Forget Raymond: Everybody loves Connie Britton, a woman who manages simultaneously to be a role model, a sex symbol, and a dream-BFF for anyone who ever obsessed about Friday Night Lights (read: the whole Internet).
And if you don’t love Connie Britton, chances are you just don’t know much about her yet — which is where the New York Times Magazine‘s new Britton profile comes in. The 3,100-word piece is stuffed with tidbits that prove why Connie’s the best; here are seven of the most notable ones.
1. She was a hair’s breadth away from starring in Jerry Maguire, but Renée Zellweger — an actress profile writer Susan Dominus calls “so tiny and tousled that she looked newly hatched” — ended up just beating out Britton for the part. Her final assessment of why she lost the role? “Maybe I was too tall.”
2. She taught aerobics to the luckiest gym-goers in New York City before she got famous.
3. She needed to do American Horror Story to escape Tami “Mrs. Coach” Taylor’s shadow. “It was perfect,” Britton says of her single season on Ryan Murphy’s gory anthology. “It really helped me shake out any sense of preciousness about the Tami mystique.”
4. She likes working with people who challenge her: “Sometimes my favorite directors are the ones I literally want to punch in the nose.”
5. She’s opinionated about what makes TV good, and she’s not afraid to protest cliched writing. Example: Britton refuses to do “act-outs,” or “those scenes before the commercial in which someone typically storms out of a conversation or out of a restaurant three minutes after being seated.”
6. She’s insulted by the idea that all women over 40 yearn to be younger, mostly because “that’s not even who I represent as an actor… My life started being awesome five years ago.” (Britton’s 45.) She resented all the bloggers and critics who initially referred to her Nashville character as an “aging” country star — EW, too, was guilty there — and hated a scene in the show’s pilot that originally called for her to pull back her cheeks so she could see what she’d look like with a facelift. Naturally, she got the scene changed.
7. She’s only gotten better with age. Specifically, “Let’s put it this way: The older you get, the easier it is to date younger men.” After all, she continues, “there are more of them.” Bless you, Connie Britton.