhere.”
Kruger and fiancé Norman Reedus travel together as a family as they pursue projects, with Nova attending an “international system of Montessori schools.”
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
‘Wherever I go, I put her in school. I don’t want her to feel like her life is on hold when I’m working or Norman is working,” she explained.
Praising her daughter as a “very outgoing young girl” who Kruger speaks German to “all the time,” Kruger celebrated her current chapter in life.
“The arrival of Nova has changed my life – our lives – in the best possible way,” she said. “It’s just amazing that you thought you were one thing but you’re meant to do something completely different.”
In an interview with PEOPLE, Kruger opened up about how she and Reedus decided on the name Nova Tennessee.
“I had her late in life at 42, and [Norman] had a child when he was much younger,” she said. “‘Nova’ in Latin means new beginning, and a nova star keeps changing and is reborn. And we love Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains; we do motorcycle trips there.”
Kruger also admitted she was surprised after giving birth to Nova by “how much I love it. I wanted to be a mom, and I was sure I was going to like it, but just the magnitude of wanting to be there every second, not missing a thing.”
“[Nova] was a surprise. I thought it wasn’t going to happen, and she came into my life when I was ready,” she added. “I’m grateful that happened for me and our family. She’s changed my world and the way I look at everything.”