The actress' memoir, Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life, comes out next month
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juliana marguiles
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When Julianna Margulies was first introduced to her husband Keith Lieberthal, she had already left her starring role in the hit NBC medical drama ER.

"He honestly didn't know who I was," the actress, 54, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "I mean, if he had seen my work, he didn't know. He was in law school. I was like, 'There's a couple movies I don't want you to see.'"

In her new memoir, Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life, Margulies opens up about her tumultuous childhood and how her parents' split when she was an infant affected her outlook on love. Cautiously optimistic when she met Lieberthal, 48, the two began dating and six months into their relationship, she invited him to the premiere of her 2006 movie, Snakes on a Plane.

For more from Julianna Margulies, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

Credit: Ballantine Books

"It was actually the weekend of our six-month anniversary since we had met, so we were out in L.A. and we went to this restaurant to celebrate," Margulies recalls. "I just remember looking at him across the table, after he had watched this movie that... I mean, listen, it was a fun movie to do, and I'll do anything with Samuel L. Jackson in it, but it's not a high-brow movie. And he had so much fun."

The star insists she knew in that moment Lieberthal was the one. "We had such a good time at the premiere, and we were just laughing our a--es off," she says. "At dinner, I was like, 'Wow, if he could sit through that and still see me for who I am, I would marry this guy if he asked me tomorrow.'"

The two were wed in 2007 and then welcomed their only child, son Kieran, now 13. Margulies says the idea of having a son "was something out of my comfort zone. I'm from a family of all girls; I knew how to take care of a girl."

julianna marguiles
Credit: Yu Tsai

Now her son "teaches me every day," she says. "He taught me about chilling out during the pandemic. I lost it on several occasions. I remember asking him, 'Are you doing okay?' He goes, 'What's not to love? I go to school in my pajamas, you're home every night cooking a delicious meal, and then we play.'"

Margulies, who is currently filming the hit AppleTV+ series The Morning Show in L.A., does admit she taught her son "to play poker."

"So just know if my son is in jail for counting cards when he's 25, it's totally my fault," she adds.

Margulies' memoir, Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life, will be released on May 4.