In her early 30s, Julianne Moore felt lost. Her professional life was soaring, her personal life shrinking. “I was lonely,” she admits. “I don’t think I felt happy. I didn’t have the kind of personal life I wanted. I’d spent my 20s working hard and trying to get to wherever there was, which wasn’t really anywhere. It was just a job, and I really wanted a family.”
Unsure what to do, Moore turned to a therapist, who got straight to the point: She must give her private life its due. “I discovered that was as important as my professional life,” says the actress. “I didn’t spend the time; I didn’t invest. One thing I used to tell my women friends was, ‘There’s an expectation that your personal life is going to happen to you, but you’re going to have to make your career happen. And that’s not true: You have to make your personal life happen as much as your career.’ ”
Since then, Moore, almost miraculously, has managed both. Choosing to live in New York, she has built an enviable private life, with a 19-year (and counting) relationship and two kids. On the career front, she has defied one of the truisms of Hollywood — that an actress is finished at 40 — and has done much of her best work since then: 2002’s Far From Heaven and The Hours and 2006’s Children of Men. Like Meryl Streep, she seamlessly mixes commercial work such as The Hunger Games with independent films. Moore also has established herself as a beauty and fashion icon, signing seven-figure deals with such brands as L’Oreal and Bulgari.
And so, at age 54, she finds herself very comfortable in the spotlight. She already has racked up Golden Globe and SAG Awards for her performance in Still Alice as a college professor suffering from early-onset dementia, and many Academy Awards prognosticators pick her as the favorite for best actress, which would be her first win in five career nominations.
None of this is by luck alone.