Annie Potts: Wise Women Over 50

EPISODE 20

Today we continue our Wise Women Over 50 Series with my friend, Annie Potts. Annie shares her life experience as a woman, a mother with a formidable career, and a wife, while we try to feed off of her amazing energy and wisdom. We share the funny story of how we met, as well as both my son’s and her son’s ADHD and her overall love and respect for women, equality and change. We laugh a lot too!

Annie Potts is an award winning Hollywood actress, staring in many well known shows and movies, like “Young Sheldon”, “Designing Women”, "Pretty in Pink", "Ghostbusters", “Love & War”, “Toy Story” and many more. She is also a Broadway actress, a board member and drama professor Stephens College in Missouri, an ambassador for White Pony Express and a children’s book author.


She and her husband, director/producer Jim Hayman joined another industry couple to form “All Are One,” an organization created to alleviate the suffering of so many folks during the Coronavirus pandemic. Their focus is to gather donations to gift anonymously to people in need. The initiative kicked off in Northern California and is now expanding across the country.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT


Doryn Wallach:

Welcome to It's Not A Crisis. I am your host Doryn Wallach. I'm an entrepreneur, a mother of two, a wife and a 40 something trying to figure out what is happening in this decade. Why is no one talking about it? I created this podcast to help women in their late 30s and 40s to figure out, what is going on in our mind, body, soul and life? We may laugh. We may cry. We may get frustrated, but most importantly, my goal is to make this next chapter of life positive. I'm also full of my own questions and I'm here to go on this journey with you. So let's do it together.

Hey everyone. So today I am interviewing the one and only, Annie Potts, and this is my first celebrity interview ever. So I'm really, really excited about it. I met Annie in a crazy way, and you will hear about that in the podcast, but she is just the most wonderful, spiritual ball of light. And I am so honored that she accepted my invitation to come onto the podcast and be the number two episode in the Wise Women Over 50 series. So I know that you're going to learn a lot from this, you're going to laugh from this and you're just going to fall in love with her the way that I did when I first met her. I'm sure you've seen her in it but Annie, returned series television in the highly anticipated pre-qual Young Sheldon from creators, Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro, and it is so good.

On the CBS hit comedy, her character Meemaw, which she's amazing at ranks among the many iconic female roles Potts has created, including the wonderful Mary Jo Shively from Designing Women. How my Southern accent? Not very good. Her work in Love & War garnered her an Emmy nomination, and with any day now she'll two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. In addition, she's played recurring roles in Chicago Med, Law & Order SVU, The Fosters. As well as guest starring on Scandal, Grey's Anatomy, which my 13-year-old is obsessed with right now, Major Crimes and Two and a Half Men, such a good show. Potts also started the Hallmark movies, The Music Teacher and Freshman Father, along with Marry Me for Lifetime.

Potts reprised her role as the memorable Bo Peep in the highly successful fourth installment of Toy Story which won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. She originated the character in the first Toy Story and appeared again in Toy Story 2, which I think I cried in that one. I can't remember which one, but I cried. It's the fire scene, was very devastating to me. Her numerous other feature film credits include the Ghostbusters franchise, Texasville, The Last Picture Show, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Who’s Harry Crumb?, King of the Gypsies and Corvette Summer, for which she received a Golden Globe Award nomination. Recent credits include Happy Anniversary for Netflix, along with Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town and Humor Me, both of which debuted at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Potts made her Broadway debut in Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award-winning black comedy God of Carnage and also appeared in the long-running Pippin. She appeared in off-Broadway productions of The Vagina Monologues, Diva, Love Letters, Charley’s Aunt, The Merchant of Venice, A Little Night Music, Cymbeline and The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, a little bit of a tongue twister, but I got it. I got it. On the west coast, she received rave reviews for her performance as a distraught wife dealing with her husband’s suicide in Aftermath. The play received the LA Times’ Critics Choice Ovation Recommendation. Born in Nashville and raised in Kentucky, Potts, was the youngest of three girls interested in stage and film at an early age. She received her BFA in theater from Stephens College in Missouri, where she’s currently a visiting professor of drama and a dedicated board member.

Potts is also an ambassador for White Pony Express, an organization that feeds and clothes those in need in the Bay Area. Additionally, she wrote a children’s book about a young boy named Kemarley Brooks, titled Kemarley of Anguilla, with all proceeds going to the Arijah Children’s Foundation, an important cause in Anguilla. Recently, Potts along with her husband director, producer Jim Hayman joined another industry couple to form All Are One. An organization created to alleviate the suffering of so many folks during the coronavirus pandemic. Their focus is to gather donations to gift anonymously to people in need. The initiative kicked off and Northern California, and it's now expanding across the country. So needless to say, this woman is amazing. Annie, welcome to the show. I'm so happy to have you here.


Annie Potts:

Oh, thank you. Thank you for having me.


Doryn Wallach:

I want to start by telling how we met because it's a very funny story.


Annie Potts:

Yeah.


Doryn Wallach:

When we first met, we were on a day trip, remember, to those beautiful islands. Wait, let me preface this with, my 40th birthday, my husband sent myself and three best friends on the most amazing trip to Peru. It was the best thing I've ever done. And we were taking a boat to this little amazing island. I don't even know, what was it called? Where they were reeds, it was made out of.


