Andie Macdowell: ‘From 40 to 60, we could have such better lives’

Andie MacDowell has a new movie out, Love After Love, with Chris O’Dowd playing her son. I didn’t even realize that when I covered an earlier interview with her and am sorry. The film has a whopping 94% on Rotten Tomatoes although it’s only playing in limited release. Whenever I see her interviews I’m just so impressed with her. Andie has a Me Too story that she’s not ready to tell. It’s something that happened to her when she was young and she’s considering making it into a series but is still deciding how to tell it. She talked about that, and about her career, to The Huffington Post. I love how outspoken and matter-of-fact she is, along with the fact that I share her views on so many things. She actually gave a quote that’s similar to something I wrote in my last story about her, that we need to see more women from 40 to 60 and older living their best lives and being the subjects of films and popular media. Of course I would say that, I’m 45, but I didn’t realize until I got to this age that there’s something incredible about this stage of life and that it’s not represented much. Here’s some of Andie’s interview, with more at the source.

On Me Too
Before the whole Me Too thing came out, I think there was something in the air. As soon as women put [President Donald] Trump in that box, a lot of stuff started coming up. Before Rose McGowan and all that happened, I confessed to a friend of mine something that happened to me — stuff that started bubbling up for me. And then that happened, and I was like, “I can’t believe this is happening.” There’s a whole feeling within women right now. It’s all coming up and coming out. We’re tired. We just can’t do it anymore. That’s the whole Time’s Up thing. We cannot pretend, we cannot wear this mask any longer. The mask no longer fits, and I cannot pretend to be submissive. Think about that word. Isn’t that an interesting word? Subservient. Submissive.

She would bring men with her to business meetings to be taken seriously
To serve you. That has been our role. That’s the same thing I’m talking about that I was struggling with. I had made all the money, yet I would go into meetings with men and I would feel more comfortable if I could take a husband or a man, because I felt like they never really gave me credit.

Even just with business people, to go in and talk about my money I had made. And just at every level of my life, they’ve looked at me like an incapable woman. It’s insane. And how many people still say a woman is incapable of being president? You feel it — it sinks in…

People want her to be in a relationship but she wants more
I tell you, people say this to me all the time. They want me to be in a relationship. My daughters [actresses Margaret Qualley and Rainey Qualley] want me to be in a relationship. I will say to them, “I can’t do it again.” It’s going to take a really special man because I can’t play that role anymore. I just can’t do it. I can’t go back into a role with a man if he expects me to do that.

She has a MeToo story, but she wants to process it before she goes public
What happened to me, I want to do some research about. I was young, and it’s a really big deal. I don’t want to go public with it. It was before I was in the business. I’ve thought about writing about it. I went to a friend of mine who’s a writer and said, “I would really love to do a Southern piece, and I would like to put this element in this woman’s history.” I would like to develop it…

I would love to do an ensemble piece sort of like the characters in “Love After Love” — that complex, but for a TV series. I went in to pitch this idea to her, and I told her what had happened to me and said I would love this to be a mature woman my age and for this to be part of her history. I had never told anybody this except for my daughters. And then the #MeToo happened and Rose came out…

It had bubbled up to the point where I finally told someone. It was after the Trump thing, and I think psychologically it had something to do with it because I felt like, with what happened to me, these guys felt it was OK. The behavior that we’re talking about, men have been told that it’s OK. And they’ve supported each other. It is OK because they’re supported each other in treating women like that.

On deciding to put her family before her career
I think it was important to me to have a normal life. I don’t know that you can have a normal life. It was a sweet idea, and I tried super hard. I lived in North Carolina and Montana, and I did not focus very hard on my career. I focused really hard on my children, and I had this concept that I wanted to give them something normal.

HP: “You could have had Julia Roberts’ career if you’d wanted it”
I could have done a lot more. I could have started a production company and made more happen. But also, at the same time, there was one year right away when my success really took off and I did three movies. And I felt like I just didn’t see my children, and I didn’t like that.

I had read an article written by a man who was about my age, 60, and he had written about regrets. He said, “You’ll never regret not working. You will regret not spending time with your family.” I listened! I made sure that was my priority. But now they’re gone, so I do have the time, if I can just focus and connect.

