Moore met Freundlich in 1996 while making The Myth of Fingerprints, which he directed

By Liz McNeil
March 13, 2019 09:00 AM

In her new film Gloria Bell, Julianne Moore plays a middle-aged divorced mom of two who finds joy — and love while disco dancing after hours.

Moore’s multilayered performance in the remake of the 2013 Chilean film Gloria is getting rave reviews. And in this week’s PEOPLE, the 58 year old actress, who’s been married to husband filmmaker Bart Freundlich for nearly 16 years, with whom she has two children, Caleb, 21, and Liv, 16, reflects on finding (and making time for) love.

“We have this narrative in our culture that if you want a career, you have to work hard, go to school, look for a job, you have to apply yourself but love is supposed to just happen to you,” says the Oscar winner. “One day you’re going to meet someone and get hit over the head and boom! That happens in romantic comedies but in real life you have to make time. When you find a person, you have to invest in them and that relationship. And that’s what love is.”

Moore met Freundlich in 1996 while making The Myth of Fingerprints, which he directed. “It was pretty unexpected,” she recalls of their relationship.

Daniele Venturelli/Getty

The two began spending time on both coasts: in New York City, where he was based, and also in Los Angeles, where she was then living. “It kept going, and now we have this huge history together,” she says. “It’s true — that thing about love growing. It does and it gets way better.”

Julianne Moore and Bart Freundlich
Marion Curtis/StarPix/Shutterstock

Moore says marriage is: “a container for a family and that’s why legal marriage is important — that everyone be allowed to be married, every couple, because it’s a way of saying to the world, ‘I’m legally committed to this person and I’m going to make this container for the two of us, and then our children, and our life together.'”

For more about Moore, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

As for her marriage, she says (laughing), “Our container is pretty good. It’s not airtight but it’s pretty good, especially now having one child [Caleb] who is 21, who is almost finished with college and then another [Liv] who will go to college in two years, you think, ‘Wow we did it!’ We are intact and we are happy.”

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Sebastian Lelio, who directed Gloria Bell, as well as the original Gloria, calls his new film, “My love letter to Julianne.”

She, in turn, fell in love with her her character’s indomitable spirit. Says Moore, “Her vivacity, her desire to try new things, I love that about her.”

Gloria Bell is in theaters now.