Annie Potts:

No. Actually we had met on the train to Machu Picchu first.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh, that was first, you're right. You're right. Oh, right. You walked by-


Annie Potts:

I think you and your friends had been drinking.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, that was our really drunk first night. Not first, was it first? Wait, I had really bad altitude sickness so I didn't really drink on this trip. And after we did wine at Picchu, I was like, "Let's drink. Let's go." And yeah, so we drank a lot that night.


Annie Potts:

And we met on that fabulous train, the Orient Express acceptance, the Peruvian express.


Doryn Wallach:

It was beautiful.


Annie Potts:

So fantastic. And you girls sure looked like you were having fun.


Doryn Wallach:

Well, that's how it started because you walked by and you said that, something along those lines. And I said something like, "Oh, I like your look." And then you asked where we're from and we were talking, and this sounds terrible, I knew you were somebody but I couldn't... It was your voice that was just, I kept saying, "God, her voice," and my friends are going, "God, her voice is so familiar." But I'm not one of those people, I've never been, who if I see a celebrity I'll bother them. I'm just not like that. So I was like, just let it be. So then we went on the trip to the island, together, because we were staying at the same hotel in Titicaca, right?


Annie Potts:

Titicaca.


Doryn Wallach:

Titicaca. Oh, yeah, Titicaca.


Annie Potts:

The steeliest name ever.


Doryn Wallach:

I have a sweatshirt that says Titicaca.


Annie Potts:

How many people can actually say, "Hey, we got to know each other in Titicaca."


Doryn Wallach:

So true. Right. So we wrote in a boat together over there. So we're walking around, I'm going to almost have to post pictures on social media because I can't even explain what we were walking around on.


Annie Potts:

Yes. They're little islands that have been handmade by the reeds that grow in Lake Titicaca. It's like walking on top of a water mattress, and they live there.


Doryn Wallach:

Do you think they put those outfits on for us or do you think they always wear those beautiful, colorful clothes?


Annie Potts:

I think that's it.


Doryn Wallach:

They had an 18-month-old son who I just kept looking at and going, "Oh my God, the kid's going to go off the island." He was just running round.


Annie Potts:

Yes. But they've adapted that, totally. But it was an interesting place to me.


Doryn Wallach:

It was. So Katie, my friend. Katie, she'll talk to anybody and she's a little outspoken. But she's like, "I just have to figure out, it's driving me crazy." So she walks up to you and said, "What are you in? What do you do? Why is your voice so familiar?" And you said, "Well, do you have children?" And we said, "Yes." And you said, "Well, you must know me as Bo Peep from Toy Story." And we're like, "No." Because I feel like it's been a long time since we've watched Toy Story. Although, I love Toy Story. And then you said, "How old are you?" And you mentioned Designing Women. And we were like, "Oh my God, of course." And then of course, after we met you we were like, Pretty in Pink and Ghostbusters.

And then we saw you at the hotel and then it was our checkout day. And we all were on our way to the airport. As we pulled into the airport, we were on a road full of dirt, mounds and hundreds and hundreds of protesters that were forming a human barricade and burning stuff. And the hotel said, "All right, well, this is where we're going to leave you. And we're like, "What? You're leaving us here in the middle of this." And the airport was not close. We had a walk and we had our luggage, my friend Katie was in wedges. It was very funny.


Annie Potts:

And we were on a very first-class trip, you know? Actually, my husband, he wanted to go there for his 50th birthday and then it, I think it was postponed to 60. And you were having your 40th. So we were taking advantage of the celebration. It was first class and they just dumped us off literally by a dumpster fire with tires and said, "Get your luggage and get out."


Doryn Wallach:

I have pictures. I mean, I have pictures of us pulling in and pictures out of the window of the van. People like just thinking, are you serious, this is where we're getting out?


Annie Potts:

But then you girls proved yourself to be, wow, just so sensationally organized and competent. You kind of got us out of that mess because we were sitting on the floor in the airport, which then closed. And we had to get out. Everybody had to planes to catch in limbo.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. They canceled all the flights.


Annie Potts:

I don't know which one of you managed to get through, but you managed to get us a van. And we had to take, a what, seven, eight hour drive to [inaudible 00:10:54]. Once we got out of the burning tires, again, it was like smoking volcanoes.


Doryn Wallach:

There actually this human barricade of men and women. They were protesting education or something, but I-


Annie Potts:

Teachers grand strick.


Doryn Wallach:

Right. Teachers. But wow, they really take it to the next level there. And I don't speak Spanish well. I did not do well in Spanish. And I kept trying to say, I was scared and I was trying to get through. And I was trying to explain that I needed to get home to my kids. And I kept saying, [inaudible 00:11:26]. And Liz is going, "You're saying the wrong thing. They don't know what you're saying." Anyway, so we get on this van. Before making sure we had beer with us. I think, Harry, your son got us some beer.


Annie Potts:

Yes. Yeah, a 20 something can always find a beer.


Doryn Wallach:

Right. But then we're on this van and I'm A, we have no service on our phones and B we're all like, where the hell are we going? We don't even know where we were going. We were somewhere in the middle of the country. And you guys were getting on a flight from there, but we had to find a hotel and stay there for the night. And I remember calling my husband and I was like, "I'm going to drop a pin, so you could see where I am because I don't know where I am."


