Connie Britton is the 45-year-old woman you wish you were

But, as next Sunday's New York Times Magazine profile of the actress reveals, age has little to do with it

Topics: connie britton, Celebrity, nashville, Friday Night Lights, New York Times, American Horror Story, acting, Hollywood,

Connie Britton, aka “Friday Night Lights’” Tami Taylor, the woman and mother every American woman wanted to be and with hair that is the envy of all, is the subject of an intimate New York Times Magazine profile that takes five pages to explore what makes the current “Nashville” star  so awesome. After transitioning to a darker, sexier role in “American Horror Story,” and now as the rising star of “Nashville,” at 45, Britton’s career is just now hitting its peak — a rarity in Hollywood for women — but  she’s doing what she’s always done. Here are some of the highlights from the profile, below:

Connie Britton is confident and relaxed

  • “Connie leads with her brains, not her beauty,” says Jeff Reiner, who directed her in “Friday Night Lights,” the show that made her a star. “I think that’s one reason women find her so appealing.”
  • Her wardrobe is relaxed: On her day with Times Magazine writer Susan Dominus, she “dressed in leggings and a V-neck sweater, makeup-free, in tortoiseshell glasses and scuffed black boots; later, when she went out for the evening, she threw on a parka.”
  • She can’t always walk in heels, either: Once, while wearing 5-inch heels on set, she tripped and fell nearly 5 feet.

She looked like a shoo-in for the part of Dorothy in “Jerry Maguire” — until Renée Zellweger read with Tom Cruise

“’It was heartbreak,’ Britton said. ‘Maybe I was too tall.’”

When her career took off a decade later, she refused to be typecast as “old”

In “Nashville”: “In a scene in an early episode, in which her country singer character Rayna Jaymes takes a long walk with an old flame, Britton deliberately resisted some lines in which her character expressed fears about being old. ‘Just drawing on my own experience, I never — I never — personally reference myself as old. I don’t think of myself as old, but I certainly would not say that to a man,’ she said. It starts to become obvious, as Britton talks, how much of her own Southern upbringing (she was raised in a close-knit family in small-town Virginia) feeds into the characters she creates. ‘I might have a conversation with some girlfriends — what are we doing about the lines around our eyes — but to a man? There are certain things — it would just be demystifying and disempowering,’ she said.”

She’s 50 percent like Tami Taylor, and that’s a good thing

Britton “felt a sense of responsibility” to her “Friday Night Lights” character, a stay-at-home mom who became her husband’s boss by the third season. She confessed to her friend, talk-show host Chelsea Handler, that she was “having an identity crisis” at the show’s end: “Cause who am I, if I’m not Tami Taylor?” But when “American Horror Story” came around, “It was perfect,” she said. “It really helped me shake out any sense of preciousness about the Tami mystique.”

But, according to “Nashville” creator Callie Khouri, “Connie is only about 50 percent as earnest as Tami Taylor,” adding, “It seemed as if that insight came as something of a relief.”

You Might Also Like

This is how she spent the morning of the Golden Globes, when she was nominated for best TV actress for “Nashville”

“The afternoon before this year’s Golden Globes, Britton invited her closest friends, and their children, over to her Los Angeles home … [They] tried on couture while the little girls, some of whom wore their own princess dresses, ate pizza, played with Eyob and weighed in on which sparkly gown Britton should choose. ‘All the moms were screaming, “Don’t touch the dress!”‘ says Aubrey, who brought her 9-year-old daughter. ‘It was like a children’s birthday party over there.’”

She goes out with younger men and loves it

“Britton, who was briefly married right out of college, is single now, but she is usually dating someone. ‘In my experience of watching Connie Britton’s dating life, it has not been Connie getting beaten out by 25-year-old girls, let’s leave it at that,’ says the producer Sarah Aubrey, a friend. If Britton bristles at characterizations of a 40-year-old woman as losing her appeal, it’s because she thinks those assumptions are off-base. ‘Because frankly I’ve had a different experience, as a single woman,’ she said. ‘Younger men and all that.’ It’s not that she has a particular pattern of dating younger men, she clarified. ‘Let’s put it this way: The older you get, the easier it is to date younger men.’ She laughed. ‘There are more of them.’”

But being single doesn’t stop her from having a family

“Britton, sipping a glass of water with mint leaves, was watching her son, Eyob, a 2-year-old she adopted from Ethiopia in 2011, as he romped with the two family dogs, each of which was easily double his size.”

Read the full profile here.

Prachi Gupta
Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    DAYA  
    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    MORELLO   
    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CINDY   
    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CAPUTO   
    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    BOO   
    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    SOSO
    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    POUSSEY
    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    PENNSATUCKY
    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CHANG
    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    HEALY
    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NORMA
    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NICKI
    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>