Over the summer, Kate Hudson Instagrammed a photo of herself lounging on a beach with a copy of the book of essays All About Love propped on her bare thigh. Written in 2000 by feminist scholar bell hooks, these meditations on love and solitude would seem more at home in a Fem Theory class than in a celebrity's bikini selfie. But Hudson is a living example of a quote in the book: "The word 'love' is most often defined as a noun, yet…we would all love better if we used it as a verb."
Hudson loves as a verb—actively, consciously. She cuddles and cooks with her sons, Ryder, 12, and Bingham, 5; meditates with her mom, Goldie Hawn; and has an open-door policy for her oldest girlfriends, who regularly come over to her L.A.house for impromptu hangouts.
"Kate knows how to get everyone to talk about everything," says jewelry designer Jennifer Meyer, whose father was Hawn's agent and who has been friends with Hudson since elementary school. "We know about the kids, every fight you've been in with the husband, every breakup, your ex's girlfriends. You don't get out of there without telling her every deepest, darkest secret."
Bringing people together is one of Hudson's talents, but she also craves alone time. "I love locking myself in rooms and just being quiet," says the 37-year-old actress. "A lot of people have a hard time in that space, because when you're quiet, you feel the uncomfortable things. You have to actually look at things in your life that are functioning or not functioning. And I like that place."
Here, a few highlights from our interview, in our October issue on newsstands September 20:
On the end of relationships: "I think forgiveness is the biggest part of it…I think everybody wants to point fingers. If you are a person who takes responsibility for yourself and your part in it, you have a much better chance of maintaining a nice relationship. It also means that you grow up. A lot of people don't want to grow up because it sucks."
On being a working single mother: "I don't try to sugarcoat things. I'll say, 'I'm doing the best I can.' I like cooking, I like presenting. I like it to be an experience and [my kids] help me with it, but if they want something after that, I'll be like, 'Look, I'm placing a meal out for you like a king. I can't do everything. I'm going to have to be the OK mom.'"
On Hillary Clinton and the upcoming election: "There's so much focus on her likability. I want to elect a president to get the job done. When she took the stage, I got incredibly emotional. As a woman, and as a working mom trying to get things done, you find yourself meeting adversity a lot, but you never talk about it because you don't want to bring attention to it. You don't want to go there."
On her relationships: "The reason I don't talk about anything like that is because I have kids. People ask that question as if, 'Oh yeah, it's really healthy to publicly talk about who I am or am not dating when I've got a tween.' [Ryder] can read, and he can hear. I'm not going to indulge in that kind of thing until there's someone in my life who I am introducing to my kids."
On her interest in wellness: "It was always part of our life. My mom's [Goldie Hawn] passion is about finding joy. Even in difficult moments, she has this joy of life. And I feel the same way."
On the backlash against actresses being lifestyle entrepreneurs: "If you don't want to get criticized, do nothing. I would love to be able to pass on to the next generation the need to stop judging everybody so much. You don't have to like it. You don't have to buy it."
Read the full interview and see more pics in the October issue of Marie Claire, on newsstands September 20. And for a little behind-the-scenes action to hold you over, see more of Hudson at her cover shoot here:
Featured Music: Disco Despair - "You Are Girl" (ft. Jeremey David); Courtesy of Youth Control