Annie Potts:

Well, roads were closed because the teachers knew that the only way to shut down the country was to mess up tourist plans because the country is so dependent on it.


Doryn Wallach:

Right. That was a bonding way to start a friendship.


Annie Potts:

It was. Well, that's one of the reasons why travel is so great because things like that happen. Well, Machu Picchu was pretty amazing. And we did a little stint on the Amazon, too. But what I remember is trying to get out of the country with you guys.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. That was the biggest memory and, Oh God, I just have so many funny pictures. I have a picture of you actually. I think I've sent it to you, just kind of walking with your luggage or I think, Jim, had your luggage and you have a big smile on your face and I have a video or I'm walking by and they're looking at me and I'm like, "Hi, how are you?"


Annie Potts:

Well, when you take a trip like that, I mean, aren't you really looking for an adventure?


Doryn Wallach:

Yes. Oh, 100%. That's why that was all I wanted for my birthday. I was like, "I don't want to party. I love to travel. I just want to be with my closest people. And I want to see things I don't see." So I certainly got that on that day.


Annie Potts:

In spades, man, in spades.


Doryn Wallach:

What I wanted to start talking about, because obviously my demographic late 30s and 40s, many of you remember Annie from Pretty in Pink. And I was pretty young. I was about nine when Pretty in Pink came up, but I still saw it. And I've seen it 100 times since then. I don't know if I got it as much, but I distinctly remember, and I'm not saying this because you're on here. I distinctly remember that your character, Iona, stuck out to me the most as a little kid, when you're looking at, it wasn't like, "Ooh, I want to be like Molly Ringwald." Like, "I want to be like her." First of all, and I've talked to you about my mother before, there was definitely a part of your character that reminded me of my mom.

But also, I just loved that you were your own person and in this part, but you had the biggest heart and you were really warm and loving. And I was watching it. So the other night I was like, okay, I'm going to watch it again because I haven't seen it in a while before I speak to Annie and I fell asleep. So I had to then watch it again. I don't know if you've ever heard this quote, Howard Deutch, he was the director of the movie. I read this quote that said, "I saw the character of Iona as having a shoulder big enough for the world to cry on. I chose Annie because I got the sense that she was exactly that way." You really are.


Annie Potts:

That's so sweet. I've never heard that before. Isn't that lovely? That's just the kind of a review that an actor loves.


Doryn Wallach:

Well, and you know what though, first of all, I can speak from experience that that it's so true. You're so genuine and warm and have such a wonderful spirit, but you're also, I'm going to get in a little bit. I'm going to get into how you actually helped me and really didn't need to do that, but can we just go backtrack a little bit. Tell the listeners working on Pretty in Pink, is there any, I don't know, juice or information or something about the movie or the cast or whatever that you remember fondly or?


Annie Potts:

Well, I think that it was... I think I was 32 when I did that. So I was pretty young, but I was the oldest actor in it. Aside from that, that there wasn't a parent. And I was thinking, I hadn't really been in that situation where I was the older. I'm the youngest of three girls, so I always think, here I'm 100 now and I still think of myself as the baby. So anyway, in that situation I was the oldest. So it was interesting to be put in that role as the one who people go to instead of the one who is seeking help from others. And that was interesting for me, the kids are so young. I mean, Molly, was I think 18. Jon Cryer was 19. James Spader was young and so gorgeous, wow.


Doryn Wallach:

So gorgeous. We were talking about his hair the other night when we were watching it. Tai was like, "Look at that hair. That was good hair."


Annie Potts:

And now he has no hair.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. I know.


Annie Potts:

He's a wonderful actor. He was so complicated in that. Anyway, it was fun to do that. And that film has really had legs, as they say. I don't think we are, or maybe just because I'm not aware of it, this generation now doesn't have somebody like John Hughes who is writing for them where it's like, we really get you. We really get your struggles. And so, I was so pleased to be a part of that because now, let's see, that's 30 years. Is that three generations? Yeah. It's three generations of people who come into knowing that film. And it still holds up.


Doryn Wallach:

My daughter's 13 and she, and all of her friends have watched it. And hopefully she'll tell her daughter one day, but it's just one of those movies that you're like, I remember when I was trying to get her to get her... She's like, "I don't like old movies." I'm like, "It's not," I don't think it was an old movie. When my mother wanted me to watch movies from the 20s and 30s I was like, I don't want to watch that. And I guess that, we're there now.


Annie Potts:

Yeah, you are. I bet you watch those movies from the 20s and 30s now, don't you.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh, yeah. Now I enjoy them, then not so much. But she actually, she loved Pretty in Pink and I think that you're right, there aren't movies today that speak to this generation. And it's such a complicated generation too, so.


Annie Potts:

Bless their hearts with this COVID thing. Oh my God. Of course, it'll make them. And it will define their generation, like every big crisis, world wars and other pandemics and things define that generation. And I think that will give them, right now it's agony, but it will give them a cohesion later. It's like, wow. Yeah, you came up in that. And it will be such a badge of honor, I think. I think we have to keep our minds on the big, big picture. She was tough now though, I don't envy them.


