We chatted with Haylie Duff to find out why playing a cop’s pregnant wife in Badge of Honor didn’t truly prepare her for expecting in real life, how being a mom has changed her career, and why getting her post-baby body back isn’t her top priority.
Haylie Duff and Jesse Bradford in Badge of Honor.
Haylie Duff delves into the world of crime dramas with Badge of Honor, out on DVD now. In the movie, Duff plays Brittany Gallo, the pregnant wife of Mike Gallo (Jesse Bradford), a detective who accidentally shoots an innocent teenager and then tries to cover it up. The film is a departure for Duff, who is best known for her work in comedy films like Napoleon Dynamite and Material Girls, her successful blog/TV show, The Real Girl’s Kitchen, and her most recent role—a parent to baby girl Ryan with fiancé Matt Rosenberg.
We caught up with the multi-hyphenate to talk about the movie, her positive outlook on getting in shape post-baby, and what’s next.
Tell us about your role as Brittany Gallo in Badge of Honor. HAYLIE DUFF: She is such an interesting character to me because we see a lot of these stories in the news right now, which is sad. It’s sad that we see a lot of this happening. You see stories of people directly involved with cases like this but you never really hear the stories of the people at home. So to play the wife to someone playing a character like this and the person that’s the support system was interesting and exciting to me.
Your role is a little bit of a departure from what you usually do. What attracted you to it? HD: I think we all want to do things that are unexpected of us and so many times you get cast as the same thing over and over again, so as soon as someone gave me the chance to play something other than what people [usually] see me in I was excited about that.
How did you prepare? HD: I had never been pregnant before in real life—I have now—but I have actually been pregnant quite a bit on TV and in movies, which is a bizarre fact about me. So that side of it I didn’t really feel like I needed to do that much preparation for—going through an entire season of 7th Heaven being a mother, that side of me was very connected to what that journey was going to be like. I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what it would be like to say goodbye to your husband every night. And what it’s like to wonder when they come home, and if they come home, what they saw that day, and sort of thinking about how you receive them every night when they come in the door. Do you ask, ‘Hey, how’d it go,’ or do you let them leave it behind and act happy?
Did playing an expectant mom on screen help you at all throughout your first pregnancy? HD: I thought it was going to, I thought, ‘I’ve done this, I’ve worn pregnancy bellies.’ I mean for the first season of 7th Heaven I wore a prosthetic belly for almost that amount of time in real life and I felt like, ‘Oh, I got this. I know what it’s going be like.’ But the only thing it prepared me for was the size that you get. Other than that nothing can truly prepare you for it until it’s happening.
Haylie Duff and her fiancé Matt Rosenberg with their daughter, Ryan.
You recently made headlines for focusing on your daughter’s health rather than getting your body back after pregnancy. Talk to us a little bit about that. HD: I feel like with my show, Real Girls’ Kitchen, I am very much a real girl—I learn how to cook along with people, I make mistakes in the kitchen, I’m very open about my successes and failures in the kitchen. I sort of approached pregnancy and motherhood in the same way. For me, the tales of breastfeeding and all of your baby weight coming off did not happen. And I feel like if it didn’t happen to me it probably didn’t happen to other moms too. So there’s a part of me that thinks they need to hear that they aren’t the only ones that didn’t lose everything that they gained just by breastfeeding their baby.
But the flip side of it is I also didn’t put a huge amount of pressure on trying to lose all of it right away. She was more my focus—I didn’t care that much about being like, ‘I lost everything in two months.’
And I have an amazing fiancé who thought I looked incredible a month later and I was like, ‘You’re insane, thank you so much, but you are so crazy.’ He would be so supportive when I was going to cry or be like, ‘Oh my god, I look so different.’ I was so hard on myself. Your partner can really be the make or break of how you feel. And that’s something for men to know too, they are such a big part of how we feel. I know we can be all women-power-y and be like, ‘We can empower ourselves to feel this way or that way,’ but if you have a baby, your partner is such a big part of the dynamic.
How has being a mom changed what kind of work you do? HD: I’m much more selective. All I want to do is be home with her. Before I had a baby, I would feel bad when I said no to things. But now, I feel like my time is more valuable because I’m considering her. I tend to not let people run me around as much because I want to be home to be there for her, which is a good thing and a bad thing.
And how has your blog The Real Girl’s Kitchen changed since becoming a mom? HD: I have a baby section and a home section now. I felt like I had some things to share in those arenas and I didn’t have a place for them. So I changed the layout a little bit. But I really tried to update it more. Since I had Ryan, my focus was really re-committing myself to getting up content. It feels good to have an outlet that’s just mine because so much about my life is about her that it’s nice to have that thing for myself.
What’s next for you? HD: I’m starting my first movie since having the baby and I’m a little stressed about it. To be honest, I’m not sure how I’m going to pull the schedule off quite yet. But I’m really looking forward to it, I haven’t done a movie since I was like two months pregnant. Then I start filming the next season of my cooking show at the end of March.