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July 11, 2006

Courteney in Control

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Her Family and Her Career

Cox is also unusually confident when it comes to spending and investing her money, and she is a renowned buyer and seller of houses, which she loves to renovate. "It's almost mandatory that I change my environment regularly, so I do take risks with real estate," she says. "I think you have to have faith in yourself." You can see the same self-assuredness behind her decision to start her own production company with Arquette. Rather than rest on her Friends laurels, which also came with one of the biggest paydays in prime-time history, Cox opted to fund her fledgling company. Before it officially launched, she and Arquette produced a home-decorating show, Mix It Up! — based on their own decorating dilemmas — which aired on the We: Women's Entertainment channel.

"I like being self-employed," she says, adding that she especially likes the freedom it gives her in fine-tuning her choice of roles. "I like playing comedy, where I can be goofy, like I am in Zoom," she says, in which she plays a comic book-crazed scientist. "But I don't want to be the straight person in a comedy anymore. I want to be challenged and creatively fulfilled, or I don't want to do it," she adds. "There is no reason for me to just take a job. Not right now. My priorities have changed."

They have indeed. It took five years of marriage, a series of miscarriages and in-vitro fertilization before Cox gave birth to her daughter two days before her own 40th birthday two years ago. "And what a little personality," she says, fishing out an envelope of baby pictures. "You can't get any cuter than that!"

Cox has taken a hands-on approach to child-rearing. She and Arquette have refused the typical Hollywood solution of live-in help (though a nanny comes when needed), and Cox is adamant about getting up when Coco wakes up every morning at 6. She also insists on bringing her to the office every afternoon (Coco even has her own "office," outfitted with a puppet theater), and she ardently disagrees with Arquette over how soon Coco needs to start preschool. "I hated school," she says. "I think growing up is hard, and you're in school for so long. Do we have to start that now? I say anything Coco wants to do now is fine." In fact, Cox has yet to spend a night away from her daughter, which is "kind of unhealthy," she says with a laugh. "But I am so nuts about my child."

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