Doryn Wallach:

No. I was a sociology major and I'm so fascinated for the future and how they were formed because of this and social media and everything else. It'll be interesting. But I'll tell you, my kids have become a lot more independence as the pandemic because I've just been like not doing anything anymore. "Mommy's done, the job's over. Now it's your turn. Have fun. Make your own dinner. Bye-bye."


Annie Potts:

Yeah, they can do that. They're old enough to do that.


Doryn Wallach:

They are old enough to do that. Speaking of kids, you have a wonderful husband who we met and three wonderful sons who, if I researched this correctly, are 39, 28 and 24.


Annie Potts:

Yes.


Doryn Wallach:

Okay. And we met Harry when we were on our trip. He was such a sweet kid. Now I sound old. He's such a sweet kid.


Annie Potts:

I know, he's about to turn 25.


Doryn Wallach:

Right. But you always, you glow. I remember when I was with you, you just glow when you talk about your boys.


Annie Potts:

Oh, I'm nuts about my boys.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh, that's so lovely.


Annie Potts:

They're amazing. And of course, I think every working mother worries about that. When my oldest son I felt was old enough to be approached, I went, you know, "Wow, I sure was working a lot when you were little." Drag you round and lived in hotels, on locations and stuff. And I was always working, and I thought maybe that I had failed somewhere as a parent. And I said, you know, "Did you feel like it wasn't there? If so, I'm sorry." He was like, "No, no, mom. It was okay."


Doryn Wallach:

That's so interesting. And thank you. That's such a good piece of wisdom for us because I had spoken about this on another episode, we've had a few episodes on starting a business or working at our age or going back into the workforce after having children and women, moms have so much guilt over working, even if you don't necessarily have to work financially, but you want to work. There's this guilt about doing that, and there shouldn't be.


Annie Potts:

Well, look, what's happened now during COVID. 80% or something like that of women who have had to give up their work, and men aren't giving up their work. The women are giving up their work because the children are home and somebody has to be there with them to mind their lessons and things. So I think this is going to be an interesting problem. I mean, all over again, women are going to have to try to get back into the workforce when we get this problem resolved.

But I thought, "Well, we're always the ones that take the hit aren't we?" I mean, and think of the essential workers that maybe we didn't appreciate so much before, those who came to nanny or clean our houses and stuff. It's a whole other thing, isn't it?


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. Yeah. I've talked about this a lot, it's sad. Because I think even as moms before COVID, we have this disadvantage where if you really want a big career, you're not going to see your kids as much. And there's always this back and forth in so many women's heads into am I being a good mom, am I a bad mom because I'm doing this or that. And now, it's almost as if we have no choice, a lot of women don't right now. And certainly didn't sign up to be teachers at home all day with their kids.

So yeah, it's been tough. I do think though, women are so amazing, and especially my generation of women who were kind of neglected a little bit as kids and sort of left to be more independent. I feel like we're going to come out of this stronger with amazing business ideas and amazing ways of things that we're going to start doing in our 50s.


Annie Potts:

I totally agree. Well, crisis always incubates innovation, always. For those of us who have to stay at home, I think we'll walk out of this with a lot of good ideas. I mean, my youngest son was in graduate school and he's a poet. And at first he was so, he was so disappointed and I thought, no, this is a gift to worst, man. I mean, where the whole world is in turmoil, that for a writer is gold. You know what I mean? It's like, well, this is an opportunity to... I mean, if writers don't talk about the state of the world and internal dimensions of that and stuff, it's like, wow, you got a lot of great material here.


Doryn Wallach:

I mean, so much material. You did the most wonderful thing, and I hope you don't mind me bringing it up. But right around the time I met Annie, my son was really struggling in school. He was diagnosed with ADHD, seven at the time, I think. Had a horrible, horrible school experience. And I don't remember if we, we probably talked about it at some point in our hours together. But you were so kind and you were coming to New York and you said, "Let's have tea or coffee or whatever and sit and talk." And you spent, it could have been well over an hour with me just talking as somebody who has boys, has experienced similar things. And I know that I've expressed to you how much that meant to me, but for you to go out of your way to do that for me, for someone you didn't know that well, that says so much about who you are as a person.

And I can tell you that your words of wisdom in that conversation, first of all gave me confidence that my son was going to be okay. Which I kind of know, and I can say this as his mom, I was sort of not worried about him. It was more about how he was being treated by the school. And then I had pulled him out and was applying to schools. So I think we were talking about the types of schools and you were just... So that's a whole other episode for me to talk about, because I have such a bad experience, but it has turned into, now such a beautiful experience in the new school that he's in and he's thriving. He just took his IC exams for middle school and scored 90 across the board on everything. But more importantly he's a little artist and such a good kid.


Annie Potts:

I think I was probably that kid, too.


Doryn Wallach:

I think I was too, by the way.


Annie Potts:

And it was a different time before they started diagnosing that. And for those of us who were artistic, creative and staff, we just weren't easily pigeonholed. And I have an ADHD son myself and he was so gifted, he started reading at three. And by the time he was 18-months-old, he was on the original Apple computer. The one that was like a funny little tower with a 6-inch screen. Yeah.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. The Apple [inaudible 00:26:13]. Right.


