Bridget Moynahan: What you don't know about Tom Brady’s ex

Bridget Moynahan, born Kathryn Bridget Moynahan, is a force to be reckoned with. She started her career as a model, gracing the covers of major magazines like Glamour and Vogue, but wasn't satisfied with stopping her career there. Before long, she had transitioned from magazine covers and ad campaigns to the silver screen, landing roles in films like bar-based Coyote Ugly, and the crime dramas I, Robot and Lord of War. She has also hit the small screen, appearing as Mr. Big's wife Natasha on Sex and the City before landing her long-running role as Erin Reagan on the drama Blue Bloods.

Moynahan's personal life has long been a source of gossip, with her past relationship with Tom Brady (who is the father of her child) sometimes overshadowing her career, but her real life and career go far beyond tabloid headlines. Here's what you don't know about Bridget Moynahan.

She's traditional and never dreamed she'd be a single mom

Football star Tom Brady and Moynahan were in a relationship for three years before splitting in 2006. Brady had already moved on to his now-wife, Gisele Bündchen, when Moynahan revealed she was pregnant. The prospect of being a single mother was a terrifying one, Moynahan told Harper's Bazaar. "I'm not sure anyone — and I could be wrong in this — grows up thinking, I want to be a single mom," she said.

Still recovering from her recent heartbreak, Moynahan found her "whole life upside down and inside out." Telling her family was another daunting task. "When you're suddenly pregnant and no one is standing by your side … it's a hard conversation," she said. "I'm a traditional girl, and I believe in marriage, and I just always thought that's the way I'd be doing this. … It was hard for me to accept that this was the way I was going to have a family. "

Moynahan had nothing to worry about. Her friends and family backed her up, especially Will Smith, her co-star in I, Robot. "He picked up that phone faster than anybody to make sure I was okay when things were getting hectic," she said.

She's the mother she "used to dread"

It didn't take long for Moynahan to adjust to being a mother. She relished her pregnancy. "Being pregnant just felt so good," she told Harper's Bazaar. "I was creating life on a daily basis, I felt beautiful, I felt sexy."

The proud mother admitted to being the kind of person who can't help talking about their kids. "I have become that mother I used to dread," she said. "Every time he does something, you think he's a genius."

The actress spoke to Parade about the challenges of balancing motherhood with a social life. "I'd rather spend time with my son than anyone in the world," she said. "But I think it's also important to take care of yourself. Make time to see your girlfriends or get to the gym. If you're only working or only spending time with your family, you're out of balance. You have to make you a priority."

She thinks Will Smith should run for public office

Bridget Moynahan has nothing but good things to say about her I, Robot co-star, Will Smith. When asked by Future Movies in 2004 on the heels of the movie's release if she thought her leading man should run for president, Moynahan laughed at first saying "I think about anybody should at this point."

She does think her friend and fellow actor has some serious leadership skills, though. Of Smith, whom she also called a "consummate professional" she added, "He impressed me so much in the running of his life, business, his commitment to his family and friends." The star then added that not only is Smith impressive in the way he juggles everything in his life, he's someone that people can look up to. 

"So he is a role model and there are not many of them around," she said. "To have someone like him as a politician would not only be great — but unusual."

She'd "rather be 45 than 25"

Some people age gracefully. For others, like Moynahan, age isn't even a factor. "I really don't pay attention to age," she told Parade in 2017, after being asked whether she viewed her 45th birthday as a milestone. "I got married last year, I look good and I'm having a lot of fun, so I don't really know when age matters," she said. The actress went on to say that she'd "rather be 45 than 25."

"I feel better now!" she said. "I just saw a quote that said: 'Things I used to trip over, I walk over now.' I think of things that really bothered me at 20, it's like, 'Why did I waste so much energy on that?'"

Moynahan says she has her mother, who "is Grace Kelly beautiful" to thank for her youthful looks. She also eats healthy, avoiding junk food. "Also, I don't smoke, and I drink a lot of water," she added. "I have one cup of coffee or tea, maybe two, and then the rest is water."

She has a hidden talent

Eating healthy doesn't mean shunning your favorite foods, just ask Bridget Moynahan. While Moynahan avoids junk food, she does love anything "salty, and buttery and creamy," she told the Los Angeles Times. Luckily, she can easily satiate those cravings anytime she wants as she has a knack for making homemade treats.