I’ve never lived in Los Angeles, so I’m starting to make connections. I’m trying to reach out to younger people and keep my mind open. Maybe I can make it happen…

I want women to be seen as as sexy as men, and I don’t want women to feel bad about themselves. That’s what has happened to us. We’ve been taught that we age out. Men become sexier, and we become trash. It’s not a good way to live. From 40 to 60, we could have such better lives. And mine’s gone! I’m turning 60, so I’m fighting for all those other people. I want my daughters to feel good about themselves

[From The Huffington Post]

Her quote about having to bring a man with her to meetings reminded me so much of my own corporate career, and how it was to work in the tech industry in the late 90s and early 2000s. I was often the only woman in meetings, and I felt like I really had to prove myself to be taken seriously despite my qualifications and experience. That’s what Andie is saying, she’s the one bringing so much to the table and yet she still felt more comfortable with a man there. So many women have given up promising careers because they saw and experienced that bullsh-t and decided not to bother. It sounds like Andie made that choice partially for her family, and partially for those reasons, for all the barriers she experienced. Her children are grown now and she’s ready to go back and tell her stories. I want to see that happen for her. She’s wrong though, her time isn’t gone. She’s starting up again and we’re here for it.

Had so much fun with @abcthechew 🥗🥘🍛🍲✨

A post shared by Andie Macdowell (@andiemacdowell) on

Her dog is so cute!


photos credit: WENN and Instagram/Andie MacDowell

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25 Responses to “Andie Macdowell: ‘From 40 to 60, we could have such better lives’”

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  1. H says:

    She cannot be 60. Life goals.

  2. Christin says:

    I have heard numerous times that people at the end of life mention relationships and work. I’ve observed it personally, too.

    Good that she can find a balance that works for her. And I increasingly admire her long-ago decision to make North Carolina her home base.

    • Sherry says:

      The 60 year old man’s reference about working and family made me think about David Cassidy’s last words, “So much wasted time.” I have always loved Andie and hope to see more of her.

  3. JJ McClay says:

    I love this. Thanks for this article. I love how she articulated that.

    Last night, when I was reading all the Tony Robbin’s stuff, something just snapped inside me and I was so angry and couldn’t stop crying. My head felt like it was going to stroke out, I was so angry.

    My husband, who is kind and open minded and an ally, still doesn’t *quite* understand. All I could say was, “I’m so tired of this.”
    And he said, “But this story isn’t about you.”
    And I was like, “Yep, it is. They all are. This is what it’s like. And we’re tired.”

    • Notsoanonymous says:

      Wow, this is exactly how I have explained it to my husband as well. He’s not dense, not even a bit, but he cannot quite wrap his mind around it. Can’t say I blame him as he never lived it.

      With us raising two little girls together, all I can hope for is their future will have this history to draw from.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Same. I also see how our daughter has been affected already by sexism; husband doesn’t “see” it — assumes she will be treated fairly, as he was. Nope.

      • Eleonor says:

        Same here.
        Recently I have been cat called (I am 36 going 37 ffs) by a man who could have been my father.
        I was furious because everything happened so fast I wasn’t able to respond. And I was furious. Literally out of mind. Boyfriend said: “it was just a phrase”. I tried to explain him it has been since I was 12 I have been going through this, and that I am tired. Tired of being patronized at work, tired of all of this.
        Tired of everything.

  4. Flipper says:

    Beautiful woman, inside and out.

  5. Sojaschnitzel says:

    “… in the tech industry in the late 90s and early 2000s. I was often the only woman in meetings, and I felt like I really had to prove myself to be taken seriously despite my qualifications and experience.”
    This. I’m in tech aswell and my experience is the same, and it’s not a good feeling and I’m about to give up.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      That’s just so hard to hear. I hope you can shove those feelings aside, don’t let them defeat you, and continue to do good work. It’s a big industry, hoping you can find a better environment. It’s probably harder to search for places with more women in management, or women-owned.

  6. Sara says:

    This is a really nice interview, but I always thought she was a terrible actress. I skip all the scenes in 4 weddings and a Funeral where she appears.

    • BitingPanda says:

      “Oh, is it raining? I hadn’t noticed.”

      She is an AWFUL actress. But a seemingly lovely woman.

      • jeanne says:

        she was fantastic in Green Card and Groundhog Day. I actually liked her in Four Weddings but, yes, the rain scene, was a bit flat.

  7. Who ARE These People? says:

    Always liked her.

    On bringing men to be taken seriously. Once in a while, still put my husband on the phone so someone hears a deep voice. Hate that it works. A few times, made him show up to things wearing his best ‘shoulders,’ though we both work from home and are equal in our careers. And I would do the talking, but he’d be there in background looking like someone who could hire a lawyer. So aggravating to have to do this, still.

