The actress is mom to son Ellery, 18, and daughter Jaya, 14

By Helen Murphy
August 23, 2019 10:25 AM

Laura Dern is getting candid about single parenting.

In a recent interview with Modern Luxury‘s Boston Common magazine, the Big Little Lies star opened up about being a single mom to son Ellery, 18, and daughter Jaya, 14, calling it “overwhelming” and “stressful.”

“On good days, I am kind enough to remember that there are growing pains, and it is all overwhelming and not easy or always fun,” Dern, who shares her two children with ex-husband Ben Harper, said.

Laura Dern

“On the hard days, it’s stressful and there is too much going on as a single parent — and it can be hard to carve out a minute for yourself,” the actress continued. “I have never had anybody else bully me in my single parenting life. I am lucky to have champions around me, but I can definitely do it to myself.”

Dern, 52, and Harper finalized their divorce in September 2013 after eight years of marriage.

Ava Elizabeth Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Jaya Harper and Ellery Walker Harper
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

RELATED: Laura Dern’s Son Ellery Walker Harper, 17, Makes His Fashion Week Debut in Calvin Klein Show

Laura Dern

In an interview with InStyle earlier this year, Dern said that being a single parent has made her more “ambitious.”

“The more I learn about my mistakes as a mother, the deeper I enjoy how fully I love my children,” she shared. “Because I can let them know I really screw up sometimes. I hide from blame in a lot of areas in my life, but I’m trying not to do that as a mom.”

“This is the first time in my life that I am being ambitious because I am a single parent. Raising kids gave me enough street cred to feel like I deserved the right to make money,” Dern continued. “This moment in my life is so sexy and freeing because I’ve had many relationships, I’ve had a marriage, I have my amazing children, so I’m not hiding who I am to get somebody who is willing to have kids or be married.”

Laura Dern

RELATED: Big Little Lies: Everything We Know About a Potential Season 3

Laura Dern with daughter Jaya Harper
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

It’s been a busy year for the actress, who starred in the second season of Big Little Lies earlier in the summer and will act alongside Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson in the highly anticipated film adaptation of Little Women, set to be released in December.

“My last fall and winter were spent doing [Little Women], and it was incredible,” Dern told Boston Common. “It was so deeply female. We were playing such complicated women that when you reread the book, you feel it was written yesterday. It is complex and explorative of an independent voice and sexuality.”

“It is not just, ‘Oh, we made a women’s movie,’” she continued. “They have made Little Women before. The conversation we were having around it felt revolutionary. We are having the same conversation women have been having forever.”

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