Best known as Dr. Maria Santos Grey on All My Children (half of the super-couple Edmund and Maria) and as Natalia Boa Vista on CSI: Miami, Eva LaRue has been acting since the age of six and charming millions with her acting chops, radiant smile and upbeat personality.
But now, after a rough couple of years of loss and worry, the 55-year-old Daytime Emmy Award-winner is focusing on spending more time with her daughter, Kaya, enjoying hikes with good friends, cuddling her two dogs and simply enjoying some well-deserved R & R.
Eva LaRue recently sat down with FIRST for Women for an interview for our latest cover (on sale now!) and shared some of her tips for overcoming heartache, relieving stress and simply making yourself a priority. Here is some highlights of had to say.
“Vulnerability makes you strong”
Over the last few years, LaRue has had to deal with more of her fair share of grief. Her father passed away in 2019 and she lost her ex-husband, father to her daughter and fellow All My Children alum, John Callahan, in 2020. And then, just last April, LaRue was struck another blow when she lost her 85 year-old mother.
“It was a horror show,” LaRue admits to First For Women. “It was just loss after loss; it was a struggle.”
When asked if she believes pain makes a person stronger, LaRue said simply…no. “I don’t think pain itself makes us stronger or more resilient, I think pain makes us more vulnerable and strength comes out of that vulnerability,” she explains. “Losing your mother really strips you down to your most childlike self.”
To turn her pain into purpose, LaRue tries to see heartache as an opportunity to be gentle with herself. “It’s a chance to really self soothe and be merciful with yourself and to have an opportunity to heal any leftover mother wounds,” she adds. “I think when you’re sitting in that vulnerability you really have that opportunity to build that strength going forward.”
Another way LaRue nurtured her hurting heart was sharing stories with loved ones about her mother. “I heard amazing childhood stories from my aunts that I’d never heard before,” she says with a smile. “I was getting a fuller perspective of my mom based on other peoples perspective of her which I really loved. So much laughter and healing that came out of that.”
“Miracles show up big and small”
To to cultivate peace and fight stress, LaRue also relies heavily on gratitude. “That’s something I’ve had to put into practice daily. Every morning before I get out of bed, I give gratitude and thanks. I feel like it’s a prayer for me,” she says. “I just look for miracles and they do show up big and small. It could be just finding a parking space. More pieces of life’s puzzles come together for me.”
Recently, LaRue experienced her own small miracle when she opened her prayer book and found a handwritten note in the back…it was a letter from her mom. “It was amazing sitting there and reading a story about my faith from my mom.”
One major blessing that happened for LaRue and her daughter last year, was an example of life imitating art: After 12 years of harassing and stalking LaRue and her daughter via threatening letters and phone calls, the perpetrator was caught sentenced to three years in prison.
The kicker? Authorities used DNA left on a discarded straw to place him, leading to his arrest. On CSI: Miami, Eva’s character played a DNA analyst who conducted work similar to the one used to solve her own stalking case. “DNA, oddly enough, has just played such an interesting role in my life in so many ways,” she says.
The ground-breaking forensic genetic genealogy used to catch LaRue’s stalker, which uses DNA databases to match people, helped solve the legendary Golden State Killer case. LaRue’s case was only the second investigation conducted using this program.
In addition, her story is in the infant stages of being developed into a scripted show and documentary.
“We don’t have to earn self-care”
LaRue admits that she and many of her girlfriends are guilty of this: “Instead of making self-care a priority, we consider it a luxury and that’s a bad way to look at it,” she admits. “Most women put other things first.
“We’ll have plans for a ‘me’ day then make 87 excuses why we’re running around the house picking up dog poop, cleaning out a closet – instead of doing the self-care we had planned. For some reason we think we’re not allowed to care for ourselves unless we’ve done our to-do list.”
She also catches herself and other women believing you have to earn it. “We make self care a luxury thing and think we have to be worthy of it,” she sighs. “I want to take the worthiness out of self-care. When I think that way I ask myself, ‘Why do I have to work for a self-care day?'”
“I really need to build self care into everyday. Just taking a walk, being in nature or daily time out – that is on my list of things to stop doing is to stop luxurizing self care and prioritize self care.”
We’re right there with you, Eva LaRue!
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Bonnie Siegler is an established international writer covering the celebrity circuit for more than 15 years. Bonnie’s resume includes two books that combine her knowledge of entertaining with celebrity health and fitness and has written travel stories which focus on sustainable living. She has contributed to magazines including Woman’s World and First for Women, Elle, InStyle, Shape, TV Guide and Viva. Bonnie served as West Coast Entertainment Director for Rive Gauche Media overseeing the planning and development of print and digital content. She has also appeared on entertainment news shows Extra and Inside Edition.