Natalie Portman says her career makes finding 'ritual' in family life more challenging

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Natalie Portman Talks Juggling Motherhood and Acting in an Intimate Email Exchange


Natalie Portman's work as an actress makes her life more fulfilling, even if it makes coordinating her family life more difficult.

The Black Swan star opens up about motherhood in an intimate email exchange with author Jonathan Safran Foer that was published in The New York Times' T Magazineon Thursday, where she admits that the lack of routine with her 5-year-old son, Aleph Portman-Millepied, is "among the hardest things and best things about my work."

"I will never have the boredom or repetitiveness of an office," Portman, 35, writes. "But every job takes me to a new place with a new schedule, and it requires a reinvention of ritual each time, even more so with a family."

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"Every time I go on location, I have to figure out where to live, what activities are available for my son, how and when we will travel from our home base," the actress explains.

"When I'm not working," Portman says, "I'm pretty much exclusively with my family, so my rituals have to do with school, meal preparation, playdates, bedtime."

"We spend the weekend together as a family," she adds, sharing that she, her son, and husband Benjamin Millepied like to spend their downtime "usually somewhere in nature, often with friends who have children."

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Portman also offers nice little details about her son's hobbies in the emails, which range from Lego Batman, who "is alternately battling dinosaurs and performing a concert," to "loud Harry Potter music blasting in the house."

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Natalie Portman through the years
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Natalie Portman through the years
BEIJING, CHINA - APRIL 17: (CHINA OUT) American actress Natalie Portman attends Sino-Foreign Film Co-ptoduction Forum during the 6th Beijing International Film Festival on April 17, 2016 in Beijing, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - APRIL 16: (CHINA OUT) American actress Natalie Portman arrives at the red carpet of the 6th Beijing International Film Festival on April 16, 2016 in Beijing, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
SILVER SPRING, MD- MARCH 06: Actress Natalie Portman attends a screening of 'A Tale of Love and Darkness' at AFI Silver Theater on March 6, 2016 in Silver Spring, Md. (Kris Connor/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 27: Natalie Portman arrives at the the New York premiere of 'Jane Got a Gun' at The Museum of Modern Art on January 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/WireImage)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0409 -- Pictured: Actress Natalie Portman on January 27, 2016 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 27: Actress Natalie Portman is seen on 'Good Morning America' on January 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 26: Actress Natalie Portman attends the 2016 New York Jewish Film Festival closing night screening of 'A Tale Of Love And Darkness' at Walter Reade Theater on January 26, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Stewart/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 24: Actress Natalie Portman attends the 'Jane Got A gun' Premiere at Cinema UGC Normandie on January 24, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 10: Actress Natalie Portman attends the 'A Tale Of Love And Darkness' premiere during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 10, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 24: Actress Natalie Portman attends the Ballet National de Paris Opening Season Gala at Opera Garnier on September 24, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 09: Actress Natalie Portman attends TIFF Soiree Charity Event during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox Cultural Center on September 09, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. PHOTOGRAPH BY EXImages / Barcroft Media UK Office, London. T +44 845 370 2233 W www.barcroftmedia.com USA Office, New York City. T +1 212 796 2458 W www.barcroftusa.com Indian Office, Delhi. T +91 11 4053 2429 W www.barcroftindia.com (Photo credit should read EXImages / Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 19: Natalie Portman attends the De Grisogono Party at the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May May 19, 2015 in Cap d'Antibes, France. (Photo Luca Teuchmann/WireImage)
US actress Natalie Portman attends the LVMH Young Fashion Designer awards ceremony in Paris, on May 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 17: Natalie Portman attends the Photocall for 'A Tale of Love and Darkness' at 2015 Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2015 in Cannes, France. PHOTOGRAPH BY Peter / Barcroft Media (Photo credit should read Peter / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
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Meanwhile, Portman is keeping very busy professionally.

Besides staring in the upcoming Jackie Kennedy biopic, the actress is currently filming Annihailation with Hateful Eight's Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez. Portman commented that getting to work with so many talented females offered a refreshing change of pace from the typical male-dominated movie set.

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"I'm working with a group of actresses right now who are so kind and talented and funny," she says of Leigh and Rodriguez, as well as Tessa Thompson and Tuva Novotny, who also start in the film. "We did a scene last night, all night, in which every take was different, and each one real, and we laughed and froze our asses off and played. It was rare energy on a film because there were so many women together. Usually it's all men and each of us is the only woman."

Sounds like a movie we want to see!

Watch the video below for the advice Cate Blanchett gave Portman about motherhood.

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