Diane Keaton once said, “There was no love of my life except my mother.” The award-winning actress has starred in some of the most memorable movies ever made, among them “The Godfather” trilogy and “Annie Hall.” Now in a new memoir, she writes about her life off-screen and the bond with her mother that defines them both.
A Devoted Listener
“I used to love to spend time with my mother just sitting across from her at the kitchen counter and telling her about my problems,” Keaton said. Her mother would never judge, but rather, she’d listen and tell Keaton things would be all right. Keaton calls her mother the most active, intense, and devoted listener that she had ever come across in her life. In contrast, Keaton calls her father “a debater” rather than a listener, but as she got older, she says this was a way for her to get to know and enjoy him.
Finding the Journals
Keaton’s mother was always working on a journal, and Keaton found 85 of them. At one point during the 1980s, Keaton’s mother wrote her a letter musing about whether she could write her own memoir. Keaton had an agent at the time, and could have helped her, but did not respond to the letter. “I feel obviously a lot of regret that I was a person who insisted on remaining a daughter and not growing up in relation to my mother,” Keaton said. “It was kinda like she was asking me to be interested in her interests, and I just didn’t take her up on it,” Keaton said.
Becoming a Mother Late in Life
Keaton decided to adopt two children after turning 50. “I didn’t quite manage to find a relationship that had any lasting value,” she said. When she was about 45 years old, her father was diagnosed with brain cancer, and he told her that he had always hated his job and that he wished he had taken more risks. It made her think of all the risks she hadn’t taken, at least in her relationships. “He really was the person who helped me come to a decision about what my life was going to be,” she said. “And I wanted to make a change and I knew that – I knew that I as going to adopt a baby based on that moment with my father.”
Paths Not Taken
Keaton has had many interests outside of acting, including music and designing. “I wanted to be a singer so bad,” Keaton said. She never plays music around her house because, she says, “It just takes you over. It’s the most powerful of all the arts to me.” She has broad tastes in music. “I don’t know if you know Kanye West and Jay-Z…I jog and sing to Jay-Z,” she said.
You can read the full transcript here.