The actress, 62, split from Alec Baldwin in 2002 after nearly nine years of marriage when their daughter Ireland was just 7 years old. Basinger admits that going through a public divorce affected the way she raised her daughter.
“Divorce is hard on a kid, no matter how you cut it. And ours was very public and nasty,” Basinger told The Edit by Net-A-Porter. “So I brought up Ireland in a very unconventional way.”
In order to combat the emotional distress the divorce may have caused, Basinger said she made the extra effort to ensure that Ireland’s childhood was full of love.
“I just wanted her to be free. If she wanted to have her friends over and write over the walls with pen, that was fine,” she said. “I wanted her childhood to be full of love and light and animals and friends.”
Though Basinger and Baldwin were embroiled in a bitter four-year custody battle over their daughter following the split, the actress said they have since moved on and are on better terms.
“[Alec and I are] cool now, though,” she said. “Life goes on.”
She even joked that if she had only made a slightly different career choice, the entire situation could have been avoided.
“There were times I could have chosen [my movies] better. I did this film, The Marrying Man, where I met my eventual [now-ex] husband, Alec Baldwin, but I was teeter-tottering because I had also been offered Sleeping with the Enemy [which eventually starred Julia Roberts],” she said. “Isn’t it funny that I turned down Sleeping with the Enemy and then I went on to sleep with the enemy!”
And now that her divorce is in her distant past, Basinger said she’s noticed that her taste in men has changed over the years. The actress said that while she definitely still believes in lasting love, she is no longer attracted to the “bad boy.”
“I think it’s possible to date someone when you’re 20 and end up with them when you’re 55. Anything is possible. But my taste in men has changed a lot over the years,” she explained. “When you’re young you’re attracted to the ‘bad boy,’ only to find out that they’re actually just bullies or insecure – you’re attracted to fantasies.”
Basinger has been linked to her longtime hairstylist Mitch Stone. She said that her opinion on what makes someone attractive has evolved to focus less on looks and more on personality.
“Now, I’m more reality-based. As a sexual creature I’ve been attracted to a lot of different types, people that others have thought were unattractive,” she said. “But showing kindness and humor are the most important things to me now. If you have those qualities then I think that makes you attractive.”
Check out Basinger’s full interview on net-a-porter.com or on the free Edit app, available at the App Store and Google Play.