Alex Kingston plays Dr. Elizabeth Corday on the award-winning TV series ER. In everyday life, the British stage-trained actress is married to journalist Florian Haertel; on screen, she’s pregnant by fellow ER physician Mark Greene. When we asked Kingston about her real and fictional lives, both she and her ER alter ego were a week from delivering their first baby.
FIT PREGNANCY: Your due date is eight seconds from now, and you’re still in front of the camera. How are you coping?
ALEX KINGSTON: Lately, it’s all I can do to remember my lines; everything else goes to mush. On the whole, I’ve had a great pregnancy, but I think because I’ve been such a trooper, the producers are working me right up until the end. I’m hoping I don’t deliver on time — I’d like a few days for me and my body to calm down first.
FP: “Listen, honey, Mommy’s a star on episodic television, so if you could not be born for one more week ...”
AK: Don’t laugh. I’ve done that, especially after last week. We worked 16 hours Thursday. I was pretty shattered.
FP: Seems we need to have a nice, firm chat with those producers. They are, we take it, men. By the way, have you had any morning sickness?
AK: During the first trimester, no one knew I was pregnant, and we were doing story lines in which I was working on gory traumas ... opening the chest, shocking the heart ...
FP: What got you through it?
AK: Dry rice cakes. Later I discovered these wristbands for travel sickness, which helped. That’s what tipped off some of the other women cast members — they saw me wearing the wristbands and went, “Hey, wait a minute, she’s not traveling anywhere.”
FP: One day in the distant future this will all seem very funny.
AK: Actually, it’s only this last week that I’ve been losing it. Before that, I was really calm. A friend had her baby shower this past weekend and driving there, I couldn’t find the street. I looked for an hour, and then I just gave up and went home. My husband said, “Oh, don’t worry. I’ll drive you.” But I burst into tears and went, “Noooo. I can’t go-ooo.” I just kept sobbing and sobbing.
FP: Any peculiar aversions, aside from open-heart surgery?
AK: Yes, and this is so sad. We have two dogs, and for a while I couldn’t stand to get close to one of them. I felt terrible because she didn’t know what she’d done wrong.
FP: So, what’s your fitness routine, other than working a gazillion hours?
AK: I take long walks in the hills with the dogs. And I have my prenatal yoga class. We do exercises that strengthen us mentally as well as physically. I’m hoping to go through labor naturally, and I believe this class has given me all the tools.