Melissa Joan Hart Is All Grown Up

Time flies when you are having fun! In Melissa Joan Hart’s case, one minute it seems she's the adorable teen starring in “Clarissa Explains All.” The next, she's transformed into a mom of three boys headlining her third TV series, “Melissa & Joey.” MORE took a ride with the actress, traveling back into her past and then back to the present.

by Ilyssa Panitz • Celebrity Reporter
melissa joan hart image
Photograph: Scott Gries/Invision/AP

More: I did a double take when I learned you were 38 because I still think of you as 18.
Melissa Joan Hart: Hearing my age makes people feel old. Yes, I grew up.
More: Congratulations are in order. You just became a mom for the third time.
MJH: We are doing great! As a matter of fact, I am holding the little guy, who just turned seven weeks old.

More: You do realize you are outnumbered in your household? [Hart and husband Mark Wilkerson now have three sons.]
MJH: Yes, but I had this coming because I grew up in a household that was practically all girls. I am the oldest of eight; seven girls.

More: How do you juggle three kids, a TV series and writing a book?
MJH: Every day there is a different priority. My iPhone calendar is truly my best friend. I do whatever it takes to keep it all on track. Some days work is pushed aside because being a mom is the most important thing. Saturday mornings I am always at one of my sons' soccer game, and Wednesday nights I am at my other son’s hockey game. Breast-feeding, writing and getting back in shape have also been huge priorities in my life.

More: Do you feel the pressure to lose the baby weight because you have been in the public eye for so long? 
MJH: Yes. In fact, I was once told that if I lost more weight I could have a movie career. But I was not that comfortable being that skinny or working that hard at it. Losing weight, going to the gym and dieting is not something I want to spend my life focusing on.But I do use the pressure as a motivation to work out.

More: Speaking of kids, you were a child star. What was that like?
MJH: Read my book [laughs]. It was an interesting childhood for sure. I started doing commercials and theater at four years old. Between the ages of 10 and 12 I learned so much from all of the projects I was involved in. From there I got Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Despite what you may think, my career was built very slowly. Yes, I love what I do, but at the same time I have things outside work I like to invest my time in, such as family and hobbies I enjoy doing.

More: You are working on a book called Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life, which is due out in the fall of 2013. In the memoir, you will pen some tales from what has been described as your rebellious years. Can you explain?  

MJH: That would be my twenties. I was starring in Sabrina and living in L.A. Read the chapter that touches on my wild twenties. I did what every other kid did. I let loose, I wanted to be independent and I thought I was invincible.

More: Will there be a lot of jaw-dropping stories that will leave your fans in shock?
MJH: I think there will be, especially when I talk about a particular magazine cover I shot in 1999.

More: How did you avoid veering off in the wrong direction?
MJH: It was a combination of things. I credit a lot to my parents, especially my mom. I wasn’t raised in a wealthy household. If anything, we were a low-income household, and I was trained to appreciate everything I got. I was taught I had to earn things and see firsthand how things do not come easily. It gave me a real sense of responsibility because so many people relied on me, such as the crew, the staff and my family.

More: That’s a lot of pressure for a kid.
MJH: Yes, I felt a lot of pressure, especially with my family, while I was growing up, because I was helping out with putting food on the table. Now that I am the adult, I know those years educated me in how to be responsible and careful.

More: That sounds positive.
MJH: I am a positive, glass-half-full kind of girl. That message really guides me and keeps me happy.

More: Speaking of happy, you are teaming up with The Hub, which is a really fun network to watch.
MJH: Yeah, and they air Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. At Christmastime they’ll even air a Sabrina marathon. Not only am I helping the network launch the new season of My Little Pony, but I also get to color in the world’s largest coloring book with my boys.    

More: You talked about your onetime hit Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. If you were really a witch and could grant yourself a wish, what would it be?
MJH: How about reversing Hurricane Sandy? I’ll also wish that my boys grow up to be loving, caring, smart and thoughtful people who are dedicated to society.

More: After the Sabrina series ended, did you have to reinvent yourself since you were on the path to becoming an adult?
MJH: Believe it or not, I was 20 when I started filming Sabrina. I was an adult playing a kid again. My reinvention came after Sabrina ended. I was 27 years old and in the process of getting married. After the show wrapped, my day-to-day activity was gone and I needed to find things to do with my time.

More: Which were?
MJH: I did a lot of charity work, spent time with my husband and became a mom. I can say, when I did Dancing with the Stars that was a bit of a reinvention, because I was trying to be more of a glamorous woman. I felt it was time to wear heels, lipstick and pretty clothes. I never learned how to style myself because I always had people doing it for me. In fact, I am still trying to figure out how to put on eyeliner.  

Click here to read Virginia Madsen: Age Is Not the Enemy.

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First Published Mon, 2012-11-12 14:57

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