Tea Leoni: The Truth About Tea

Q: You were leaning towards anthropology and psychology--how strong were your interests there?

A: I got an A on a paper and it was so easy I thought, Okay, if I'm good at this then I guess that's what I'm going to do. It was my dad who interrupted me and said, "Before you make that decision, I want you to go to a cocktail party with a bunch of anthropologists, and then you tell me if that's still what you want to do."

Q: He was a lawyer, right?

A: Yeah. I'm from a lawyer family that's half-Polish, half-Italian, so I know all the jokes.

Q: So you traveled for a while and came to LA. in 1988 for a remake of "Charlie's Angels." That project never happened but you got paid not to work. Pretty good gig?

A: An excellent gig. Still, today, my best gig ever [laughs]. I think in the end I made around $80,000.

Q: When did you get your TV show "The Naked Truth"?

A: We started in with that in '96, I think. I ate, drank and slept "The Naked Truth."

Q: In your first film role, you appeared with some heavy-duty women in A League of Their Own. What did you get out of it?

A: It's where I thought for the first time, I can do this.

Q: Then came Wyatt Earp. How attractive was Kevin Costner?

A: He's a movie star. I enjoyed getting a chance to be with Larry Kasdan, though.

Q: Bad Boys with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence wasn't exactly a great step forward in your career.

A: Bad Boys was a really hard experience. It was in Miami--not my type of weather or scenery--and physically I was like a rag doll being slammed around.

Q: Is it something you're embarrassed to have done?

A: No, because Will and Martin did a great job. They elevated my chickdom in that movie. I still can't believe how short my skirts were, but as I get older I'm appreciative that those legs got documented.

Q: How was it to be thrown through plate-glass windows?

A: I ended up in the hospital at one point. But the plate-glass window wasn't so bad--it was the AK-47 under the jaw that got me. I wasn't on the proper mark when the stunt guy hit me with it. My legs went over my head and I landed flat on my back. Didn't have much memory at that point. The director, Michael Bay, freaked out, saying, "Holy shit, holy shit! What if she can't finish the movie?" And I started to cry because I'd never thought that the chill of Hollywood would be so close in my face.

Q: How important for you was the next film, Flirting With Disaster?

A: After Bad Boys I was ready to call it quits. Very ready. I'd gone to Cape Cod on the off-season, when it was like a ghost town, and I was there with my dog drinking beer at night. Not a good sign. Flirting With Disaster restored and renewed my hope and interest in this field.

Q: Were you surprised at the success of Deep Impact?.

A: No, a huge comet has serious star power. I suspected that would work.

Q: Before David, you had a few serious relationships that didn't work out. How hard is it to find the right partner?

A: The hardest part about it is that nine times out of 10 I was looking for the wrong thing, barking at the wrong tree, chasing the wrong tomcat.

Q: How old were you when you first got married?

A: 24.

Q: How long did that last?

A: Not quite two years.

Q: When did you know it wasn't meant to be?

A: I wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings by revisiting that.

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