Michelle Williams and Laura Dern Discuss One Day Letting Their Kids Become Actors

Laura Dern and Michelle Williams. Alexi Lubomirski for Variety

Laura Dern and Michelle Williams. Alexi Lubomirski for Variety

Photo: Alexi Lubomirski for Variety

Michelle Williams and Laura Dern are navigating parenting in the spotlight the best they know how.

The Certain Women costars interviewed each other for Variety‘s Actors on Actors series, where they talked about being moms and how their own experiences with the industry inspire what they tell their children.

For Dern, 55, that includes son Ellery, 21, and daughter Jaya, who recently celebrated her 18th birthday. Williams, 42, is mom to 17-year-old daughter Matilda plus two children with husband Thomas Kail. Son Hart was born in 2020, and they welcomed their second child this year.

“It’s crazy when you think about your own children, and you think about them being in these environments,” Williams said, while the pair discussed starting their acting careers “so incredibly young,” in their preteen years.

She added of her own children, “And you’re like, ‘Well, no. Not in a million years.’ ”

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Laura Dern and Michelle Williams. Alexi Lubomirski for Variety

Laura Dern and Michelle Williams. Alexi Lubomirski for Variety

Alexi Lubomirski for Variety

“Jaya’s interested, and I’m like, ‘We can talk about it when you’re 18,’ which I remember my mother saying to me,” said Dern, whose parents are actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd.

Williams went on to say that she has “always thought about childhood as being this really fertile time that, if it’s done correctly, you can keep drawing from it your whole entire life.”

“There was a very short period in my childhood that I feel that way about; it’s my childhood in Montana and the feeling of freedom,” continued The Fabelmans actress.

After recounting memories from childhood of riding a horse bareback, Williams added, “That’s what I want. I want that feeling again.”

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Dern opened up more about Jaya’s thespian aspirations earlier this year on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, saying she was excited for her daughter to eventually be the family’s third generation of actors.

“There is something very moving about it,” The Son actress explained. “Jaya’s 17 and I started very young at 11 but I’m so happy that she’s waiting and wants to go to school but really knows in her heart she wants to act.”

“And maybe if she does, we’ll end up having the privilege of working together,” Dern added.

Host Ellen DeGeneres then questioned why Jaya was waiting to start an acting career, considering Dern started at such a young age.

“I’m basically making her wait,” the Jurassic World Dominion star admitted, noting that she “saw the consequences of not being in school” and having a normal childhood.