Portman, who is currently living in Paris with her husband Benjamin Millepied and their 4-year-old son Aleph, talked about the differences between living in Paris and the United States. “It’s magical. But the cultures are different in ways you don’t even realize,” Portman shares. “And there’s stuff you don’t know you’ll miss until you’re away — like indoor gyms where kids can just run around an d jump. They don’t have those there. [In Paris], if you’re running around on the playground chasing your kid and playing a game, people think you’re nuts.”
She says Millepied is just as devoted to their family life as her. “Most men I know are dealing with the same issues. They say they feel like if they work too hard they won’t have enough time with their families. Maybe those questions need to be asked of men, too. Maybe the men need better questions,” she said.
Portman revealed that she asked fellow actress Cate Blanchett for some parental guidance. “Very early on, I asked [Cate] about being a parent,” Portman says. “I said, ‘How do you do it? You’re a mom. You’re the best at what you do.’ She said, ‘You just do. Stressing about it doesn’t help.'”
Portman was born in Jerusalem and is proud of her heritage. Although she’s never questioned it, it doesn’t stop others wanting to drill her on it. “If you say, ‘I’m from Sweden,’ everyone says, ‘Cool.’ Then when you say, ‘I’m from Israel!’ everyone wants to have a 10-hour political conversation. Everyone has a very strong, very passionate opinion about it. But I’m grateful for it. I had so many friends who asked, when we were younger, ‘Who am I? What’s my identity?’ I never questioned my identity.”
For more from Portman, pick up the August issue of Harper’s Bazaar.