Annie Potts:

We got a program for him. He was sorting flora and fauna. I mean, we had to do the mouse for him. He just pointed because he was so tiny, but I though, "Oh, man, this kid's going to be awesome." And he was doing really well in Montessori and then I was like, "This kid is so bright. I need to put him in a very accelerated program to match his gifts." So I put him in a very traditional school and he immediately hit the wall and couldn't sit down. He was failing, where he'd been the student in this other school. So I was like, "What the heck?" And then of course, we got his diagnosis as ADHD because in Montessori they kind of let them roam from one activity to the other. We didn't know that he actually couldn't sit down. It was not easy. I ended up quitting.

I had my, actually, my most favorite job ever. I was doing a show for Lifetime called Any Day Now, about the friendship between two women, one black, one white and we would drop back and examine the '60s when they were little girls trying to carve out a friendship in a very hot environment of racism and violence then, but he was drowning. He was just drowning and so I was like, my contract was up and I said, you know, "I've got to go. I got to take care of my kid. My kid's circling the drain and I..." So it was like a four year Odyssey to find the right school because this was 20 years ago now. And the education system is much more attuned to how to teach different learners.

But of course, having gone through that I was very sympathetic. And of course, I too, like you, I always harbored this deep faith that my boy was fabulous, and going to be just fine. It was just getting him educated and getting him to that point. And that all happened. And he's absolutely fabulous as I always knew. So when I meet other people who are struggling with that, of course, I always love to be a cheerleader for that. And for you to hold on to what you know about your kid, you just got to play to their strengths. Don't focus on their weaknesses at all. I mean, your son's an amazing artist. Amazing.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. You know what? I think that, well, that time was so hard because of the way he was treated by his existing school. The reason I pulled him out of this first school is he came home to me in second grade and said, "Mommy, I don't want to be a person anymore." And this is a very happy kid typically. And everything in my body went to jello. So at that moment I was like, "I'm getting him out of the school." I forced my way into there the next day and was like, "Listen, this is what my kid is saying, and this is not okay."


Annie Potts:

"I don't want to be a person anymore," he said.


Doryn Wallach:

I don't want to be a person anymore. That was horrible.


Annie Potts:

Oh my God.


Doryn Wallach:

And he said, "The teachers don't like me, the kids don't like me, the principal doesn't like me, nobody likes me. I don't want to be a person anymore." And otherwise a very happy kid. So you know as a mom, you have that gut instinct to get him out of here and let's get him somewhere else. So he ended up going, he's now in third year and now applying to middle school, but I'm starting to think about this again with him and I want to make sure that he's celebrated for who he is because he's super, super bright, like your son, but also really artistic. And I think that those two things come hand in hand also with ADHD.

I think it's a very common mix, which I always joke with... My husband's very smart. Went to Princeton, blah, blah, blah. My schools weren't as impressive. However, I joke. I'm like, you know, "I think Rex's gifts come from me." I don't think I was given the opportunity because I was an undiagnosed ADD, but I'm pretty smart. And some of the things that he articulated in his head, I can remember you thinking those things too, as a younger child and maybe not saying them. So anyway, thank you for that. And I'm so grateful.


Annie Potts:

It's my privilege. And when I look back on it all, and I can't tell you how many other people, because it's a sign of the times this whole ADD thing. So many people I run into have had that same experience. And of course, once you've been through something yourself, then it behooves you to lend a hand. And I'm so grateful. I learned those lessons so I could be helpful.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. And I will pay it forward at some point to somebody else also.


Annie Potts:

Pay it forward, I hope you will.


Doryn Wallach:

I will. And so, when we met three years ago, I think you just got the job as Meemaw on Young Sheldon, hit show. And I had never watched big bang theory so I knew you were explaining it to me, but as you're telling me, I'm like, "Oh my God, like this sounds a little bit like my son." Although, I will tell you that my son is not not that. He's very smart, he's not that smart. And about two years ago, maybe, I tried to get him to watch it with me. And I think he was a little young, but we just started watching it. We just literally last night finished season one.

And it is such a great show. You are so fabulous in it, but it's also such a wonderful family show to watch. We just finished watching The Goldbergs as a family. We started that in the pandemic. That was a great show to watch together and now we're watching Young Sheldon. But Rex likes to say, it's our time, we do this together. Just the two of us. What's it like working on that show? I would imagine, it's just seems like such a wonderful cast of people.


Annie Potts:

It is a wonderful cast of people, to a one, they're just wonderful. It's interesting, I really haven't worked with kids very much until this. And I mean little kids, they were eight when we started and they're 12, almost 13 now. But usually on a film set, it can be a little tempers flare and there's profanity and stuff, but we don't have that because of course, we have the children to consider. So the atmosphere is kept very sweet for them.

And it's been an eye opener really. It's like, well, why don't we keep all work like this? You imagine if our children were around listening to the way that grownups interact, then it would be tempered with remembering that we are adults and have to be a good example to them. But they're extraordinary children, anyway.


Doryn Wallach:

I feel like your character as Meemaw, is almost like your character as Iona. You got a [sassool 00:33:50] edge to you, a little, not such a rule follower. You have your own thing going, but yet you're warm and you give wonderful advice. And it's funny, there's a little similarity there.


Annie Potts:

That's kind of the roles I've been playing. I mean, I don't think much about my career. And I think that that's sort of been operative in most of the work that I've done, sassy off the beaten path kind of people.


