ANDIE MACDOWELL

THE AC­TRESS OPENS UP ABOUT WHY SHE LEFT HOL­LY­WOOD — AND HOW SHE’S GROWN HAP­PIER WITH AGE

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The ac­tress opens up about her de­ci­sion to leave Hol­ly­wood and why life is bet­ter at 60.

Twenty years ago, “peo­ple would keep say­ing to me when I was in­ter­viewed: ‘How does it feel to turn 40 and know that you’re not go­ing to work any­more?’” Andie MacDowell re­calls. She’s proven those naysay­ers wrong, earn­ing raves for her turn as a widow in this year’s drama Love Af­ter Love — and do­ing her first nude scene at 60. “Now ev­ery­body knows what I look like [naked], and I’m not worried about it any­more. I’d be happy to do it again.”

That’s not the only way Andie has stripped down to the bare es­sen­tials. The South Carolina na­tive found fame in hits like Four Wed­dings and a Fu­neral and Ground­hog Day but left Hol­ly­wood for a Mon­tana ranch. “I like to be in na­ture around trees,” she says. “I had a big house, and I’ve had a small house, and I think I was hap­pier in the smaller house.”

She’s passed along those val­ues to her kids: son Justin and daugh­ters Rainey and Mar­garet from her 1986 to 1999 mar­riage to fel­low for­mer model Paul Qual­ley. “I wanted to give my chil­dren a nor­mal life,” she says. “They rarely went to open­ings or pre­mieres. We’ve never spent much time watch­ing my movies. When I came home I never talked about my work. I just talked about them.”

Both daugh­ters fol­lowed their mom into act­ing. “I’m happy — it suits them very nat­u­rally,” says Andie, who has of­fered them plenty of ad­vice. “Never be des­per­ate, you’re al­lowed to make mis­takes,” she shares. “And only do it if it’s fun, be­cause if you’re do­ing some­thing that you truly en­joy, there is a big­ger chance that you will suc­ceed.”

Andie’s sec­ond mar­riage, to busi­ness­man Rhett Hart­zog from 2001 to 2004, also ended in di­vorce, but she’s learned im­por­tant lessons from the tough times she’s en­dured. “I know what it is to have much deeper pains,” she says. “I’m more con­fi­dent and I have so much knowl­edge about life, peo­ple and hu­man­ity.”

That’s al­lowed her to be­come a bet­ter ac­tress as well. “You have a lot more depth by the time you’re my age be­cause you’ve had to strug­gle,” she says. “I un­der­stand what it is to have a com­plex life. You see things dif­fer­ently, and I think you have more to of­fer.”

THE LAST LAUGH

Cast­ing di­rec­tors seem to agree, as Andie has re­cently landed roles in the Bri­tish sit­com Cuckoo and the up­com­ing Net­flix com­edy The Last Laugh, op­po­site Richard Drey­fuss and Chevy Chase. But she’s less fo­cused on her ca­reer these days than she is on her spir­i­tual life. “My be­lief is in kind­ness — as you get older, I feel like if you’re go­ing down the right road there is this clar­ity that you can see in your eyes,” she says. “It’s a gen­tle­ness that is the most beau­ti­ful as­pect a hu­man can have. That is my goal — to con­tinue to work on the gen­tle side of my­self.” — Bruce Fretts, with re­port­ing

by Ja­clyn Roth

Andie with daugh­ters Mar­garet and Rainey andson Justin

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