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.”

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 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
    This is a weird one, but in the nervy surreal way that word-playful novels like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ulysses" are weird. The main character, a teenage schoolboy named Scarper Lee, lives in a world where it rains knives and people make their own parents, contraptions that can be anything from a tiny figurine stashable in a pocket to biomorphic boiler-like entities that seem to have escaped from Dr. Seuss' nightmares. Their homes are crammed with gadgets they call gods and instead of TV they watch a hulu-hoop-size wheel of repeating images that changes with the day of the week. They also know their own "death day," and Scarper's is coming up fast. Maybe that's why he runs off with the new girl at school, a real troublemaker, and the obscurely dysfunctional Castro, whose mother is a cageful of talking parakeets. A solid towline of teenage angst holds this manically inventive vision together, and proves that some graphic novels can rival the text-only kind at their own game.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
    For each issue, the anthology magazine put out by this adventurous U.K.-based publisher of independent graphic design, illustration and comics gives 45 artists a four-color palette and a theme. In the ninth issue, the theme is silence, and the results are magnificent and full of surprises. The comics, each told in images only, range from atmospheric to trippy to jokey to melancholy to epic to creepy. But the two-page illustrations are even more powerful, even if it's not always easy to see how they pertain to the overall concept of silence. Well, except perhaps for the fact that so many of them left me utterly dumbstruck with visual delight.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
    Corinna Park, former English major, works, unhappily, in a Toronto advertising agency. When the dissatisfaction of the past five years begins to oppress her, she lets off steam by pilfering magazines from a local convenience store. Cho's moody character study is as much about city life as it is about Corinna. He depicts her falling asleep in front of the TV in her condo, brooding on the subway, roaming the crowded streets after a budding romance goes awry. Like a great short story, this is a simple tale of a young woman figuring out how to get her life back, but if feels as if it contains so much of contemporary existence -- its comforts, its loneliness, its self-deceptions -- suspended in wintery amber.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
    This collection of archetypal horror, fairy and ghost stories, all about young girls, comes lushly decked in Carroll's inky black, snowy white and blood-scarlet art. A young bride hears her predecessor's bones singing from under the floorboards, two friends make the mistake of pretending to summon the spirits of the dead, a family of orphaned siblings disappears one by one into the winter nights. Carroll's color-saturated images can be jagged, ornate and gruesome, but she also knows how to chill with absence, shadows and a single staring eye. Literary readers who cherish the work of Kelly Link or the late Angela Carter's collection, "The Bloody Chamber," will adore the violent beauty on these pages.

  • 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>