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The Loneliest Soprano

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The Soprano family in the show's first season (1999) and in its last.  

I ask her if it’s been hard to be around such a hard-partying cast. “I don’t want to be everybody’s mother, but I’m worried that’s how I come across,” she says. “What it really does is, it makes me feel lonely. This cast in particular, they really love to hang out and party. They make it look like fun. And it was fun for me! They spend a lot more time without me than with me, by my own choice—I’m always invited, and I’m always there for two minutes and I leave, because I can’t live in that world anymore. It’s too dangerous.”

Her sober life has had its own dramas: She’s been treated for breast cancer and had a relationship with fellow SUNY–Purchase alumnus Stanley Tucci, who was married at the time. Two years ago, she adopted a son, Anderson—an experience she calls “nothing but spectacular.” And as The Sopranos bows, she hopes that she’ll be able to hover in that peaceful zone of celebrity: just famous enough to have real options. Not being Carmela may even have its advantages. “No more scary hands!” she says gleefully, meaning those shiny Jersey claws, which she used to wear 24 hours a day—until she found a way to detach herself when she needed to. “Now I just clip them off at the end of the day.”


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