Becoming ... Kate Hudson
Hudson (at the Raising Helen premiere in L.A.) shed the reported 60 lbs. she gained while pregnant thanks to a mix of interval training, weights and Pilates, along with a low-carb, high-protein diet. "I can't begin to describe how hard she worked," says strength coach Joseph Horrigan. "Kate trained like an elite athlete."
Hudson is balancing work and motherhood. Baby Ryder (born Jan. 7) accompanied mom to New York where she spent part of May promoting Raising Helen (left). And while Hudson filmed The Skeleton Key in New Orleans recently, she nursed Ryder between takes.
LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER
Hudson and Hawn, self-proclaimed free spirits, talk to each other "every day," says Mom. "We love hanging out." That includes practicing yoga together, going shopping and taking spa trips. Of their physical resemblance, Hudson says, "To me, it is an honor. She is the epitome of beauty: She's beautiful aesthetically, but she is a beautiful mother too."
On New Year's Eve 2000, seven months after meeting Chris Robinson, Hudson, then 21, married the former Black Crowes frontman at her family's Colorado home. Her first impression of the scruffy singer (with Hudson in New York in 2002)? "It was love, love, love," she said. As for him: "I'm in such a better place as a husband, as part of a family, as a musician."
Hudson and Robinson (with friends in Malibu in May 2003) share two homes – in L.A. and New York – and enjoy spending lots of quiet time outside the spotlight. "I cook, I knit; he watches TV, he writes," she says. "We hang together."
Vowing to be "fashionably pregnant," a glowing Hudson stayed true to her word in a belly-baring, two-piece number at the 2003 Venice Film Festival premiere of Le Divorce. In December, she spent $1,700 at L.A.'s Naissance boutique on maternity "pieces that were fitted and trendy," a clerk told PEOPLE.
Thanks to her freewheeling fashion sense, Hudson (left, in 2001; and right, in 2002) "has revolutionized the way a Hollywood ingenue dresses," says a PEOPLE Best amp Worst Dressed panelist.
Hudson uses stylists for such big occasions as the Oscars, but relies on her own fashion sense in her downtime. "I've always been someone who wears what she likes," says Hudson (left, in 2000; and right, in 2001). Her style: a bohemian rhapsody of distressed denim, funky overcoats and accessories like fedoras and snakeskin cowboy boots.
In 1997, Hudson graduated from Santa Monica's Crossroads School, where students participate in performing arts and community service in addition to taking traditional classes. A year later, she landed her first film role – alongside Casey Affleck and Christina Ricci in Desert Blue.
At 21, Hudson won critical raves, landed an Oscar nomination and won a Golden Globe for her role as teenage groupie Penny Lane in 2000's Almost Famous. In the role, Hudson glowed "as brightly as mom Goldie Hawn did back in her early days," and "demonstrated tremendous self-assurance," PEOPLE movie critic Leah Rozen wrote in 2001.
Hudson's How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days opened at No. 1 in February 2003 and grossed more than $100 million. "She has that rare combination of sexuality and comedy," says director Rob Reiner of Hudson (with costar Matthew McConaughey on TRL last year). "She is going to do really well – even beyond what her mother did."
Her father is singer-comedian Bill Hudson, but Kate grew up with mom Goldie Hawn and actor Kurt Russell. Kate (in Malibu last year with Russell) gave props to the man she calls "Pa" by naming her baby Ryder Russell Robinson. Shortly after the birth, an excited Russell told PEOPLE: "Kate's a born mother. That's what we've discovered: Kate's a mama."
Hawn and Russell (in 1997 with Hudson and her brothers Oliver Hudson, far left, and Wyatt Russell) "did a great job raising Kate," says Luke Wilson, Hudson's Alex and Emma costar. "She has lots of confidence but is also sensitive to other people."