Doryn Wallach:

It's kind of you, right, in a good way.


Annie Potts:

Yeah. It kind of is that.


Doryn Wallach:

Do you know, by the way, last night we watched a, there was a behind the scenes right at the end of the season, I didn't realize that Zoe Perry was Laurie Metcalf's daughter.


Annie Potts:

Yeah.


Doryn Wallach:

And the funniest thing is the entire time I've been watching this show I'm like, "God, her facial expressions are so familiar. She just really reminds me of somebody." And then we learned that last night. That was very funny. She plays the mother in Big Bang Theory.


Annie Potts:

We have all three of us been together before. And in that case, then Zoe has her real mother and I actually played both of their mothers. It's such a crazy circle of mothering that it's silly. It's like, "Wow, I am both your mothers." She's a great girl. Both of them.


Doryn Wallach:

She's a good actress, too. I love her facial expressions.


Annie Potts:

Yeah. She's fabulous.


Doryn Wallach:

You really, like as a mom, you feel them. You feel her facial expressions


Annie Potts:

Always worried about the special child.


Doryn Wallach:

You know what, there's a definitely a relation. My daughter always jokes and she's like, "Rex is your child." I'm like, "he is not, I do not have favorite children." I really truly don't. I think my kids are both so amazing in different ways, but it's funny when you see her in the show, sort of defending him and in the way that sometimes I've had to with my son's difficulties. So I can definitely relate to that. And I think he relates to the show.

As amazing as your career has been, what I want to talk to you about today is your wisdom. So I know that, you've been through a lot in your life. I think that the point of this Wise Women Over 50 series is that my listeners need to hear, they need to hear about the future, but they need to hear about what others have looked back on and wish they'd changed or done differently, and what's to look forward to. So what was currently happening in your life around your late 30s and 40s?


Annie Potts:

My husband and I didn't meet until we were 36, or almost 37. So we were busy starting a new relationship and then a family. I had my last baby when I was 43.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh my God, that's my age.


Annie Potts:

Yeah. Can you imagine?


Doryn Wallach:

No.


Annie Potts:

I remember when I got pregnant with my last one and called my sister and she was, I said, "I'm pregnant again." And her response was, "What were you thinking?" Anyway, I was thinking I wanted another one. So we were busy doing that. And I was also, I had a very busy career at that time and was working, at one point it required five nannies just to keep things going.

And one was a college girl who was living in the apartment over our garage, And her job was to, because my husband's a director and we often go to work at 4:00 in the morning and don't come home till 2:00 in the morning, so it was her job to, if one of us wasn't in our bed, for her to just be in the bed so if one of the little ones woke up somebody would be in mommy and daddy's bed. So it was so insane. I look back on that time and I just wonder how we survived it.


Doryn Wallach:

How did you have the energy? I don't have energy now. I can't even imagine doing that with all of that.


Annie Potts:

At Christmas every year we play our home movies over, and we just put them on on the TV in the family room and so everybody kind of drifts in and out and sits down and watches Christmases and birthday parties and life going on. And my youngest son came to me last year, he'd been watching the movies from that period, and he went, "Well, mom," he said. "In all the movies when we were little, you look so tired." I thought he was going to say you look so beautiful. I was like, "Really, I just tired that way." And so, I ducked in and looked at it and I have to confess, I looked pretty tired. I caught up, I caught up on my wrist.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. Well, let me ask you something. So you had your last at 43, when a lot of women are starting peri-menopause, did you go through that or was your body just so confused, or not?


Annie Potts:

My body was pretty confused. I happen-


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. I mean, so I talk a lot about how, I've been suffering a lot with this and other women have, but our kids are older. But what was that like?


Annie Potts:

Well, I think I made jokes while I was pregnant that I was going to have the baby and immediately go into menopause. And I have to say that pretty much what happened. I started having hot flashes when I was still nursing him.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh my God.


Annie Potts:

And I only figured that out because my driver, I was doing a show for ABC at the time, based on Dangerous Minds the film. So she used to come pick me up every morning and she was a little bit older than me. And I was like, "Man, I got up, I nurse the baby and now I'm sweating and it's like I have a fever." So she said, honey, or... I was like, "No. I'm nursing the baby." So that kind of, that happened.


Doryn Wallach:

And how old were you went through menopause, fully done?


Annie Potts:

50.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh, wow. So you were really in that perimenopause stage and postpartum. I can't even imagine because I was a mess postpartum and I-


Annie Potts:

And working 14, 15 hours a day.


Doryn Wallach:

Crazy. That's absolutely crazy. Good for you, but uh-uh (negative).


Annie Potts:

And had a baby, a toddler and a 15-year-old.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh my God. Can you imagine, anyone listening, ever? I can't. I can't even verbalize.


Annie Potts:

Yeah. I live to tell the tale.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, you do. What would you tell yourself back then, as you went on in your 40s, your kids got a little bit older. Is there advice that you would say to yourself now that you wish you knew then or something you would have told yourself?


Annie Potts:

Well, just have confidence in the path of things. You know, that I credit a lot, I think about, "Oh boy, is everything going to be okay?" I am a person of faith. Faith in life, faith in the universe's wisdom. I think I just put my head down and tended my garden. Sometimes you plant things that aren't going to mature for many years. It's like people who plant trees, and there's no guarantee that you are going to see that tree in full maturity. You may not see it as 120 foot grand thing, but you will see most of its maturity.

