Perhaps because Motherhood is partly about mourning one’s youth, or perhaps because she’s on the cusp of turning 40, Thurman has been doing some reassessing of late. “I can’t say my 30s were the easiest time. And I had thought my 20s were hard!” she says with a laugh. “You know, that’s the worst mistake a woman can make, to think, Oh, I’m 32 and I’ve had two kids and I’ve worked since I was 16 and now it’s going to get easier. Because as soon as you think that, you’re doomed! You’re absolutely doomed!
“I feel like I lived my life backwards,” she continues. “Like Bob Dylan said, ‘I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now.’ Getting older has been a process of realizing that I wasn’t as grown up as I had thought. When I was a teenager people often referred to me as jaded or knowing. It’s a classic teen illusion to think you know it all, but I’ve certainly learned I don’t. I’ve certainly learned the hard way. And that’s kind of nice, to realize that just when you think you’ve figured it out, life surprises you.”
Five years ago, for instance, she didn’t necessarily think she’d ever remarry. “Yeah, that’s what’s great,” she says with a little smile. Thurman is an expert at projecting a cool, in-control exterior, but it’s pretty obvious she is smitten with Busson, the dashing French multimillionaire hedge fund honcho. The two met at a dinner in Milan in 2007, not long after Thurman’s three-year relationship with hotelier André Balazs came to an end. Busson, 46, who is no stranger to celebrity (he has two children with Elle Macpherson), has also built a reputation as one of London’s most prominent and well-connected philanthropists. Last June, after announcing their engagement, the couple threw themselves a glittering party at Busson’s home in London with a guest list that included Elton John, Sting, Claudia Schiffer and Damien Hirst.
When the topic turns to the engagement ring Thurman is wearing, the actress gives an almost puppy love–ish giggle. Although the diamond has generated a fair amount of ink due to its enormous size (one source told the New York Daily News it’s so big, “she can’t fit it through the sleeve of her coat”), what’s probably most extraordinary about the bauble is that it somehow manages to be understated at the same time. Not shiny or polished in the least, it’s a gorgeously rough-looking piece of jewelry that is totally Thurman. Although it resembles an antique, she reveals that it’s by JAR, the Parisian jeweler who makes only a handful of extremely expensive pieces a year. “This is a better piece of jewelry than I deserve,” she says, practically blushing.