Jamie Lee Curtis Shares the Secret to Making Her 34-Year Marriage to Christopher Guest Last
By Elizabeth Stanton
Jamie Lee Curtis is a master at longevity.
The Halloween star spoke withGood Housekeeping ahead of her 60th birthday, where she explained the work she puts in to live her life to the fullest, including maintaining her 34-year marriage to actor, director and musician Christopher Guest.
What makes it last? In a word, dedication.
“Don’t leave," Curtis says. "There’s a recovery phrase that says, ‘Stay on the bus…the scenery will change.’ You think you’re having a bad week, but stay on the bus, because one of these days you’ll look out the window and it’ll be beautiful. I think it can apply to almost anything where you feel unhappy in that moment. I’m not a wild romantic. I’m a realist. I respect him. And I just don’t leave.”
Curtis may not be one to leave, but she is one to reinvent herself regularly to go after what she wants, something she's been doing since day one.
"I am a constant editor. I shed people, I shed clothing, I shed possessions, I shed ideas. The biggest thing I’ve shed is my own limitations and perception of who I am," Curtis shares.
"I don’t know if men wake up, look in the mirror and hate themselves. Most women do. So I have a big secret: I don’t look in the mirror. I’m a 60-year-old woman. I am not going to look the same as I used to, and I don’t want to be confronted by that every day!" she admits.
She continues, "When I get out of the shower, I have a choice: I can dry myself off looking in the mirror, or I can dry myself off with my back to the mirror. I turn my back to the mirror, and I feel great! I don’t want women to hate themselves, because I think women are extraordinary.”
Curtis has been a star since her big screen debut in 1978's Halloween, as the iconic Laurie Strode. Since that performance, Curtis has done everything from horror to comedy, to TV series, and has avoided being boxed into any one type of role, something she says comes from within.
"How can I expect my agent to think of me in a different way if I don’t think of me in a different way? Is [my agent] going to wake up and say, ‘That Jamie Lee is smart – she should write a screenplay’? Not going to happen! It has to come from me," she says. "And even if I stumble in my pursuit, that’s OK. We are all looking for a fast track to enlightenment, but it’s sweat equity, sweat equity, sweat equity. I got sober 20 years ago. That was a massive reemergence.”
The 59-year-old actress (she turns 60 in November) has opened up about her sobriety in the past, revealing her own struggles with painkillers in the wake of Prince's death in 2016. But Curtis says she is happily in recovery and has a carpe diem attitude that defines her approach to aging.
“On the very clear passage of 50s to 60s, I have no time to waste. None. If you have creative ideas and you don’t bring them out into the world in some way before you go, that is a tragedy," she says.
But the ever-confident Curtis admitted she has had some stumbles and heartbreaks over roles. And yet, she found a way to power through.
“I got fired, along with 12 other actors," Curtis recalls of the abandoned TV adaptation of Operation Petticoat. "I was devastated; I thought it was the end of my life. But had I not been fired, I would not have been able to go up for the movie Halloween – which basically gave me the life I have today.”