March 31, 2006 02:00 PM

After saying goodbye to Everybody Loves Raymond last year, Ray Romano has settled back into what made him a success: family life. Wife Anna is “happy to have me home,” says Romano, 48, who plays woolly mammoth Manny in Ice Age: The Meltdown. “But there are times where she just wishes that I was out.” When he’s not getting in the way of making dinner, Romano is getting the kids ready for school (“We literally drag them out of the bed,” he says), watching baseball games and worrying over his 15-year-old daughter Alexandra’s interest in boys. Romano – who’s been married for 19 years and also has 13-year-old twins Gregory and Matthew and 8-year-old Joseph – recently chatted about dealing with his new reality, grieving for Raymond and getting lost in his 10,000-square-foot house.

How is life for you post-Raymond?
Can’t you tell? Sad.

Is it weird not doing the show anymore?
It’s hard. All of a sudden I had all this free time and I was excited, but then after about three or four months it’s like you lost a family member. You kind of block it out and it hits you later.

You’re grieving?
There’s a sense of loss and a sense of void there. My therapist, when the show was ending and there was nothing wrong with me, I was stupid and happy, and he goes, “Do you want to start coming twice a week?” I said, “Well, what do you mean? What do you see that I don’t see?” But he was right, though.

But with more time, you must have rediscovered the joy of having kids.
Oh, yeah. I found out that they’re mine. No. I spent plenty of time with them during the show, but now there are a couple of things that I can do more – go to more baseball games and more school things and that sort of thing. That’s nice. But they’re in Ice Age 2. The twins have a line.

What is it?
They’re just one of the little animals in the beginning that yell, “Run for your life! The whole place is going to flood! The world is coming to an end!”

Are you worried they might turn into a male version of the Olsen twins?
No. They’re very shy, which is weird because they want to be in showbiz and tonight they’re going to be on the red carpet and people are going to go, “What was it like?” And they’re going to give one-word answers.

You’ve been married 19 years. Was your wife happy when the show ended?
It’s funny. We had a party, I said a speech, everyone cried and my wife told me that night, “I was the only one who wasn’t crying. I felt bad, but it was kind of like the other woman was leaving.” I said, “Well, if I have two women how come I never have sex?”

Are you comfortable now being a wealthy man?
Well, it’s a good problem to have, I guess. My wife won’t read any of this anyway, so I have to be honest: I wouldn’t have made my house that big now. It’s beautiful and she did it and worked with the designers and everyone loves it, but I like small and cozy more than big.

How big is it?
It’s 10,000 square feet.

You can lose people in that.
Yeah, and we lose hamsters. Each kid has their own bedroom and bathroom, and when I grew up we had one bathroom in the house. We have nine bathrooms in our house.

What’s next? Another movie?
Yeah, I’m looking at scripts, and when the right thing comes along, I’ll do it. I need a real-life live-action romance.

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