Connie Britton, 45: ‘The older you are, the easier it is to date younger men’

Connie Britton has a new profile in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, which makes me really happy. I love Connie’s show “Nashville,” it’s really picking up lately too as the season comes to an end, and I also admired Connie on last season’s “American Horror Story.” (Although it got so damn weird toward the end I almost gave up. I haven’t watched more than the second episode this season. That show baffles me.) In the piece, Connie talks about losing out on a role that could have redefined her career over 16 years ago, 1996′s Jerry Maguire. She admits she was “heartbroken” to lose the role to Renee Zellweger, and it sounds like she thinks about it a lot. The rest of the piece focuses on Connie’s current career resurgence, and how she’s a sex symbol at 45. There are also some good anecdotes about how Connie stood up for her Nashville character, Rayna James, and made Rayna more sure of herself and less worried about “aging,” much like Connie herself.

Also, we barely hear anything about Connie’s personal life. She’s single and recently adopted a baby boy from Ethiopia, but the article says she “dates” men, and she heavily hints that they’re younger guys although she’s not naming names.

On losing out on a starring role in Jerry Maguire
Britton was at this point not far removed from her days teaching aerobics and going on open-call auditions in New York. Now she started hearing that she was poised for stardom. She did a table read with the rest of the cast [of Jerry Maguire], and it was looking like a lock. The day she finally did a screen test with Cruise, Britton said, she heard that “they just want to screen-test one other actress.” Britton laughed, this time a little more darkly. Of course it was Renée Zellweger, an actress so tiny and tousled that she looked newly hatched, who walked away with the part.

“It was heartbreak,” Britton said. A decade came and went, a crucial decade in the life of an actress. Britton played some secondary roles on television, including an ensemble part on the sitcom “Spin City” and smaller recurring ones on “The West Wing” and “24.” And then, 10 years after “Jerry Maguire” had its premiere without her, she was offered a part on a new network series, “Friday Night Lights…”

“Maybe I was too tall,” Britton said, offering one theory of why she didn’t land the part opposite Cruise.

On dating younger men
Britton, who was briefly married right out of college, is single now, but she is usually dating someone. “In my experience of watching Connie Britton’s dating life, it has not been Connie getting beaten out by 25-year-old girls, let’s leave it at that,” says the producer Sarah Aubrey, a friend. If Britton bristles at characterizations of a 40-year-old woman as losing her appeal, it’s because she thinks those assumptions are off-base. “Because frankly I’ve had a different experience, as a single woman,” she said. “Younger men and all that.” It’s not that she has a particular pattern of dating younger men, she clarified. “Let’s put it this way: The older you get, the easier it is to date younger men.” She laughed. “There are more of them.”

On standing up for her character’s confidence
The actors on a show like “Nashville” — even one with a producer’s credit, like Britton — have only so much leeway for push-back, but Britton consistently dug in during the early episodes. No, she told the director of the pilot, she would rather not stare at her face in the mirror and pull it back aggressively to see what she would look like with a face-lift. She was uncomfortable with what that bit of direction implied about the character’s self-doubt. In the final take, which follows bad news from Rayna’s managers about her most recent record release, Britton does stare at herself in the mirror, and she does massage her face; but the scene registers emotions — fatigue, confusion — as opposed to the simulation of plastic surgery, a more interesting moment, as well as one she found less insulting. (Even still, Jaymes’s husband, noticing her looking at her face, tells her, “If you get plastic surgery, I’ll divorce you.”)…

In a scene in an early episode, in which Jaymes takes a long walk with an old flame, Britton deliberately resisted some lines in which her character expressed fears about being old. “Just drawing on my own experience, I never — I never — personally reference myself as old. I don’t think of myself as old, but I certainly would not say that to a man,” Britton said. It starts to become obvious, as Britton talks, how much of her own Southern upbringing (she was raised in a close-knit family in small-town Virginia) feeds into the characters she creates. “I might have a conversation with some girlfriends — what are we doing about the lines around our eyes — but to a man? There are certain things — it would just be demystifying and disempowering,” she said…

“All it took to get on track, [with Nashville]” Britton told me, “was a lot of time and fight.”

[From The NY Times via US Weekly]

Britton is of course hinting that Tom Cruise cost her the Jerry Maguire role with that “too tall” line. If the role was a lock until she read with Cruise, that’s probably what happened. (Tom is 5’7″ while Connie is 5’8″. Renee is 5’4″.) That argument might not hold water considering that Tom’s then-wife, Nicole Kidman, was 5’11″, but this is Cruise we’re talking about. If he doesn’t like someone or thinks they’re too tall they’re out of there.

I’m glad to know more about Connie and see her getting more press. She’s so great on Nashville and this article helps me understand why. She plays it cool and understated, and she’s very confident. It’s not about “aging” to her, it’s about being herself, and she rocks. Check out Nashville if you get a chance – the music is great too, and I don’t even like country music.