The key is to "have balance," said Moynahan, who learned to cook from her mother. Moynahan turned her love for food into another career as an author. She wrote The Blue Bloods Cookbook, which was heavily influenced by recipes from her mother. It was her mother's influence that not only taught her the ins and outs of cooking, but also the family togetherness that comes from it.

"I used some of my mom's hand-written recipe cards and realized that with my own family I have kept up many of her traditions," she said. "Conversations in the kitchen with family or friends while we're cooking a meal together can be very special."

She's a tomboy for life

It isn't just eating healthy that keeps Moynahan in tip top shape, she also has working out to thank for that. It's not something that was new to her as an adult, either. A tomboy growing up, Moynahan still lives a very active lifestyle. "I grew up playing sports and I was on teams my whole life," she told WebMD. "I was also active during the summers in tennis camps and basketball camps. I've just always been active; it's been part of my lifestyle my entire life. There was never a moment that I wasn't working out. I think it's been instilled from my childhood."

While people were somewhat surprised to learn that Moynahan's son with Tom Brady doesn't want to be a professional football player, Moynahan did tell Kelly Ripa and guest co-host Bellamy Young in early 2017 that he's interested in a variety of sports. It's clear now that Moynahan and Brady's son gets his love of sports and being active from both his parents.

This is how she navigates tabloid fodder

Life as a celebrity can be difficult, especially when your private life becomes tabloid fodder. Moynahan's life, particularly her romantic entanglements, have long been a source of gossip. She has done her best to avoid the drama, but hinted at how frustrating it has been for her over the years. 

In 2017, she appeared on Live With Kelly and talked about her love life. "Married life is good!" she said. "You know, I finally figured it out in my forties that when it works, it works, and, like, there doesn't have to be drama."

But in the face of her personal life becoming public, Moynahan told Self that in all situations, she tries to "find the positive," which is her mantra. "It's amazing how easy it is for everyone to talk about the negatives," she said. "The negative drama is just going to bring you down. You just have to rise above and take the high road and focus on the most important and positive aspect of the situation. There's always a positive part. It's life."

In order to keep her spirits up, she put up a "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster in her house, saying "it's really important to me to have a healthy state of mind and a healthy environment that's happy and nurturing."

She feels at home in Ireland

Bridget Moynahan comes from an Irish-American family, which heavily influenced her upbringing. She told Irish America that growing up, her family "watched a lot of news and news shows like 60 Minutes." It shouldn't be surprising because keeping up with current events is something she says is engrained in not only Irish culture, but in her family dynamics as well.

"In Ireland you go out with your friends and you talk and you talk and you really beat it out, which is not something that's common in American culture," she said. " But definitely in my family we do. When a subject comes up, we are talking about it for hours."

Although she grew up in America, she feels right at home in Ireland, where she has extended family. "I like rain, I like cloudy days," she said. "I always found that driving around Ireland, you could be in the middle of a rain shower and up the road would be pure sunshine and rainbows. It's beautiful."

She "can't relate" to ditzy characters

Moynahan has played a lot of strong characters throughout her career. From her early role as bartender Rachel in Coyote Ugly who had to take anger management classes after standing up for herself when a customer who got a little too handsy, to her most well-known role as letter-of-the-law Assistant District Attorney Erin Reagan on Blue Bloods, Moynahan's characters aren't stereotypical damsels in distress. Even when her character is in distress, like in Battle: Los Angeles, she's still definitely not delicate.

"I tend to gravitate towards material where the women are strong," she told Irish America. "It's got a bit more depth to it, there's a bit more intelligence to the character. I think in a lot of the romantic comedies the women are portrayed as being kind of ditzy, and I just can't relate to it. So I think it is harder for me to pursue those parts," she said.

Moynahan is also an old soul, at least when it comes to old movies. In an interview with The Aquarian, Moynahan was asked which classic film she would love to star in. While Moynahan said that she believes "a true classic should never be touched," she did admit that thinks it could be fun to be be in a modern version of Casablanca or West Side Story, still sticking with a strong female character vibe.

This is what she does to unwind

Moynahan leads a busy life, so she has to make time if she wants to relax and unwind. In those brief moments she does get to relax, she likes to use the time to read. "I really enjoy escaping into a book," she told WebMD. "But it's hard to find that time." Her favorite books are fiction, and among her top picks are Jonathan Tropper's This is Where I Leave You, and the works of Philip Roth, who she revealed to Irish America is one of her favorite authors.