And that is, I mean, right now, I just turned 68 and I feel like I'm really in the harvest time, all the tending of my garden and my woods, I see it coming to fruition. My children are grown and they're lovely human beings. They're choosing wonderful mates. My oldest son is married and my daughter-in-law, his wife, came to me and she said, you know, "I just want to thank you." She said, "I am so grateful that a feminist raised my husband."


Doryn Wallach:

Oh, that's so great.


Annie Potts:

And now that is the harvest. You know what I mean?


Doryn Wallach:

Yes. Absolutely.


Annie Potts:

And I thought, "Wow, I didn't label myself as a feminist, but pretty much everything I did was under the tenets of feminism." And that just made me so happy. So I just think, it's like where we are now at such a difficult time, but I think that there's going to be such a harvest from this. The old white men are at the end of their tenure, they maybe elder, but they're not wise. And they got nothing left and they've got to give it up to the future picture of the US, which is of many colors and capacities.

And I mean, the future, it has to be modern. It has to be, we have to think about everybody else, not just scraping off the foam, the goodness at the top for ourselves. And I see that happening. I think it's the dawning of the age of Aquarius, I mean, it literally is. It's the promise golden age. So our kids are struggling a little bit now, but I think we just have to tell them, it's like, "Listen, it's hard now, but it's going to be better."


Doryn Wallach:

I think hearing you, I think a lot of times, and I'll say this to women with younger kids where they're constantly make themselves feel guilty about things. I always joke and I was like, "Listen, your kid before nine-years-old is not going to remember anything that you did. So whatever you're doing, stop feeling guilty because they're not going to remember it." Whereas, I stayed at home with my kids when they were little and they have no recollection of it. They'll make comments, when I was working too hard, I spent five years going to stupid mommy and me classes that I didn't like, talking to women that I had nothing in common with and spending all day long with toddlers, they don't remember anything. And then they'll just make a reference to like, "Oh mommy, were you there then?"

I'm like, "Yeah, I was the one taking the picture. That's why you don't see me." But I think it's nice to hear that, hopefully down the line, there is a payoff when... And by the way, at my kid's age, I'm actually starting to see when they go out into the world and they do things and people come back to me and say, "Oh, your daughter's so polite. And she was so sweet." And I'm like, "Really? Oh, that's good." She's not doing that at home, but I'm glad she's doing it there, which means I'm doing something right. So I think you get those rewards later, and obviously you've seen that yourself so that's wonderful. What about marriage? Is there a piece of advice that you would give if you had one piece of advice about marriage? Two homes?


Annie Potts:

Well, yes. As you know, my husband and I just spent the last, except for one year, we have lived apart. Because he got a job down in New Orleans. He was running NCIS down there and I stayed back for the first couple of years because we never know if these things are going to last, these shows. And then it was like, "Oh, that's a going thing." So I moved down there and as soon as I'd renovated a very fabulous house down there, I've got a job back here and moved back. And so, now he's back and it's like, "Hey, don't you need to go someplace, like work or another state?"


Doryn Wallach:

By the way, they're a lot of women feeling that way about their husbands who are working at home right now, I think.


Annie Potts:

Yeah. It's like get out of my house. I just think, as in all things, and I don't mean this as a dower sort of negative thing, but life is sort of an endurance race, isn't it? It's a marathon. And I know when we talked earlier, you said you'd done a show about divorce and that you offered up that, if you were in a long-term relationship and you haven't seriously considered divorce, you're a liar.


Doryn Wallach:

It's true.


Annie Potts:

You're a bald-faced lair. I have to say, I did with my oldest son. I divorced his father and I always felt bad about that for him. It was an alcoholic home and I needed to get him away from that, I felt. And I know one of my younger children has said, because his dad and I have endured and stayed together when things were hard, too. But in the last couple of years he offered up, he said, "I'm so glad you and dad never divorced." He said, "That would just have killed me." And I thought, "Well, there you have it." So it's like, why even get in an argument? I mean, we're going to have differences.

As in all things, you need to get a long. We practice these things within family groups so we don't go out and be out in the world so much. So it's like practice, make your best practices at home, be forgiving, be thoughtful, be thankful. Don't be so critical. All of that because then your children learn it. And honestly it makes it easier on yourself. I mean, obviously there are some things that are insurmountable and it's important to move on if it's untenable.


Doryn Wallach:

I think there are women who want to leave a marriage and are afraid to do it for the children, but obviously in your situation, that was a necessity. And you did the right thing. And I think that there are other marriages where you're just going to have, shit, I hate to say it, but you're going to have ups and downs and all that. I've been married 17 years. And you have bumps in the road, if you can work them out and you're able to do that.

And they're not things that are as large as, having an alcoholic in the home is not, that's something you can't really work through. But I think that you have to try to stick it out. It's wonderful that your son said that to you, but I also think you just have to work it out for you and for the two of you, first and foremost. Because then your children will see an example of working on something that isn't perfect.