One complaint about Connie – she rarely gets her makeup right when she’s on a red carpet and not on the show. She needs to hire better makeup people. She’s so gorgeous, but makeup makes a big difference.

Photo credit: and FameFlynet

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45 Responses to “Connie Britton, 45: ‘The older you are, the easier it is to date younger men’”

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  1. Samanthalous says:

    I think she looked really good on AHS

  2. Gabby says:

    She is so gorgeous for her age that I doubt anyone would see her as a cougar anyways. And I think she was partially cracking a joke.

    Loved her on American Horror Story: Murder House! :-)

  3. virginia5 says:

    this is a weird thing to say but how old is her son? he looks mature in the face.

  4. Gabby says:

    And her comment about maybe being too tall to star next to Cruise…. priceless. :-D

  5. RHONYC says:

    i loved her in ‘American Horror Story’…she’s very compelling and beautiful.
    she’s definitely the type of actor whose work i’d follow, so i guess i’ll check out this ‘Nashville’ when i get a chance. ;-)

    • TQB says:

      Give Nashville a shot. Britton is fantastic, and you will look at Hayden Panetierre differently, too. She’s a bitchy trainwreck.

      But take this with a grain of salt; I’m a former grunge girl so any dude in a plaid shirt with a guitar and some scruff makes me all melty – and there are like 20 of them in this show.

      • EmmaStoneWannabe says:

        Yes, Nashville really is just about the best thing on right now. She is fantastic in it.

      • Kate says:

        I am a huge Connie Britton fan girl (I LOVED Tami Taylor and FNL) but I just can’t with Nashville. If the show were wholly focused on Connie and Hayden, it would be fine but I find the other storylines unwatchable. The young songwriters are just horrible (that Scarlett character and the actress who plays her drive me to violent outbusts — just dreadful — and don’t get me started on Daddy Warbucks Powers Booth, ugh!). I really want to like the show but I don’t. I just want Tami and Coach back!

  6. Dawn says:

    I really like her and especially liked her on Friday Night Lights. The Taylors were the couple everyone wants to be in real life. I tried Nashville but it didn’t stick with me…but that isn’t on Connie.

  7. Jess says:

    Love Connie! Ever since Spin City.

  8. T.C. says:

    Throwing so much shade at shorty Tom Cruise. LMAO. If you are confident in your own skin it’s easier to attract men of all ages.

  9. TQB says:

    I was hoping you would cover this. Loved her on Spin City and I’m so hooked on Nashville.

    Thing is, Rayna is so much more interesting because of the choices that Britton has made. Rayna doesn’t think she’s old – she thinks she’s a big hot star, and that’s why her response to Juliette is so imperious. She’s not threatened by her, and she’s shocked and offended by anyone who suggests she should be. I’m tired of watching characters who are supposed to be huge successes act like they’re so insecure. The false humility is supposed to be FALSE. On some level, someone of Rayna’s stature must think pretty highly of herself.

    Thanks for reminding me about the plastic surgery line from Teddy. I’d forgotten that he used to be a decent dude.

  10. apsutter says:

    She is freaking gorgeous!! Who wouldn’t want to date her?! I’m not even gay but if Connie Britton comes a calling, I’m giving it a shot lol! I completely fell in love with her and Jessica Lange during American Horror Story. Such strong beautiful older women still being sexy!

  11. aims says:

    I think she’s by far one of the prettiest actresses on tv right now. I love her whole look, I love her whole attitude, Shes great. Im so happy for her. She was awesome in friday night’s, by the way.

  12. elceibeno08 says:

    Go ahead Connie, enjoy those younger men. And do not worry what the party poopers think.

  13. Simmy says:

    She was so great on Spin City and incredible on FNL. Can’t get enough Tami Taylor!!

  14. PeaSoup says:

    I know I will get lots of hate for this, but her face is a rough “45″. Body is great, but yikes she’s done some hard livin’ on her skin.

    • Jayna says:

      One of the few TV shows I love. Glad to see the love.

      I agree, though. Connie is what I call a very striking woman, but she can be rough looking at times. That scene last night in the bathroom, sitting on the floor next to the younger guy in his 30s who had no lines, beautiful skin, in the light she had a lot of lines and looser skin everywhere on her face. Sometimes fair-skinned redheads don’t age as well. I said sometimes. Don’t hate on me, redheads. Julianne Moore is doing great. I have two redheaded friends. One complains about how she is aging already at 35 skinwise. My other friend at 43 looks great.

    • Christina says:

      I agree. I barely know who this woman is but the first thing I thought when I saw the photos was ”45? Yup, and the rest.”

    • Jen34 says:

      My sister and I were talking about this the other day. We both think she looks 50 ish.

    • SusieQ2 says:

      But I think that’s what makes her so interesting. She has obviously gone out and just LIVED her life, rather than obsessing over her looks and spending time in the beauty/botox salon. It just makes her seem real to me.

