Working for years as a behind-the-scenes star-maker at Saturday Night Live, Lindsay Shookus enjoyed her life in show business but outside the spotlight.
That all changed last summer when she and Ben Affleck went public with their relationship.
“It’s strange to me,” Shookus, 37, recently told Elle, of having the spotlight turn in her direction, in a rare interview.
“My entire career has been behind the camera, and that’s definitely where I’m most comfortable. I’m a producer, I’m a mom, a friend,” she added. “Being considered a public figure honestly makes me laugh.”
Shookus also keeps the added attention in perspective. “Someone thinks about you for one minute and then says, ‘What do I want for lunch?” she joked.
“I’ve put a lot of time in the past two years into just making myself better internally,” said Shookus, who has a 5-year-old daughter from a previous marriage to producer Kevin Miller.
“Self-love means something. I thought it was all a joke for a long time. It’s really important. Giving yourself a break is really important,” she added.
While Shookus spent the majority of her career out of the limelight, she’s helped thrust several aspiring talents into stardom through her work as a scout on SNL. “She saw my tape – I don’t know if it was lost in the shuffle or what – and she took it to the right people and was like, ‘I really think we should audition this person,’ ” Kristen Wiig told Elle.
“Auditioning for SNL is a very nerve-racking experience, and Lindsay and I clicked. She kind of talked me down a little bit — I was very nervous. She was with me through the whole process; I’ll never forget that,” Wiig, who remains close friends with Shookus, added. “Lindsay is fun to get a drink with and is also one of the better dancers I know.”
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Shookus, one of only two women head producers on the sketch comedy show, according to Elle, also opened up about what it was like working during her pregnancy. “Within the span of five days, I found out that I was taking over the department and also that I was pregnant,” she revealed. “I was in a pure panic. Both of those things I’d wanted for so long — I just didn’t imagine it all happening at the exact same time.”
She decided to keep it a secret. “I wanted the chance to prove that I could do the job without everyone worrying, like, ‘Uh-oh, she’s pregnant, she’s going to be a mom,’” she explained. “I had a lot to prove that year.”
When she finally told SNL creator and producer Lorne Michaels the news, she told Elle, “I swear, I think my stomach grew five inches right then.”
On her due date, Shookus told the outlet she worked a 14-hour day. “I wore heels and a dress, and at the end of the show, I remember Lorne looked at me and was like, ‘You going to the party?’ I was like, ‘No, Lorne. I’m gonna go have a baby now.’ ”
Shookus took six-week leave before getting back to work. “I was surprised at how healing going back to work was for me, in the way of, like, this is who I am. I’m not just a mom. It reminded me of what I’m good at and what made me feel good,” she told Elle.
Meanwhile, the producer has been spending time recently in Hawaii with Affleck, 45, who’s been shooting his new film Triple Frontier on the island. She was in attendance when the actor threw the cast and crew a party at the end of April. The two were spotted holding hands in Honolulu back in March.
A source previously told PEOPLE that Affleck and Shookus are “very much still together.” Another source said the couple is “not rushing anything,” but that they “enjoy each others company” and “are in a committed relationship.”