More: Do you remember when you got struck by Cupid?
JF: I absolutely do. I was doing the show Ellen, and during an off-episode, when writers are putting together the next script, Ellen was doing a production for Disney’s Epcot Center. One day Ellen told me to come see her on the set. The moment I walked in I saw Ellen hanging from a crane with Bill Nye the Science Guy. As I saw Ellen waving to me, I also saw this stunning, silver-haired, strapping young man with his eye to the lens. I looked at Ellen and signed to her, Who is that? Ellen nodded, “Yeah, he’s cute!” To make a long story short, that is my husband [Christopher Duddy] of 16 years.
More: Ellen the matchmaker—I love it.
JF: Yeah. She always says, I found you a husband—which she did. We got married a year later on the same stage where we met.
More: You are also the mother to five children. How are you juggling a Hollywood career, PTA meetings and carpool?
JF: My husband had two sons from his last relationship, who became my stepsons; they are now adults. We also have three little girls. I am still learning how to juggle. I have had a lot of time with my girls, and I do look for things that keep me in Los Angeles because I want my face to be the last one they see at night.
More: So you have it under control?
JF: Everywhere I look, I see a two-career family where both the mother and the father work. It is more accepted in this day and age. My husband and I are partners in raising our children. However, we are also just like everyone else. We have our moments where we tear our hair out, and there are days when we go from school to the doctor for a sick child and then help with homework at every level. I have got laundry going right now.
More: Will you let your daughter who is a dancer follow in her parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps?
JF: I would. But I went to college first and didn’t work until I got out. I feel that is better for her, because I would like her to have something to fall back on. This business can be great, but it can also be really tough.
More: You adopted a little girl back in 2008. What made you go that route and focus on a domestic adoption?
>JF: It is such a blessing to me and such a blessing to her. I always wanted to adopt, even when I was a little girl. I remember seeing pictures of so many little kids from Romania on trains—that image really affected me as a child. Fast-forward to me talking to a stand-in on a set. This woman had two beautiful children she had adopted from the Los Angeles area. She put me in touch with another woman, and three weeks later I had a baby. Although I had to talk my husband into it, it was the right time and the right place. Now we have this gorgeous, smart, a bit of a pain in the neck but otherwise just perfect little girl.
More: How has the transition been?
JF: It is a tough road because she is a different color than the rest of us. She knows that she is brown. Although she hasn’t asked me any questions, one day she will ask. I have shown her a couple of photographs of her mother, and she does have a biological sibling. We are not ready to go there yet because she is only four, but it is a daily thing that we encounter, such as when she wants to brush her hair like her two blonde, blue-eyed sisters. We deal with things as they come up.
More: Is it working perfectly for you?
JF: I have my days when it is not [laughs]. I am not your average bird. I do, however, have a life that people can identify with. I have five beautiful children, I work hard, and I work hard to provide for them. I am really comfortable in my own skin, and I want the same thing for my girls.