Considering that her path to parenthood led straight through an emotional minefield, it’s small wonder that Moynahan recalls “hyperventilating” with anxiety after giving birth. Her parents, still based in her hometown of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, went to Los Angeles to stay with her for a month, but as their departure date grew near, Moynahan panicked a bit. “Every time my dad mentioned he had to go, I’d start crying,” she says. But now she’s adjusted to the responsibility and declares, “There’s not a second that I regret having a child on my own.”
Her happiness as a mother is tangible to her friends. “She’s inspiring. She talks about her son all day,” says Wahlberg. “I’m a single parent, too, and that’s allowed our friendship to get deeper. She doesn’t bad-mouth Tom to me, and I certainly wouldn’t bad-mouth my ex to her. Sometimes it’s just sharing pictures of our kids and a joke. She’s very funny.” Aaron Eckhart, who costars with Moynahan in this month’s sci-fi thriller Battle: Los Angeles, recalls that during filming in Louisiana, “she was always laughing and smiling. Her eyes sparkled when she brought Jack around.”
Moynahan says she enjoys the rough- and-tumble of raising a son. “I wanted a boy,” she says. “I’m more apt to say, ‘Let’s wrestle, let’s throw him in the air.’ It’s really fun to play baseball in the backyard, to teach him how to do it.”Contemplating Jack’s hectic schedule (preschool, soccer, playdates, visits with his Boston-based father), Moynahan says with a laugh, “He’s got his own life, a busier life than I do.”
Not exactly. She has been putting in 12-hour days on Blue Bloods, which films on a Brooklyn soundstage and all over Manhattan, plus she has been jetting off on occasional weekends to see McG, who has been filming a movie in Vancouver. She confesses to being so overextended that “I lost my American Express card and my license three times in a month, which was fun.” To stay in shape for this marathon of a life, she squeezes in morning workouts with a trainer—her routine today includes martial arts kicks—and she can’t resist bragging, “I am in better shape than I was in high school. And I was a three-sport athlete.”
Nonetheless, growing up, she did not dream of playing professional sports—or teetering down catwalks or memorizing movie scripts. “I always thought I’d be a dentist,” she says, then laughs and adds, “There’s still time!” Her mother, a history teacher, stopped working after the children were born; her father, now retired, was a scientist turned patent expert at the Univer-sity of Massachusetts. Moynahan—christened Kathryn Bridget and nicknamed Kat—has two brothers. She was the middle child but jokes, “For a long time, when I was lying about my age, my younger brother would cover for me by saying he was in the middle.” (Did she really lie about her age? “I was 29 for about 29 years,” replies Moynahan, who turns 40 in April.)
In high school she experienced one of the chance moments that she feels have shaped her life, when she drove a friend to an appointment at the Springfield, Massachusetts, office of the John Casablancas modeling agency. The booker took a look at Moynahan, then 16 and five foot ten, and signed her up. It wasn’t all that glamorous, she recalls, but “you’re doing a catalog in a Springfield magazine for scuba gear, making $60, which is a lot more than you would get paid at Bob’s Big Boy waiting tables.” There were so many models with her first name that for jobs she went by her middle name instead.
The plan was still to attend college, but after one semester at the University of Massachusetts (including a not-fondly-remembered course in probability and statistics), she quit in favor of the bright lights, big city. As she explains, “I had to borrow money from my parents, and it took a lot to convince them to let me go to New York and try it.” The three agreed to a deal: “If it didn’t work out in a year or I wasn’t happy, I’d go back to school.”