Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
/ Source: TODAY
By Donna Freydkin

Anyone who’s met Julianna Margulies knows that she’s forthright, funny and no-frills. And she’s got a great grasp on staying sane in an industry that preys on insecurities.

“I don’t read anything about myself and that helps a lot. I think if I read ‘She’s looking older,' I’d get paralyzed,” she told TODAY Parents. “I don’t have a very thick skin. I have a rich inner life and home life and family life and social life. The people in my life who love me know exactly who I am. That’s my barometer. I don’t search for any recognition outside that circle. It took me a long time to get there. It helps that I’m married to someone who’s not in the industry. I’m 51. I know what I think of me and that has to be good enough.”

It’s why she stays away from social media. And why she focuses on leading her son Kieran, 10, with her husband Keith Lieberthal, by example. She always says ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ and has noticed that her son has started doing the same.

Julianna Margulies

“You have to teach them what’s right and wrong. My husband and I are on the same page in how we’re raising him. You have to guide them to the light rather than the dark,” said Margulies. “When I met my husband, he’d open the car door for me and I’d get out the other side. He was raised correctly. I wasn’t used to being around guys who did that. I realized that it’s time to raise conscious boys.”

That means Margulies doesn’t beat herself up about being a working mom, and discusses actual issues with her child. “We talk about equal pay. It’s good for him to see mommy work. Let’s be conscious and mindful,” she said.

Now, the three-time Emmy winner — who remains acclaimed for her work as a nurse on “ER” and a lawyer on “The Good Wife” — is back on TV in AMC’s “Dietland,” playing a narcissistic magazine exec with a wardrobe worthy of her title. It’s Margulies’ first major foray back into television since “Wife” wrapped up in 2016. She had always planning on returning, but was waiting on something that was worth time away from her family.

Julianna Margulies, son Kieran and husband Keith Lieberthal make one happy family. David Livingston / Getty Images

“It’s truly a lucky position to be in. I was not ready unless it was something worth talking about,” she said. “Having been away from my family for seven years, I can’t do something where I never see my kid and my husband. I took a year to decompress and get my life back and get back on track in my home. And this came up.”

The selling points: “Creatively I get the best lines and the best clothes and the best schedule. My kid will be out of the house in eight years. I want to be as present as I can. ‘The Good Wife’ took my away from him for 14 hours a day. I didn’t want to relive that. I feel very selfish. But I needed to have a life."

When she’s with her family, Margulies is focused on them, rather than posting a perfectly-filtered family portrait for the world to see and like.

“Social media makes you not present. That moment is gone now. Parenting requires you to be present. If you’re not present, monkey see monkey do,” she said. “You come home and leave the phones in a bowl and sit and have dinner. Yesterday we sat down, and my son asked me, ‘How was your day? What did you do today?’ And I thought to myself, ‘It’s starting to work!’