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Woodard dives into work to cope with empty nest

Tuesday - 9/18/2012, 9:04pm  ET

By SANDY COHEN
AP Entertainment Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Alfre Woodard says she was born to be a storyteller, but the greatest experience of her life has been raising her two children.

The 59-year-old actress, whose credits include "Primal Fear" and TV's "True Blood" and "Desperate Housewives," says "being a mother to Mavis and Duncan was my high calling." She added that her 21-year-old daughter and 18-year-old son recently left home.

"I'm three weeks into my empty nest and I'm still a little weepy," Woodard confessed Tuesday while promoting her new Lifetime movie, "Steel Magnolias," alongside co-stars Queen Latifah and Jill Scott.

Woodard said she cooked meals for her kids daily throughout her career, and anytime she got a break from filming, she would fly home to "roast some chickens, go watch them throw a ball and get back on the plane."

Being a mother and discovering who her children are "was just the most incredible human experience I think that I could have, and I miss it terribly," she said.

Luckily, work calls.

"When you take care of (parenting) with good motives, then the universe takes care of other things and has people call you saying, `Hey, snap out of it, mommy, and bring your storytelling butt to work,'" Woodard said.

"Steel Magnolias" airs Oct. 7, and Woodard also has her eye on returning to the stage.

"I just decided I'm old enough to play Virginia Woolf," she said, "so I would like to do that."

___

AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/APSandy.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)