Angela Kinsey Starts a New Chapter

As she prepares to clean out her desk at “The Office,” the actress talks about her plans and how she and her ex-husband work together to nurture their daughter

by Ilyssa Panitz • More.com Celebrity Reporter
angela kinsey image
Photograph: Jeff Bottari/AP Images for Clorox

More: Has it sunk in that The Office will soon be closing its doors?
Angela Kinsey: It very much has. A few days ago, we had the table reading of our final script. Jenna [Fisher] and I walked into the room holding hands and thinking, Here we go. We were so relieved that we got to sit next to each other, and of course kept a box of tissues next to us because it was so emotional.

More: You got that emotional?
AK: I cried in both hair and makeup. I mean, I couldn’t stop crying. It really hit us that this was it. We all got very nostalgic and started quoting lines from our second episode, called “Diversity Day.”

More: What do you know about the series finale?
AK: It is a lovely good-bye, with the biggest Confidential stamp I have ever seen on any script. I mean, every single page had the Confidential stamp on it. Having read it, I think the fans will be both really happy and really sad. When it comes to the last day of shooting? I don’t know how I am going to prepare for it.

More: What comes to mind when you look back at the show?
AK: I'm just so thankful that I got to be a part of this amazing journey. These people started out as my coworkers and became my family. But on the other hand, my heart is aching. I feel like I am mourning a loss. But I know my cast mates, and we will get it together and soldier on.

More: What do you plan to do when The Office ends?
AK: I just closed a deal to do a Fox pilot. Oddly enough, I will start filmingthat  during the final filming of The Office. Even though I am swamped doing double duty, I am so grateful.

More: Were you worried there might not be something in the wings?
AK: I think, as an actor, you are always worried, even if you have been on a show for nine years. I will say, being a mom has helped me relax on that front.

More: You are a mom, and now a single mom. How are you juggling your jobs?
AK: I am very fortunate, because my work has some flexibility. After our interview, I am done for the day. I get to pick Isabel up, and we get to have some quality time together, which I am thrilled about. All three of my sisters are working moms, and I always turn to them for advice. One of the things my sisters pointed out was how I get these pockets of free time most people don’t. That allows me to have breakfast or maybe lunch with my daughter while I am at work.

More: Sounds as if you have it all figured out.
AK: As a working mom, I do feel guilty, but I try to crush those feelings by making our quality time count. The only thing I fight with all the time is making it home for dinner. Do you know who told me that is the most important time of the day for him? Steve Carell.

More: What activities do you and your daughter do together?
AK: I keep a dollhouse, toys and books with me at work. Every day I have a game plan to make the day go well for her. I like that Isabel sees me working. Even when we do mundane things, I think it teaches her patience and makes her aware of what it takes to keep a home running. I try to incorporate all those things so she sees the big picture. I will say, one of our favorite bonding moments is doing arts-and-crafts projects. It is about us sitting in the kitchen making something out of clay or painting a picture.

More: Funny you make reference to arts and crafts, because you are teaming up with Clorox's “Bleach It Away” campaign and getting people to share their “ewww” moments. I am assuming you have had a few of your own?

AK: I have had paint everywhere! I don’t even understand how it gets on Isabel from head to toe. When that happens, she is not allowed to touch anything. I won’t tell you how I have had purple footprints in my home. But I do have a four-year-old, and things are bound to get messy—like the walls she painted green because green is Mommy’s favorite color. You just have to laugh.

More: Speaking of family, you went through a divorce [Kinsey was married to Warren Lieberstein from 2000 to 2009]. How are you handling your current situation?
AK: We are doing great. Warren is a great parenting partner. We have a terrific open dialogue, and we do a lot of family activities together. Look, my situation may not work for everyone, but for me, maintaining a friendship was so important. At the end of the day, it is all about our kid, and if we can come back to that, then we are standing on common ground. We both agree this child is the light and love of our lives. If you try to see everything through her filter, then you can get along. I will never speak negatively about her father. I want my daughter to grow up loving and respecting her father. It is my duty to treat him with respect and see him through her eyes.

More: Is it all smooth sailing?
AK: Even if we are going through a rough patch, I have to ask, How does my daughter see the situation? It is also important to have boundaries that work, to standup for myself when I have to and talk about what’s working and what’s not working. We have those conversations, so our family functions well. We may not be your traditional family, but we are her family. We also do something together almost every Saturday, like going for lunch or on a trip to the farmers’ market. What’s important to me is that I know she is secure and happy.

More: Are things amicable?
AK: We have an open-door policy between our homes. My ex-husband sees her every day that I have her, and I get to see her every day he has her. We have joint custody, and because of that, we help each other out. Our working arrangement is, I have evenings and he has mornings. That translates into him helping me out in the morning and me helping him out in the evening. We decided early on we were making a commitment to make this work. I am sure things will change as our lives evolve, but for now it’s working.

More: They say divorce is incredibly painful. You had to do something so private in the public eye.
AK: It hasn’t been easy, but I have such strong family support. I have my parents and my sisters behind me. Look, no one enters into anything thinking they are going to fail. I never wanted to fail at my marriage, and it is so incredibly painful and hard when you do.

More: What strikes me is that you seem at peace with your situation.
AK: My situation has given me such compassion for people that I never had before. I think I used to judge people who got divorced, because my line of thinking was, That will never happen to me; we’ll never grow apart. When I see people now, I approach them from a loving place and just think, Maybe they are doing the best they can. I have grown a lot from this whole experience, by learning how personal, raw and vulnerable it can be.
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First Published Thu, 2013-03-14 00:39

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