In 1990, Patricia Heaton married English actor-producer, David Hunt, before welcoming four now-adult sons (via People). Between playing multiple TV moms and being a real-life mom, the actress has spent the last two decades completing, as The Washington Times put it in 2014, a “motherhood marathon.” As documented in her 2002 book, Motherhood, and Hollywood: How to Get a Job Like Mine, Heaton has always put her family of six first while balancing her bustling home life and hands-on approach to parenting with her busy work schedule. “We really just enjoy our kids a lot,” she told the Chicago Tribune at the time, noting that, despite her fame and fortune, “Basically, I’m just Mom.”

In a 2018 essay written for Today, Heaton noted, “When you’re playing a mom on TV, people think you’re funny and smart,” and she listed the countless ways in which TV stars are fawned over on set. “When you’re a mom in real life it’s the exact opposite of that,” she continued. “You bring everybody else food. … You drive everybody else around. 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.” However, it’s this difference that’s positively impacted her life. “It’s a good balance,” Heaton concluded. “So it keeps everything in perspective.”

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