When Michelle Pfeiffer signed up to play Velma von Tussle in Hairspray, she sat her and husband David E. Kelley‘s children, Claudia Rose, 14, and John Henry, 12, down to discuss the character’s bigotry in order to prepare them for what they will eventually see on-screen. Off-screen, Michelle, 49, knows all too well about racism, having dealt with it firsthand when she adopted Claudia, who is of mixed-race.

The actress also addresses another prejudice she often faces – adopted children vs. biological children. Michelle, who once taught a reporter a " great lesson" by correcting her usage of the term "adopted daughter," believes that issue should be put to rest.