Zoe Saldana slams Hollywood's treatment of actors who become mothers

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Andrea Mandell

Zoe and Marco Saldana at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Award.

Zoe and Marco Saldana at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Award. Photo: Jason Merritt

From her artist husband Marco Perego taking her last name to speed-dialing her nanny en route to her latest premiere, Zoe Saldana's life has shifted remarkably since she shot the comic drama Infinitely Polar Bear two years ago.

"I'm so sorry," she says, bare-faced and running late after taking her 6-month-old twin sons, Cy and Bowie, to the doctor for a checkup in preparation for her brood's relocation to the Vancouver set of Star Trek 3.

Last week, the actress staunchly defended her husband's decision to take her name (their twins also have both last names). Online, "there were more men than you would expect going, 'I changed it and that was 10 years ago!' " she says. "Marco felt great doing it."

Yet after the birth of her twins, a stark reality has surfaced.

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"Let me tell you something, it will never be the right time for anybody in your life that you get pregnant," says Saldana, noting that last year, "the productions I was slated to work on sort of had a panic. I heard through the grapevine there was even a conversation of me being written off of one of the projects."

Her reaction?

"I was like, 'Oh, my God, are you kidding me? It's this bad?' Right when I just feel super-duper happy, is that inconvenient for you? That me, as a woman in my thirties, I finally am in love and I am finally starting my life? And it's (screwing) your schedule up? Really?"

Delays stalled production, and Saldana wasn't written out of any of her upcoming films. But her team fought to have child care included in her deals -- a frustrating argument, she says.

Statistically, few parents have access to company-provided child care. According to a 2014 study conducted by the Families and Work Institute, only 20 per cent of large employers (with 1,000 or more employees) provide child care at the workplace, and just 5 per cent contribute financially toward it.

Still, studios "spend more money sometimes 'perking' up male superstars in a movie," she says, paying for private jets, a coterie of assistants and bodyguards or booking "a really phat penthouse or them staying in a yacht instead of them staying on land."

"But then a woman comes in going, 'OK, I have a child. You're taking me away from my home. You're taking my children away from their home. And you're going to make me work a lot more hours than I usually would if I was home. Therefore, I would have to pay for this nanny for more hours -- so I kind of need that. And they go, 'Nope, we don't pay for nannies.' "

USA Today contacted Paramount, which produces Star Trek (Saldana's next film); the studio declined to comment. "With any production, there is always a negotiating process," says Saldana's representative, Gary Mantoosh. "The issue had been resolved prior to when this interview was conducted."

Source: USA Today