Jane Kaczmarek discusses her recent personal turmoil

By Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith

HollywoodNews.com: Making Lifetime’s “Reviving Ophelia” movie that airs Monday (10/11) came as a much-appreciated lift for Jane Kaczmarek. The actress, who reigned for seven years as authoritarian mom Lois on “Malcolm in the Middle” — and for 17 as half of one of Hollywood’s favorite couples with ex-husband Bradley Whitford — admits, “It was a tough year. My husband filed for divorce. It was a very sad year.”

Many in the industry thought of the Whitfords as a great couple. “So did I,” she says. “I never thought I’d be single again.”

The divorce came in tandem with the disappointing cancellation of Steven Bochco’s ”Raising the Bar,” in which she played a judge, after two seasons.

“Reviving Ophelia” represents “the first time I’ve worked since all of this happened. My manager liked the idea of getting me in front of a camera again, reminding me when I was good at something,” says Jane candidly.

Drawn from psychotherapist Mary Pipher’s seminal books about the pressures and expectations facing young females in our “girl-poisoning” contemporary society, the movie centers on a high school girl’s (Rebecca Williams) relationship with an abusive boyfriend. Kaczmarek is the mother in denial.

These days, Jane is bouncing back. She’s dating. She continues to flex her acting muscles with North Hollywood’s Antaeus theater group (she opens in Lillian Hellman’s “The Autumn Garden” later this month). She says a half-hour comedy would be a dream, but she’s not open to the kind of series schedule in which 12-hour days are the norm.

Jane’s children are now 12, 10 and seven years old, and she says, “I don’t like to leave them. Being a mother has really become my – I really like it. I’m older – 54. Having kids this late, I waited so long to have them, and then when they were really little, I was working on ‘Malcolm’ – a great time on a great show. But now, I really love being home with my kids in the middle of the day, cooking with them, getting a real good look at what women who aren’t in show business do.”

FROM THE INSIDE LOOKING OUT: Busy character actor Nestor Serrano, who plays the not-so-nice Pancho Martin in Disney’s thrilling “Secretariat,” opening today (10/8), is relieved to find that moving from his long-time New York home to Los Angeles hasn’t slowed down his professional pace. In fact, he went right into working on an upcoming episode of “90210.” Part of the reason for the move: warmer and dryer weather conditions to benefit to his four-and-a-half-year-old daughter, who has cerebral palsy.

“I’ve been involved with United Cerebral Palsy of New York for 12 years – that’s approximately eight years before my daughter was born,” discloses Serrano. “A friend of mine who was helping out with an event told me about it….and little by little, I’d come in and help out and my involvement got bigger. My wife and I are board members. It’s purely a coincidence that our daughter was born with cerebral palsy.”

Volunteering, he says, isn’t a chore “when you love what you do, when you realize how many people out there don’t know there are resources that can help them…guide them through services and find financial resources.” Unfortunately, Serrano also knows, “There’s not a breakthrough on the horizon. You know, you can have a thousand people with cerebral palsy and a thousand different manifestations — from a vegetative state to a level that’s undetectable to the untrained eye and everything in-between.”

His daughter, “doesn’t do well in humidity. One of the main conditions in her case is breathing issues,” he says.

To read more go to Beck Smith Hollywood.

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