Isabella Rossellini: It's 'unbelievably difficult' for actresses to work and have a family

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Andrew Pettie

Isabella Rossellini attends the opening ceremony and premiere of "La Tete Haute.

Isabella Rossellini attends the opening ceremony and premiere of "La Tete Haute. Photo: Getty

Actress and mother of two Isabella Rossellini said having children was still the "biggest problem" standing in the way of female stars achieving parity with men. Speaking at the Women in Motion event at the Cannes Film Festival, she said she had found it too challenging to balance her career with picking her children up from school, claiming it was her "one complaint" about the film industry.

Rossellini, 62, the daughter of Ingrid Bergman, the actress, and Roberto Rossellini, the director, said: "I don't have many complaints [about the film industry] but I do have one. I think that women, more and more, are part of the industry, and women are also doctors and also lawyers. Women are now able to enter the workforce. But the family and the responsibility that comes with it are still theirs.

"The hardest part for me was trying to integrate having a career and having a family."

Rossellini, the star of films including Blue Velvet and Death Becomes Her, and the former wife of Martin Scorsese, the director, has a daughter, Elletra, whom she had with her second husband, Jon Wiedemann, a Microsoft executive and former model, and a son, Roberto, whom she adopted in 1992.

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"I tried to have my children come with me on the set," she said. "But as they got older they wanted to stay with their friends. Then there was school; for example, school meetings are at three o'clock in the afternoon. Now, no working mothers can go to school meetings [at that time].

"In America, you can get a tax deduction for having lunch with a business partner, but not [for] a babysitter. These were the things that were hardest for me, and I think for my mother as well."

This week the American Civil Liberties Union asked state and federal authorities in America to investigate the hiring practices of Hollywood studios, television networks and talent agencies to bring to light what the organisation perceives to be widespread and intentional discrimination against women.

 

The Daily Telegraph