For a woman who just got married, actress Lisa Edelstein spends a lot of time thinking about divorce. But who can blame her, considering she stars on the smart, funny Bravo series A Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, which is beginning its second season on December 1. On Guide, Edelstein plays Abby, an author grappling with the demise of her marriage and all of the new opportunities on her horizon. Here, Edelstein—in the midst of finishing new episodes—spoke to DuJour about the series’ second season, the physical toll of her part and her strategy for giving martial advice to fans.
You’re finally finished shooting the second season of the series. How does it feel?
It’s exciting, but we’re not just wrapping shooting. We premiere December 1, so as soon as we get home, we shoot in Los Angeles for a little while and then we go right into promotion for the second season. I’m so excited. The fun thing about a second season on any show is that the writers know who it is they’re writing for by season two. In season one, they’re writing in a room sort of blindly, writing about imaginary characters that they’ve never seen, but once they’ve seen the show and they’ve seen what the actors did to it, the writing becomes more directed to what the actors have created with their work. It’s a really interesting transformation.
Without giving too much away, can you talk about how things change for Abby this season?
In a really sweeping statement, we begin the season with Abby still very confused as to whether or not she’s letting go of her marriage. There’s some further exploration done in that regard. Paul Adelstein wrote one of my favorite episodes this season, where everything sort of comes to a head. Beyond that, it’s really become about what happens once you take away what you think is the culprit—the bad marriage—and you’re left with yourself, what self are you left with? What does that look like? I think Abby really struggles this season with her own issues now that she can’t point to anybody else with these problems.
What was it about this character that initially drew you in?
It’s an incredible opportunity on a business level and on a creative level, really. I’ve never been given this kind of opportunity to work as hard as I’m working and go as deep as I get to go with such extraordinary people involved. Every day I count my lucky stars and try to stay present for the experience, because it’s such a special one.
Do you find people looking to you for advice because you’ve gone through such emotional turmoil on TV? Or people hitting you up in airports for marriage counseling?
I think people take it very personally, from the kind of responses I’ve gotten. When I did House, people loved the show and they loved to talk about what they love about the show, but with this one, when I meet people who love this show, they want to talk about why it relates to their life. They take it very personally. It’s a mirror. But I haven’t been asked for marriage counseling. Still, people do sometimes talk to me as if they relate to my personal struggles, even though these are not my personal struggles. I in fact, am a newlywed.
How do you say to someone, “I’m so glad you’re watching, but that’s not my life?”
I don’t. I just enjoy what they tell me. I like when people talk about personal stuff. It’s interesting. I just relate it back to my character. I bring the story back to my character, not me.
When do you do get to pack up and go home, is the character and the world she inhabits hard to leave behind?
I go back to LA, but then we shoot in LA. We’re still working when we get to LA. We do all of these interiors and get the Los Angelesness of it all into the show. But in general, is it hard to shake off? No. It’s so intense, what Abby is going through this season, that it’s more of an exhaustion level. Physically, when you’re playing somebody who is going through really hard times, your body doesn’t really know the difference between a fictional hard time and a real hard time. Abby is living on the edge right now, so that experience happens to my body, and I have to recover from that. I find that that’s been a really interesting process.
So you really do need a vacation.
Yeah I really do. It’s not so much a literal thing, how do I leave the role behind? It’s more just about how I separate my body from this experience. It’s a pretty exciting job, though, and it’s really wonderful to be asked this much of.