CBS Star Patricia Heaton Reveals the Difference Between Being a TV Mom and Real-Life Mom

Patricia Heaton, who is set to star in the upcoming CBS sitcom Carol’s Second Act, knows a lot about being a mom. Playing a mother of three on two long-running series – CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond and ABC’s The Middle – and mom of four sons in real life, Heaton can easily differentiate between playing a parent in front of the camera and being a mom in reality.

Patricia Heaton | Jim Spellman/WireImage

Married with children

Heaton has been married to husband David Hunt since 1990. The couple has four sons – David, John, Joseph, and Daniel. In a 2014 interview with Parade, Heaton talked about her role as Frankie Heck on The Middle, and how that character represented many mothers. “I think all moms have the same kind of feelings regardless of where we live or the circumstances,” Heaton said. “We worry most about our kids or doing the right thing as moms, giving them what they need, and hoping we don’t make too many mistakes. In that sense, Frankie is ‘every woman.’”

The actress also talked about the importance of honoring your marriage commitment, through good times and bad. “Marriage is a really wonderful thing, but as hard as I had to work to get where I am professionally, I’ve had to do the exact same thing in marriage,” Heaton shared. “It’s tough to be with one person for the rest of your life, when you both grow at different rates and in different directions. You have to figure out how to grow differently ‘together.’”

Heaton addressed the ebb and flow of romance in marriage, and how couples need to push through rough patches. “There’s a misconception that romance you had when first married is supposed to be there all the time, or that’s a sign the marriage is over or that you no longer love each other,” she said. “When things get tough, you have to be able to withstand the pressure. I’m a big proponent of marriage counseling.”

TV mom vs. Real-life mom

The sitcom star previously described that there are some definite perks to being a mom on a television show. “When you’re playing a mom on TV, people think you’re funny and smart. They bring you water and they bring you food and if you don’t like the food, they take it back and they change it for you,” she said, according to “And they do your hair and makeup and they give you choices of wardrobe and if you need a car, they’ll come and pick you up.”

Heaton pointed out that life as a mom on the real-life home front is quite different. “When you’re a mom in real life it’s the exact opposite of that. You bring everybody else food. If they don’t like it you make you something else. You drive everybody else around,” she shared. “And, yeah, nobody thinks you’re smart or funny at home, even if you’ve won Emmys for your incredible humor, they don’t think so. Maybe they would if they actually watched the show that pays for all their stuff. But they don’t. So they don’t realize how talented and funny you are. But that’s the difference and it’s a good balance, so it keeps everything in perspective.”

A different spin on the mom role

Heaton’s new show, Carol’s Second Act, gave her the opportunity to portray a woman who is at the same stage of life as herself. She plays Carol Kenney, a 50-year-old divorced mom who finally pursues her dream of becoming a doctor, working as an intern surrounded by colleagues half her age.

Despite not wanting to play another ‘mom’ role after The Middle ended, it seemed like perfect timing when Heaton was presented with the role of Carol. “What we’re talking about is: what’s that thing you’re going to do when you’ve done the things you were supposed to do? You got married. You had a career. You had kids. But what’s the next thing? Which I guess is where my connection point to Carol is,” Heaton told Emmy Magazine.

Also serving as executive producer on the new sitcom, Heaton decided to take on the series after having some time to reflect when The Middle wrapped. “This idea was so perfect. It was a while after The Middle had finished, maybe a year, so I had time to field those feelings that Carol was feeling,” she said, according to Entertainment Tonight. “And, it’s been interesting to go on this journey with everyone and with Carol and explore that.”

Carol’s Second Act premieres on September 26 on CBS!