From impromptu picnics to pagan cerimonies, four famous faces tell Carrie Mitchell how they mark special moments in their lives
Actress Gillian Anderson, 44, lives in East London with her daughter Piper, 18, from her first marriage, and her sons, Oscar, six, and Felix, four, from her past relationship with business man Mark Griffiths.
I realized a few years ago that I didn’t honour special moments enough. The X-Files was a popular show, and there was a period when we just kept getting nominated for awards. But it was too much for me to take in, and I remember sitting at award ceremonies with this frozen smile on my face, just feeling like a mannequin.
Nowadays, I’m far more appreciative of things such as nominations. They feel like they have more weight to them and you start to feel so thankful for other people’s appreciation of your work. Looking back, I could have taken more time to celebrate my achievements. I do think that naturally happens as you get older
I often need the people in my life to remind me of the things I should be celebrating. My daughter will say, “Mom, this is great, we should celebrate!” She’s also the one who reminds me to relax; she gets very excited when I take time off or read a book.
She’s still at school, so weekends are our time where we can do things one on one. She’s an artist and loves going to galleries and openings. We’ll often spend a few hours together at the Tate Modern or the Royal Academy, going between a couple of shows and having lunch. It’s precious time.
I’m not a big party girl. Quiet celebration is more my style. I have a house in Canada [where her first husband is from], and I usually spend my birthdays there with my kids, then friends from all over come and visit. We swim in lakes, read books and cook healthy meals – except my birthday cake, which has to be chocolate! Usually a friend will bake it and the kids will decorate it with icing – then Piper takes over and puts her own special stamp on it.
I find it easier to celebrate my children’s milestones than my own. The boys’ birthdays are just 15 days apart, so we usually celebrate them jointly. They prefer it that way as they’re so close. We’ll often rent a little place in the country and invite their school friends over. Piper’s 18th birthday last September was a big one. We had a huge Moroccan tent in the garden with lots of friends.
My family still live in the States, so it’s very special when we all get together. At the moment, we’re looking forward to my little sister Zoe’s wedding. Piper is a bridesmaid and she is choosing the dress herself, but is desperate to find the right one. It has to be a particular colour and look a bit retro. She’s been doing lots of shopping but can’t find anything quite right. We’re getting closer to the date and we have no dress!
I can’t see myself moving back to the US any time soon. I’ve fallen in love with London and the boys’ father lives here. We’re not together any more, but he is fully in their lives. I’ve lived here for over a decade and love how diverse the city is. I’m also amazed by how many green spaces there are in such a metropolitan city and we take full advantage. I love Regent’s Park. We take the bikes and cycle around. London’s great place to bring up children.
Gillian stars in new BBC crime drama The Fall this spring.