“Katie always knew what she wanted,” says Hawn. “She's very, very put together. I would give her advice if she needed it, but I don't think I have advice to give. You set your kids up right, and they give you advice.”
Like her mother, Hudson seems determined to have both a career and a family. She admits that having a child complicates the logistics of her schedule but doesn't see a career hiatus as an option. The notion of hard work and self-sufficiency, which Hudson espouses at several points in her conversation, was clearly a central theme in her upbringing.
“Kurt and I were taskmasters,” Hawn says when asked about her daughter's work ethic. “We let them all know when you come from a family that has succeeded, you have to do what you do a little better.”
As energetic and optimistic as she is, though, Hudson admits that the responsibilities of grown-up life can at times become burdensome. “I have my breakdowns, like everybody else,” she says. “I have moments when I just feel like I haven't touched the ground in months. Being a mother and a wife, you want to take care of everybody else, and then you forget about yourself. Sometimes that ends up showing itself in little miniature breakdowns, when you don't understand why you're emotional or why you can't get out of bed in the morning. You realize you've got to go do something for yourself.”
One big thing Hudson did for herself two years ago was buying this house. After a long search in which she and Robinson unsuccessfully bid on five different Malibu properties, she finally found a nest to feather when she was six months pregnant with Ryder. One is tempted to say that fate delivered it to her, since it was Hudson's own childhood home, which Hawn had bought when she was six months pregnant with Hudson in 1979. The four-bedroom house was originally built for oddball director James Whale, whose life was dramatized in the film Gods and Monsters, and Hawn expanded it during the 12 years she lived there with Russell, their brood of four children—and a clutch of chickens in the backyard. “I can't explain how much I loved it,” says Hawn. “The only reason we moved was because it became too small.”
It was, as you might expect, a lively household. Hawn remembers that once when the children were young, she needed a new car and decided on a whim to test-drive a Bentley convertible. Accompanied by a minder from the dealership, she took it home for Russell to inspect, but when the front gates swung open, she realized with horror how the compound must have looked to a stranger. The yard was littered with tricycles, toys and a wooden treehouse, while the garage door was in splinters from where son Wyatt used it as a backboard for hockey practice. Russell, hearing her drive up, dashed out the front door in only his underwear, and all four children tumbled out after him.