    • Alex says:

      I worked in the telecom industry doing tech work and consulting, however, it was so draining trying to proof that I had innovative ideas and solutions, instead of my male counterparts. it was disheartening and was weak because I left the industry. instead of persevering and conquering, also I was married to an asshole who had no time just to listen to me. Man have been my biggest obstacle in life

  8. psl says:

    Great interview. I have always liked her.

  9. Anastasia says:

    I totally agree with her on women and aging. I’m 47 and just beginning to realize what a wonderful and dynamic time in my life this could be!

  10. Tig says:

    What a great interview. I may have to check out this movie!
    I give her a lot of credit for sticking with film after her voice was dubbed over in that Tarzan origin movie. Thought she was brilliant in Sex,Lies and Videotape.

  11. Chaine says:

    I really love her decision to do what felt best for her family. That’s what it all comes down to, ultimately. And I don’t even know who her children are, so they can be relatively anonymous instead of having been trotted out to every premiere and made tabloid fodder like the children of actors A, B, C, X, Y, Z, etc.

    On being the only women in a meeting… I can so relate. The worst of it was that they always expected the woman to be the one to take notes/minutes as if the woman’s role is secretary, not contributor. Didn’t matter my level of experience or expertise.

  12. Laura Dawe says:

    I will be 39 in a couple of weeks and I have begun to think about how I want my next decade of life to be. My 20s and 30s were spent grieving for my first love (he died in a car accident when we were 21) and in an unhappy marriage (from 25 to 35). Lots of instability and sadness 😔

    I went back to school after my divorce to get a degree in General Studies (Arts and Science focus) because I wasn’t sure what I wanted for a career (I have only ever worked low paying dead end jobs). I will be finished the degree by the end of this year. I’m still trying to figure out my next step after graduation. I might pursue more schooling or I might see what kind of job my degree will get me. I want a job that will allow me to live comfortably but I don’t want to live for my job.

    I am a single and agree with Andie that it would take a very special man for me to enter into another relationship – not because I am afraid or bitter but because I am thoroughly enjoying my independence and freedom. I do not have children and have never had a desire for motherhood. I do have two Chihuahuas though, who live in a nice apartment with me in a large city. I am definitely an urbanite with a deep love for animals 😊

    I don’t have a lot figured out yet in regards of my future but I am excited for my 40s because my adult life has been a massive dumpster fire for most of the last 20+ years and I am looking forward to FINALLY being TRULY happy, on my own, living the life meant for me. I’ve made countless mistakes and tried settling for a life that was unhealthy and did not suit my true self. I am wiser and more mature now so I think my 40s will be full of discoveries, adventure and most importantly, peace ❤

    • I, Pet Goat, 2 says:

      In wish you all the best, Laura. Please make sure to enjoy every second of being the true you, even when it gets hard. “The call toward authenticity is sacred, it is holy, it is for the greater good. ” (Paula stone Williams)

  13. Izzy says:

    We women do get this treatment from every angle, don’t we? My stories are far less horrific than some that I’ve read, even on this site, but I recently had to buy a new car, and I honestly would rather light my hair on fire than go through that again. My stepmom was the first woman in our state to ever sell cars (decades ago), and she taught me everything I know about buying cars. I have negotiated the price of every car I’ve ever bought. And the process is still painful. This time, it was rather sudden that I needed to look for a new car, and after spending time at a dealer test-driving the car I was interested in, when I had been honest from the start that it was my first day looking and I would be making a decision within a week but not that day, they car salesman says to me “I thought you came here to do business.” DO NOT COME FOR ME THAT WAY, I was completely up front about my timing. The very next day I went to a different dealer and bought the exact same car I tested. For $3,000 less, too.

  14. Kim says:

    “I want women to be seen as as sexy as men, and I don’t want women to feel bad about themselves. That’s what has happened to us. We’ve been taught that we age out. Men become sexier, and we become trash. It’s not a good way to live.” SO MUCH THIS. I’m only 36 and I can already feel it. I still look like I’m in my late 20s so men feel comfortable making statements that support this bullshit around me, thinking I won’t take offense. Meanwhile, they’re starting to look like boot leather at the age of 33, sitting there criticizing women their own age and I’m like, wait a minute. What…?

  15. momoffour says:

    She has a great perspective but I do want to add- you can have a great career, be ambitious and throw yourself into it and be a good mom too. This idea which I sort of read in what she said- it’s either/or- I feel like is a bit sexist but maybe I misread it too.

    • hunter says:

      Well she’s an actress and they don’t exactly work 40-hour weeks, they often work on location and crazy hours depending on whether they need to shoot day scenes/night scenes, etc. It’s an enormous commitment so I suspect she was making her comments based on the requirements of her profession, not all professions.