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Tea Leoni: A Mom In Reel & Real Life

Phil Spector, music producer, arrives at Los Angeles Superior Court for the start of jury selection in his murder trial, California, photo
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Actress Tea Leoni has added a new role to her resume — that of motherhood. Earlier this year, she and husband David Duchovny (FBI agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files) became first-time parents. As she told CBS News Entertainment Correspondent Laurie Hibberd, it's a role that may have helped her prepare to be an on-screen mom in her latest film, The Family Man.

Leoni plays a woman abandoned by Nicolas Cage after college. He decided his Manhattan career was more important than life with Tea. But in a strange twist of fate, Cage's character finds out what life would have been like if he had stayed with the woman he loved. Thanks to a magic Christmas wish, he finds himself living the life he left behind.

Leoni says that this film caught her eye because "coming back...on the heels of the joy of motherhood, I certainly wasn't in the mood for anything dark, and cynical, or violent."

Leoni (her real named was Elizabeth Tea Pantaleoni) was born in New York City in 1966.

She starred in the adventure blockbuster Deep Impact and also the darker comedy Flirting With Disaster, co-starring Ben Stiller. She gave birth to a daughter, Madelaine West Duchovny in April of 1999.

Leoni jokes that we'll see a lot more of her on screen than we're used – and she means that "figuratively...very much about my figure. There's more of it. It's bigger. I like it, though. I have to say that I like my body more after pregnancy than before. And I don't know if that's because I'm sort of a walking accolade for what I've just done. Although actually, I would say that's exactly what it is."

Has being a mother make her a better actress in any way?

"It's totally changed my life, so it would have to have changed my work," said Leoni. "I don't see how it would have harmed it...Maybe it's made me better at my job because I have so much less fear, because I feel untouchable. I feel invincible now. Motherhood is very powerful thing, you'll find. You know, and it does give you the confidence that there's nothing out there that can discourage you or slow you down, because you have this wonderful bright little cushion at home."

Coming up next for Tea Leoni is another potential blockbuster. She's starring in Jurassic Park III.

Deep Impact (1998)
There's No Fish Food In Heaven (1998)
Flirting with Disaster (1996)
Bad Boys (1995)
The Counterfeit Contessa (1994)
Wyatt Earp (1994)
A League of Their Own (1992)
Switch (1991)