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In Marie Claire‘s first-ever Sustainability Issue (on newsstands July 18), the actress opens up about what makes their 10-year relationship work. “We have similar values; we believe in loyalty, honesty. We like to have fun. We like a lot of the same things. Also, in the business, we’re all very career-oriented, and you have to be a little selfish,” says Jessica, who married the Grammy winner in 2012. “I understand that about my peers—about being focused and driven—and if you can find that and someone who shares the same values as you, it’s like: Score!”
Biel’s next TV project is The Sinner, premiering Aug. 2 at 10 p.m. on USA. She first became a household name in the ’90s as Mary Camden on 7th Heaven. Unlike a few of her peers, she never became a “troubled child star” cliché. “My Hollywood experience as a young person was never one of those True Hollywood Stories where I was left alone to my own devices with no parental supervision,” the 35-year-old actress explains. “There was always somebody with me.”
Today, the actress is just as hands-on with her 2-year-old son as her own parents were with her. Motherhood has taught Biel many things—not only about her child, but about herself. “You think you’re a selfless person, and then you realize you’re not. These little people come around, and they require so much, and your schedule is really not your own, nor is it important anymore, and it’s very clear that it’s your life now revolving around this dude,” she tells Marie Claire. “I’m not that person who feels like, ‘Oh, my whole life changes for my kid,’ but it does.”
It also helped Biel prepare for her role in The Sinner, based on the best-selling German novel by Petra Hammesfahr. The actress plays Cora, a middle-class mother who fatally stabs a stranger in the midst of a family outing at the beach. “It’s dark,” Biel says. “And it gets weird really fast.”
“I have challenges standing up for myself sometimes, times when I don’t trust my own voice,” the actress adds. “And that’s the stuff I needed to bring out and explore to understand Cora.”
Tapping into her darker side has been fun for the lighthearted actress. “It’s like a drug, like an adrenaline rush,” she says. “There’s a real catharsis…You’re exhausted, you are free; you feel a lot of different things. For me, it’s like a rebirth. Like I’m a phoenix rising up out of the ashes.”
Biel’s full interview appears in the Sustainability Issue of Marie Claire, on newsstands July 18.