Curled up on a hotel couch in Tribeca, Bridget Moynahan, her long hair lustrously tousled, is musing about the life-changing moments she’s experienced in recent years, events both startling and serendipitous. The one that made titillating tabloid news: discovering she was pregnant, in 2007, after Super Bowl–winning quarterback Tom Brady left her for übermodel Gisele Bündchen. That might have driven many of us into hiding for a decade, but Moynahan insists she has trained herself to look on the sunny side. Or, as she puts it, “No matter what is happening, you have to find the positive of the situation and grasp onto that.” Now, dressed in blue jeans, black boots and a heavy cardigan, Moynahan is in a celebratory mood, ordering a mid-afternoon glass of white wine, happy to have so many positives to grasp.
After working on a few failed TV series and fearing she’d forever be a model turned actress who wasn’t taken seriously, Moynahan now has a film career and a plum TV role: playing an almost-divorced prosecutor on the top-rated new CBS series Blue Bloods, with Tom Selleck costarring as her police commissioner father and Donni Wahlberg as her cop brother. To accept the part, she had to leave the sunshine and security of California and take her son, Jack, to New York City, where the series is filming—and it seems her gamble has paid off. “We’ve been number one on Friday nights,” she says, grinning, “so unless it tanks, we’re coming back next season.”
This is a major repositioning for a woman who, just a few years back, had to read about her life in screaming headlines. “Oh, no! I’m knocked up, we’ve split up and this is my rival!”was how the New York Daily News summarized the end of her three-year romance with the New England Patriots’ Brady and the beginning of his relationship with Bündchen. The New York Post breathlessly announced, Tom’s camp disses Bridget; two years later, the same paper blared, Bridget’s camp blasts Gisele after Bündchen discussed Moynahan’s baby with Vanity Fair, making proprietary comments such as “I already feel like he’s my son, from the first day.”
Who could resist responding to such provocation? But Moynahan has fallen back on an old-fashioned virtue: discretion. As her friend, singer Sam Harris, recalls telling her, “The high road sucks. But who do you want to be for your child?” Ask Moynahan about her media ordeal, and she replies, “I never made comment about Gisele or Tom publicly. I have a relationship with these people on a daily basis. I’m raising a child, and it’s public. The media creates these dramas, and that’s not what’s happening in my life.” She smiles, then adds wryly, “I keep thinking about poor Angelina and Jennifer and Brad, braided in together. It’s possible they haven’t run into each other in years.” She wants to believe her own tabloid moment is over, saying, “I don’t think we’re dragged around the media together.”
Whether or not the tabloids have moved on, Moynahan has. She met her new boyfriend, the Hollywood movie director (Charlie’s Angels, Terminator Salvation) Joseph McGinty Nichol, known as McG, when they happened to be seated together on an airplane. As she recalls, the director enthusiastically told her, “We have to work together; you have to come see me.” Then he fell asleep and, upon waking 90 minutes later, announced, “I don’t want to work together. I want to be friends.” Moynahan’s first reaction: How did I just lose a job? Now she cannot praise the guy enough, saying, “He’s witty, he’s smart, he’s incredibly funny, he’s got incredible taste, and he comes from a great family. He’s the salt of the earth but also very successful in the crazy business that we’re in.” And most important, her son approves of him. As she puts it, “He and Jack have a great relationship.”
How a Child Changed Everything