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7 Life Lessons From Diane Lane

The actress riffs on how she skips the drama and works to regret nothing

spinner image Diane Lane in long yellow coat against nude background
Robert Ascroft

Acclaimed for her authenticity and emotional depth in such films as Unfaithful and Under the Tuscan Sun, actress Diane Lane, 59, stars in the Netflix series A Man in Full, based on the Tom Wolfe novel, and in the FX series Feud: Capote vs. The Swans. Both are now streaming.

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1. Her Parents Called It Quits Soon After She Was Born

They basically rendezvoused to procreate me, and I never knew them as a couple. Their various custody things felt to me like being a football in someone else’s game. You just think, Why the drama, people?

2. Her Mom was Playboy’s Miss October 1957

My mother was one of nine kids, and Grandma was a Pentecostal preacher. Mom went to New York and was basically funding the church with her sin money. One photograph that sums it up: Hugh Hefner’s standing with me and my mother, and her face says how uncomfortable she’s feeling. I have so much compassion for her experience now.

3. She Wanted to Play Pretty Woman

I auditioned for it along with every actress in my age bracket with two legs. But you shake off the dust and keep moving. There’s a saying that “rejection is God’s protection.” So true in Hollywood. Where else do you have to audition so much? I mean, you don’t get to audition your dentist or the person washing your car. When you’re in show business, so many people get to control your outcome.

4. She Has No Regrets

It’s on my keychain, actually. It says REGRET NOTHING. I try to boost myself with that thought every day, because I can’t imagine a sadder waste of my life than sitting around wishing for a different past.

spinner image Diane Lane as Martha Croker sitting in a still from A Man in Full
Diane Lane stars as Martha Croker in "A Man in Full," now streaming on Netflix.
Mark Hill/Netflix

5. She Takes Fame at Her Own Pace

I was on the cover of Time magazine at 14, and I had already been in a film with Laurence Olivier and was having pizza with Andy Warhol. I’m grateful for all that, but it’s weird to be singled out. Once you have the world’s attention, what do you do with it? I wanted to hide at times, which is understandable. So you step away for a bit. When you return, they call it a comeback. It’s not a comeback. It’s called taking care of your sanity.

6. In Another Life, She’d Be a Shrink

I’d be a therapist if I wasn’t an actor. I really enjoy analyzing the way the mind works. Your conscience exists for a reason. People build up defenses so they don’t have to feel things too intensely. But if you peel back the layers, you see, “Oh, it’s because I didn’t apologize to my dad before he died” or whatever. What’s that saying? “If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.”

7. After Twice Marrying and Divorcing, Being Single Is Okay

I’m good on my own. I was grateful to go through the pandemic and not be in a relationship, because I think that would have been very challenging to navigate. All that time that many couples were irritated with each other, I got to have space and freedom to figure out: Who am I?


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