Kyra Sedgwick is musing about the meaning of a song that her husband, the actor and weekend rocker Kevin Bacon, wrote about her, called “Arm Wrestling Woman.” She recites a lyric: “I will rub her when she’s sore, and I will share her with the world.” Bacon was already a celebrity when the couple married in 1988; now Sedgwick’s star turn in the TNT series The Closer, which starts its sixth season in July, has made her a Golden Globe–winning household name as well. “Kevin has to share me with more of the world now than he signed up for,” she says with a wry smile.
“He did sign up for an actress,” she continues. “But my life has become bigger, and I’ve become more independent; I’m away six months a year, and he’s been home a lot with the kids. I go to work, and sometimes at the end of the day, I’m too tired to have a really long conversation.” As the balance in their marriage has shifted with her newfound prominence, she stresses, Bacon has been endlessly supportive and reliable. “To be able to count on someone like that, it moves me,” she says.
On a sunny spring afternoon, Sedgwick, luminescent at 44, is sitting in the lounge of the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Manhattan, high on the 35th floor, with sweeping views of Central Park. This is a transitional time for her and her daughter: Eighteen-year-old Sosie is about to graduate from high school (her other child, Travis, 21, will enter his senior year in college this fall). To accommodate Sedgwick’s desire to spend more time with her daughter, the filming of the new season of The Closer was pushed back several weeks. As James Duff, the show’s creator, explains, “Kyra told me, ‘I will never be a mother like this again.’ ”
Ask Sedgwick about her imminent empty-nest status, and she quips, “This is the crying portion of the interview.” She admits she is having a very hard time letting go, since being a mother is “how I define myself. I’d put it first on my résumé. It’s like, you’ve had this job forever, it’s the job you always wanted to do, and you were pretty good at it. Then you get fired for no reason!”
She laughs, then adds that she has been literally scheming for quality time with Sosie, keenly aware that high school seniors typically have priorities other than hanging out with Mom. “I set my alarm to wake up so I can see her,” Sedgwick says. “I don’t make plans on weekday evenings in case I can spend time with her. It’s pathetic; I don’t care.” As if on cue, her cell phone rings—it’s Sosie. Sedgwick grins with pleasure. A few minutes later, Sedgwick’s mother, family therapist Patricia Heller, calls as well; these three generations of women certainly seem to be close knit.
For her role as L.A. deputy police chief Brenda Johnson, Sedgwick speaks in a Southern accent, wears flowered dresses and comes across as endearingly ditzy yet tough as she presses murderers for confessions. In real life, she is pure New York, direct and outspoken, swearing frequently in conversation with the avidity of a cab driver. “She’s very salty; it doesn’t matter who’s in the room,” says her friend and series costar G. W. Bailey, who plays Lieutenant Provenza. In urban-cowgirl fashion, today she is wearing 1930s Western boots, James jeans, a vintage Bottega Veneta silk camisole revealing a hint of cleavage and an embroidered navy L’Wren Scott sweater. “I laugh when I see her on TV in those girly dresses. That is so not Kyra,” says Emily Lansbury, a pal since age 15, when she and Sedgwick attended Friends Seminary prep school in Manhattan (the two are producing a book-to-indie-movie project, Story of a Girl, starring Sedgwick). “She’s always been a bit of a tomboy.”