      • Becky1 says:

        I love and admire the fact that she doesn’t seem to be messing with her face. It’s very rare to see 40+ actresses who “allow” themselves to be filmed without Botox, etc. I think it takes guts…guts that I honestly don’t think I’d have if I were in her position.

        I don’t think she looks older than 45. I think she looks like a very attractive 45 year old woman who’s aging naturally. The vast majority of actresses her age have either gotten Botox, fillers, laser skin treatments or plastic surgery. I think people sometimes forget what Caucasian, fair haired women in their 40′s naturally look like. I really hope she stays true to herself and doesn’t succumb to pressure to get work done.

  15. Amanda says:

    Of course it’s easier to date younger guys… she’s hot!

  16. lucy2 says:

    “Maybe I was too tall,” Britton said, offering one theory of why she didn’t land the part opposite Cruise.

    Oh Connie, just when I thought I couldn’t love you more…

    Nashville is very entertaining – it’s not quite the quality writing of FNL (but few things are) but I enjoy it a lot and am very happy for her success. She’s awesome, and I love her sticking up for herself and her character.

  17. hoya_chick says:

    Weren’t we dissing ScarJo yesterday for talking about missing out on the Les Mis role AnnE ended up getting in the same vein as Connie saying she missed out on the role that ended up going to Renee? What’s the difference?

    Fun Fact: I’ve never seen Jerry Maguire! Felt like I have though.

    I had never heard of her until AHS came on. But I am partial to red headed women so I think she is great. I’ve probably seen her in things and didn’t know her name.

    I tried AHS when it first started but I couldn’t get into it, plus my tv rotation is completely full and it’s going to take something great to replace my regulars. I would watch Nashville, except I hate that Hayden girl, she cannot act and ruined Heroes for me. And I don’t think I could really get into a show about country music, is it any good?

    • Lemony says:

      I’ve never seen Jerry Maguire either! I feel like I have because it’s on TV all of the time; there’s been countless times when I’ve sat down to watch it but always end up falling asleep (most romantic comdedies have that affect on me)

    • Jayna says:

      You should watch Jerry McGuire. It’s a classic in the rom-com category. It’s an actual movie with a great storyline, great dialogue, great performances by everybody, has a great message ultimately, and not so cookie-cutter.

      Tom actually gives a really fantastic performance. Renee was perfect for the role she was in. Their kissing scene on the steps outside the house was beyond sexy. I loved all of the actors and actresses (lead and supporting roles) in this movie and the chemistry between all the characters, whoever they played off of, was spot on. Very rare.

    • SusieQ2 says:

      I felt the same about Hayden P. but honestly, she has been a revelation. You’ll end up rooting for her character. She totally deserved that Golden Globe supporting actress nomination.

  18. bea says:

    I’ve been watching Nashville (bc it’s on after Modern Family and I was too lazy to change the channel) and it’s really good. Her character is really strong on the show and it IS refreshing that she isn’t obsessed with her age. She’s more concerned about her career and family. Hayden P is in the show as well and she’s really good as well.

    I actually like her make-up on the show – darker eyes and pale, shiny lips. I don’t like those too dark lips and the poorly applied cover-up in the top photo.

    Honestly, I had never (consciously) seen her in anything until Nashville.

  19. karmasabiatch! says:

    Like CB and a few others here have said- I don’t care for country music, never have. This show, however, has produced a ton of music I love enough to purchase & enjoy on my iPod. Connie Britton is superlative, as always. If you haven’t already, give Nashville a shot!

  20. YAS says:

    LOVE her. I love that she is a stunning woman who clearly isn’t freaking out about aging. Her face is just so stunning and comforting because you can see her itty bitty lines around the eyes. I just love that. That top pic does not do her justice.

  21. Patrice says:

    Connie is just so awesome and beautiful :) I’ve been a fan-girl since she was Tami Taylor on FNL but the more I read about her these days, the more she can really do no wrong in my eyes :D

    P.S. ‘Nashville’ was so good last night!!! I don’t regularly watch it as I can only catch bits & pieces of it when I switch over during breaks for ‘Chicago Fire’, but last night they seemed to be on an opposite commercial schedule which worked out perfectly :) Now I don’t know which show to be more loyal to!

  22. SusieQ2 says:

    Thanks CB! Love all the Nashville and Connie love! You rock!!

    Boo hiss to ABC though. You show us THAT promo and we have to wait TWO WEEKS until the next episode?? Damn you!!

  23. Sheeesh says:

    It’s easier to date younger guys when EVERY guy is a younger guy.

  24. Jilli says:

    Love Nashville and everyone in it-especially Ms. Britton. Love those F&B boots she is wearing in the second to the last photo.

  25. veronica says:

    love this woman. what a role model. must have really killed her watching Renees star rise

  26. Claudia says:

    Or, you know, Renee was simply better for the part. It happens.