Not only does Moynahan have beauty and brains, her love of reading has inspired some of her philanthropy work, proving she has a huge heart as well. Moynahan is on the National Board of Directors for Jumpstart, a program that "provides language, literacy, and social-emotional programming for preschool children from under-resourced communities and promotes quality early learning for all."

Her parents wanted her to go to business school

Bridget Moynahan started modeling after graduating from high school, but she could have entered the business long before that. "Apparently, my mother said I was approached [to model] my entire life, but I was never aware of that," she told the magazine Women of Upstate New York. Far from being a child star, Moynahan had to convince her parents, who wanted her to go to business school, into letting her try to make it as a model and an actress.

Moynahan's determination to make it in the industry paid off, and she was able to parlay her success as a model into an even more successful acting career. "What I'm always so grateful for is that I've had the opportunities," she said. "It's a tricky business, and I think modeling gave me somewhat of an open door. … So I felt fortunate that I was able to have that opportunity, and that Hollywood in general kind of welcomed me."

This is who she wants as her leading man

Moynahan has shared the screen with some big names in Hollywood including Keanu Reeves, Nicolas Cage, and her aforementioned friend a co-star Will Smith, but there's one person who she has always wanted to play her leading man. 

She revealed on an episode of Harry Connick Jr.'s eponymous talk show that she had wanted to work with the host for quite some time, specifically as a love interest "on several shows." She noted her single-season show Six Degrees in particular on which she played Public Relations exec Whitney Crane who finds out her fiancé has been cheating on her, sending her love life into a tailspin. We could certainly see how Harry Connick Jr. fits in there. So can Moynahan, it seems.

"I'm always throwing your name out, but you're so busy, you're constantly working," she told him. Connick seemed flattered that she wanted to work with him, answering, "I ain't that busy!"

You won't believe what she always keeps in her purse

The actress always looks totally put together on and off the camera. This might have you imagining that she's a bit of a neat freak, but if you took a look inside her purse, you might rethink that. Moynahan revealed the contents of her handbag to Us Weekly in 2013, and she was packing some pretty surprising things.

At the bottom of the bag was jewelry. "I empty it and realize, that's where those bracelets went," she said. "It's like Christmas!" She's also "probably the only person who still carries stamps. She keeps them on hand so that she can mail out postcards she picks up from museums. Another thing the star usually has with her is a copy of The New York Times, something she confesses may not help her carbon footprint.

The most shocking thing that Moynahan revealed to be in her bag was, well, strange: a rubber mouse! "I enjoy practical jokes, so sometimes I'll carry my stuff to make people laugh," she said.

Her accidental big break

Moynahan's transition from modeling to acting was a lot easier than it could have been if she hadn't landed an amazing break. She revealed on The Meredith Vieira Show that she was only supposed to have one guest spot on Sex and the City, her first acting job. Moynahan says it was more of a "lucky spot" than a "guest spot." Her one episode role turned into an entire arc and gave her a head start in Hollywood.  

And while she may be best known for her serious film roles, it turns out that Moynahan is actually a funny girl at heart, which no doubt helped her make the leap from modeling to acting. Her friend Daniel Primer, who met the actress in an acting class, told People that Moynahan has "always been silly." He said that she would often amuse her friends by putting on fake accents. Her most notable fake accent was an Irish one, likely inspired by Moynahan's Irish heritage.

She's sorry for helping start this not-so-flattering fashion trend

One of Moynahan's early film roles was in the movie Coyote Ugly. The film quickly became a cult classic, inspiring a 2000s fashion trend that was everywhere and on everyone. That's right, we're talking about low-rise jeans. Moynahan takes ownership of the movie's role in setting the trend and felt compelled to apologize for it later. 

"I feel a little bit bad about that film because I think we were responsible for just every woman wearing really low-slung pants that maybe don't naturally fit well on people," she told HuffPost Live in 2014. "So I think we started a movement that maybe we should reconsider."

While it's hard to say what the stars of Coyote Ugly would be wearing if the film were to be released today instead of in the year 2000, but Moynahan did have a suggestion for wardrobe should a sequel ever be made. "Coyote 2 will be high-waisted leather pants instead."