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The People, UK
July 27, 2008
X-Files Star Gillian Anderson Talks About Screen Fame, Motherhood... And Her Own Times As A Young Rebel
By Garth Pearce

X-FILES star Gillian Anderson knows all about being a wild child - which is why she's nervous now her own daughter Piper has entered the tricky teen years.

Piper and her mum get along fine but Gillian - 40 in two weeks - shudders at the thought of her little girl rebelling like she did. The redhead actress, who returns to the big screen as sci-fi investigator Dana Scully this week, admitted: "There is part of me which is a bit afraid."

Gillian recalled how, at 14, she put a stud in her nose, dyed her hair red and found a punk musician boyfriend. It was the Chicago-born youngster's reaction to feeling stifled after she moved with her family to sleepy Grand Rapids, Michigan, after a spell in Britain.

She said: "Life was excruciatingly painful for years. I'd deal with it by being quite wild - promiscuous, drinking a lot. I started to wear funky miniskirts and gradually progressed to more outrageous outfits. I felt I was being creative for the first time. My parents were scared I'd get into trouble but allowed me to be independent and do whatever I needed. Some things were hard for them."

Gillian is looking forward to the release this Friday of The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Legions of fans will be delighted to see her teamed up again with David Duchovny, 47, as Fox Mulder. It's the first X-Files film for ten years and the pair haven't been together on screen since the smash-hit TV series ended six years ago.

But despite all the excitement, Gillian found time to talk of the trials and joys of motherhood.

She has a 19-month-old son Oscar with British businessman Mark Griffiths, 36, and is expecting another child by him in the autumn. Gillian's first husband Clyde Klotz, an assistant art director on The X-Files, is father of 13-year-old Piper. The glamorous and youthful looking star said she hopes she will be as sympathetic to her daughter as her parents were to her.

Relaxing at Soho House, the London club for movie and media folk, Gillian smiled as she said: "This is not helpful to hear from a mother. It is too understanding. They want discipline. She wants me to say, 'Go to your room'. But, in our family unit there is so much out on the table. We talk a lot. That will, hopefully, circumvent any dire situations. "But the parent is always going to be the bad guy and I wonder what will happen. There is a very good reason why teenagers have to go through a period during which they fight against their parents. They need, one day, to leave home and have their own lives. If they did not forcibly separate themselves, then that might never happen. That's why they say, 'You are the enemy. I don't want anything to do with you old crones'."

Gillian married Clyde on New Year's Day, 1994 and Piper was born on September 25. "I got pregnant on my wedding night," Gillian said. "How old-fashioned is that?" The X-Files scriptwriters dreamed up a plot where Scully was kidnapped and lapsed into a coma to cover Gillian's absence during the weeks after the birth. "Piper made me appreciate life," said Emmy winner Gillian.

She and Clyde divorced in 1997. Gillian married writer Julian Ozanne in 2004 but they parted after 16 months. She later got together with Mark.

Gillian stressed: "The order of events was that I left my marriage and then I met Mark. I started a relationship and had a son in November 2006. Mark is one of the kindest people I have ever met. He has a very good head on his shoulders and part of me was ready to be grounded. I recognised that in him. That is exactly what has taken place - a grounding for all of us. And really paying attention to what is precious. One of the negative sides of my spontaneity is that I had a tendency not to appreciate what was happening. It felt that my life was flying by. So I felt a need to enjoy what was going on and what I've got. I wanted to slow down."

The couple met through friends. "Things just happened particularly quickly," said Gillian. "It is not in my nature to slow down." Gillian said that, thanks to her success as FBI agent Scully, "I could afford to move to London and do the things that I'd always wanted to do". Her life is now split between a home in the capital and "a thatched cottage in the country".

Gillian is perfectly at ease in Britain. She was only two when her parents left Chicago to live in Crouch End, north London. She was 11 when they returned to the US. She said: "There is a huge irony attached to this. Piper moved to London three years ago. Within a year of her moving, she had a brother. The same thing happened to me, but in reverse. I moved from London to America then had a brother, Aaron. There was part of me that wanted to put the brakes on and think, 'This is not happening.' I had been an only child and was very jealous. But I hope that Piper comes away from it with positive memories."

Gillian travels between her homes in a smart Audi 6 - a clue to her enthusiasm for sporty motors. She said: "The first car I bought for myself was a black BMW 325i. I have also owned a couple of Porsches, a Boxster and a 911. I was watching Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear the other day and would love to do that drive against the clock around a wet track. "What would probably happen is that I would spin out of control and end up on the grass. But I'd love to give it a go."

The star's love of fast cars reflects the nonstop nature of her life and career. After emerging unscathed from her wild teenage years she won her first movie role in The Turning in 1992. Her big break came just a year later in The X-Files - which won dozens of awards and a massive following in Britain over nine series of TV adventures involving the supernatural.

Gillian said: "I was in my midtwenties and suddenly in a top show. I wasn't even aware of it at first because we were filming in Vancouver and not caught up in the Hollywood hype. But once the show took off, I did not know what had hit me. It came early in my career and that sort of attention can be frightening."

Gillian has also starred in West End plays and low-budget movies such as the thriller Straightheads and The Last King of Scotland, for which Forest Whitaker won an Oscar playing dictator Idi Amin. But whatever the future brings, Gillian will be grateful to The X-Files. "It changed my life for the better and gave me a freedom that I could never have expected," she said. The actress is also convinced that she has learned to balance family life and work.

She said: "I feel very content. I have created space to remember who I am. And I am feeling alive and creative. The first time I was pregnant I was working such long hours on the TV series. And for Piper's first few years, it was so intense. I made a commitment to myself then that I would never do it again. I am facing my 40th birthday feeling very good about life and my family."

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