‘Parenthood’s Mae Whitman: ‘I Really Enjoy Being Alone’


Mae Whitman isn’t afraid of commitment, she’s just a loner.

“I have been in a lot of monogamous relationships,” she tells me. “I really enjoy being alone.  I have never felt traditionally about that.  The one thing I know is that I just don’t know.  I just like where I am at now.”

Whitman says she’s not all that different from Amber Holt, the suddenly blossoming daughter of Lauren Graham on NBC’s PARENTHOOD.

“Even at 25, I am like, ‘What are my ties to my family?’” she admitted at an network press conference in Los Angeles last month.  “So I think it you will see a lot of that struggle on the show this year — her trying to figure out the things that I am trying to figure it out.”

Mae — who is currently single — opened up even more in our exclusive interview.

Is dating possible in Hollywood when you are working on a TV show?
I think it is.  It is a timing thing. You go through these phases where you try to control it and you say “I am not going to be in a relationship because I am doing this and that.”  Then somebody comes along and that stuff gets stripped away and it is easy.  So I think it is more about I don’t enter it saying I am going to do this and I am not going to do this.  It is more about just letting things flow naturally.

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I remember seeing some paparazzi pictures of you and [co-star Matt Lauria] filming a pretty sexy scene on the beach in Malibu last year.  How did you explain that to your boyfriend at the time?
Exactly!  That was not the best. [laughs]  But thing is that Matt is almost like my brother at this point — which makes it a bit weird, I know — but he is married to this wonderful woman who I love… We are all so supportive in a familial kind of way there is never any element of [inappropriateness].  It feels very natural for us.  Plus, we are both huge fans of Ryan and Amber and we are both pulling for them to succeed!

Was it strange for you as you got older to all of a sudden be given these opportunities to show off a sexier side?  Oh, yeah!  It is beyond weird.  That beach scene, I was like “I’m in my underwear!”  But I guess it is [Amber’s] boyfriend, so she would probably show her underwear to her boyfriend.   But it definitely was strange.

Do you see yourself as sexy?
I am still weirded out by it — especially since I still haven’t done that many roles that are very sexualized.  But it is definitely a learning process.  Especially with a show like PARENTHOOD, it is all about what is natural.  So I never really come to set feeling like “What am I doing?  Why would she do this?” It is very comfortable and very natural.  And that is something I have always liked about Amber.  She is not trying to be in this cookie-cutter world of how to look or dress.  She doesn’t really care about that.  So I hope I am representing some niche of girls out there that feels awkward and quirky and strange — cause that is what I am all the time.

Do you look back at the previous seasons and think “Look at me there?”
Only with love.  I look back and definitely with Miles — who plays my brother and is my best friend in the world and my roommate in real life.  He lives in my guest house and is just my best friend in the world.  And it is so funny to look back and him and be like “You were this tiny little kid and now you are this beautiful James Dean-like dude.”  He is very cut..

So you noticed that?
How could you not!

Is there something going on with you two that we should know about?
Ewww, no.  That’s gross!  [laughs]  But he is amazing.

He is going to college (on the show) this season.
Yes.  He got accepted to Berkeley.  So we will see that going on.

What storyline could he possibly get this season that would be bigger than the abortion?
I know.  That was intense.  But it is the same thing.  Like life, it is not boring for any of us.  Each year of our life has brought something that is difficult for us to deal with in a new way.  And that is what keeps it interesting.

The fifth season of PARENTHOOD premieres tonight at 10:00 PM on NBC

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at TheTVPage.com
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly