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Regina King's biggest love lesson

By Jill Cox-Cordova, CNN
updated 12:09 PM EDT, Wed September 7, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Southland's" star Regina King says motherhood taught her unconditional love
  • King's been a professional actress since her teens
  • She's afflicted with high blood pressure, the same disease that killed her sister

Editor's note: The CNN Red Chair Interview weekly franchise strives to look at people's past to see what made them who they are today. We also want to know the biggest pivotal and "a-ha" moments in their lives.

New Orleans (CNN) -- How do you balance work with motherhood and your belief in God?

I posed that question to actress Regina King, when she arrived for her Red Chair interview.

"Being honest that sometimes it's not balanced," she responded, her skin flawless, her muscles well-defined.

She elaborated that celebrities are no different than people of other professions. They, too, have to work hard to sync schedules and determine their priorities and their beliefs. Do not put yourself in a box or even label yourself, she said. Juggling is the key to any balancing act.

King took acting lessons from Todd Bridges' mother from 9 to 14. Betty A. Bridges ran an acting school.

That coaching helped the teenaged King land a role in the TV series "227." Her career continued with pivotal roles in films such as "Jerry Maguire," "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," and "Enemy of the State." On the small screen, she's starred in "24" and "Southland."

It was, however, the real-life role of mother that was by far, her "a-ha" moment.

"I get emotional because my son is an amazing young man, and it took me to be a mother for me to realize how incredible of a woman she (my mother) is. You don't know what unconditional love is. You may say you do, but if you don't have a child, you don't know what that is. But when you experience it, it is the most fulfilling ever. So, that is the greatest part about me. Being a mom to Ian."

My question about siblings weighed more heavily. King's sister died from a complication from high blood pressure. King revealed that she and all of her sisters have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

King is one to seek relaxation.

"Are you from here?" the Los Angeles native asked me.

I told her I grew up in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.

She marveled and wondered whether I am always as relaxed as I appeared. She concluded that I was and announced that everyone should grow up in a national park so that they can be as relaxed as me.

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