Christina Ricci on Family Life: 'I Didn't Realize How Much Better I Could Be'

Ricci tells PEOPLE that her husband and son have "made me better"

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Christina Ricci is crediting marriage and motherhood for molding her into the best version of herself.

The actress, who stars as Zelda Fitzgerald in Amazon’s Z: The Beginning of Everything, has lived almost her entire life in front of the camera and is thankful for the key people in her world who have helped keep her grounded.

“I think the latest developments in my life have grounded me,” Ricci, 36, tells PEOPLE. “My agent has been with me since I was 10 years old and she’s a brilliant, grounded woman, so she’s responsible for that element. But also really, it was getting married and having a child.”

Ricci, who married James Heerdegen in 2013 and welcomed their son, Freddie (now 2) in August 2014, says that getting married and becoming a mother spurred her to be better.

“I didn’t realize how much growing up I had to do and how much better I could be,” Ricci says. “And my marriage and my kid have really made me better.”

Although the actress has been busy filming and executive-producing Z — “It’s really been a real whallop. It’s my baby and it’s changed my life the way a baby does,” she tells PEOPLE about the series —she makes it a priority to spend time with Freddie on days that she’s not working.

“Usually when I’m off, I’m with my son,” she tells PEOPLE. “When I’m not working, I try to be as full-time with him as I can be. Taking him to his play dates and nursery school.”

In March 2016, Ricci told PEOPLE that “having a child changed everything.”

“It’s made everything in my life actually important and matter. I now have to take things seriously, and I never did before,” she said. “I want to succeed for him. My choices matter more.”

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