Annie Potts:

Yes. Well, I think, when the kids are little, obviously there's only... I mean, you can't say, I'm sorry we have to go because daddy's an alcoholic and I'm worried about your whatever. I didn't have tools then. Both of my parents were alcoholics and they both got sober later in life, which I was grateful for. But also, I found Al‑Anon later in life because my father said, after he got sober, he was like, "You really should go to Al‑Anon because you grew up with two drunks and you got stuff that probably would be helped by hearing what other people say about that." And he was very wise in that.


Doryn Wallach:

By the way, I've been to Al‑Anon. I mean, next time you come back to New York there's this wonderful woman's group in the East Village that, I didn't grow up with alcoholics but my mother did. And she's probably going to kill for saying this publicly, but I have done a lot of work myself on the way that she raised me based on the way that she was raised in a home of an alcoholic. And actually on Thursday, I'm interviewing this woman. I don't know if you've ever read this book. We could talk about this after the podcast, but it's called Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents?


Annie Potts:

No, I haven't. But-


Doryn Wallach:

Oh, no. But it's...


Annie Potts:

... it is so great.


Doryn Wallach:

I'm going to text it to later. It speaks to everybody. I mean, it doesn't matter if your parent was an alcoholic. It talks about their generation and why they are the way they are, why their parents were the way they are, but how it affects us as people now. And it's so fascinating. I'm so excited. So she's coming on the show next week, but that's just a side note.

So I went to an Al‑Anon meeting because after reading this book, somebody had suggested, and I was like, "Well, I don't. I mean, why would I go to an Al‑Anon meeting?" And I walked into this meeting and I was like, "Oh my God, these are my people. "I really understand these people." It's pretty amazing. So it doesn't have to necessarily be an immediate thing that affected you.


Annie Potts:

No. Alcoholism is the gift that keeps on giving to every generation. I mean, people who grew up with parents who were ragers, you know?


Doryn Wallach:

Or even controlling, even controlling parents. That's what this book talks about. It could just be parents who had expectations that were beyond for their children.


Annie Potts:

[inaudible 00:52:14] programs are really great.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah.


Annie Potts:

They're great.


Doryn Wallach:

Actually, a lot of celebrities in that program that I went to.


Annie Potts:

Well, you don't name them.


Doryn Wallach:

No, no, no. I'm not naming them. I will never do that.


Annie Potts:

That's the beauty of anonymous.


Doryn Wallach:

Yes. No, no, no. I would never do that. I have to ask you, in finishing up, I have to ask you this question that I read about, and I don't know if this is true. It could be fake news, but is it true that you were supposed to play Glenn Close's part in Fatal Attraction?


Annie Potts:

No.


Doryn Wallach:

Really? That's so funny. So I read that you were supposed to play the part and you didn't because you were doing Designing Women.


Annie Potts:

No. No. That never happened. I'm super flattered by that fake news, but no, no, that never came to me.


Doryn Wallach:

Although, I'm not sure I could see you boiling of bunny, but maybe.


Annie Potts:

All right, no. No. I know I couldn't boil a bunny.


Doryn Wallach:

Well, Annie, I don't want to take more of your time. You are so generous to do the show for us. And I think you're going to speak to so many women. This is going to be extraordinarily helpful. And if there are not already in love with you, they're going to fall in love with you after this. So thank you for being here and for doing this with me.


Annie Potts:

Thank you. Thank you. What fun to do this since we met on a train and a floating island escaped a country that was on fire together. It was a pleasure.


Doryn Wallach:

You never know in life. You never know.


Annie Potts:

It's again, the harvest, you never know.


Doryn Wallach:

Right. Okay. Well, thank you again. And I hope to see you sometime soon in the near future.


Annie Potts:

Yeah. No. I haven't been to New York since last January now. I'm like, the idea that the whole Theater District is just caught in Amber and nothing that... Anyway, we got a vaccine coming soon and theater and everything else, we'll be back.


Doryn Wallach:

Right. And then we'll go to theater together.


Annie Potts:

We're building back better.


Doryn Wallach:

Yes. We're building back better. We will have a day to go to a Broadway show, the two of us, when this all ends.


Annie Potts:

Yes. Yes. Maybe I'll be in it. That's what I'd really love.


Doryn Wallach:

Yes.


Annie Potts:

All right, darling.


Doryn Wallach:

All right. Thank you again.


Annie Potts:

Thanks so much.


Doryn Wallach:

Okay.


Annie Potts:

Bye.


Doryn Wallach:

Bye. Thank you so much for listening. Remember to give yourself permission and know that you are not alone. Don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss any episodes where. Reviews are always appreciated. And you can reach me by email at itsnotacrisis@gmail. Instagram, It's Not A Crisis podcast. And please, join our Facebook group as well. Until next time, just remember, it's not a crisis.





LISTEN

apple-badge-2.png
spotify.png
stitcher.png
google_podcasts.png
iheart_radio.png
rss-black.png

FACEBOOK GROUP

Share your experiences with our community on Facebook. 

STAY IN TOUCH

JOIN THE MAILING LIST

Get updates on new episodes and more.

QUESTIONS?

CONTACT DORYN

If you're interested in being on the show, sponsorship or simply have a question, contact me. 

Home     Episodes     Up Next     Suggest a Topic     Press     Testimonials     Contact     About     Media Kit

© 2021 by Train of Thoughts.

Designed and built by Kindred Collab