TV

Teresa Palmer is preparing for a new chapter – and it all starts at home

“I’m learning to go with the flow and enjoy doing what I love”

By Tamara Cullen

Gorgeous, talented and business- savvy – Teresa Palmer is hot property in Hollywood at the moment. But instead of hitting the audition circuit every other week or fighting for the limelight, the Aussie actress is embracing her most valued role to date: motherhood.

Speaking to TV WEEK from her home in Los Angeles, the 32-year-old is counting the days until she and husband Mark Webber welcome the arrival of their first daughter.

The mother-of-three – Bodhi, four, Forest, two, and 10-year-old stepson Isaac – recently announced she's expecting on her social media account.

"We're over the moon," she says excitedly. "I almost fell out of my chair when the doctors told me [it was a girl]. I thought, 'What? We don't have girls.' Mark was overwhelmed and burst into tears, so it was a big shock for us."

Despite having a well-travelled brood, the South Australian plans to return home for the birth.

"The good news is she will be an Aussie baby," Teresa says. "We'll come back for a while and she'll be born in Adelaide."

Teresa with her husband Mark Webber.
Teresa with her husband Mark Webber.

It's been a steady rise in Tinseltown for Teresa, with notable roles in December Boys, Warm Bodies and Hacksaw Ridge – to name just a few – and the occasional modelling gig. In 2019, she is also set to star as female jockey Michelle Payne in the Australian biopic Ride Like A Girl.

But in a surprising admission, Teresa reveals how becoming a mother instantly took away the niggling pressures of Hollywood. Today, her acting career is somewhat of an "afterthought" to her family.

"It's not like what it was in my 20s – it [acting] is not the be-all and end-all for me now," she explains.

"I've always wanted children and thought, 'OK, I'll just deal with how it affects my career. I don't put my stock or happiness into how my career is progressing anymore – it's liberating."

That's not to say she isn't passionate about her job.

Teresa is currently starring in the hit supernatural series A Discovery of Witches alongside British actor Matthew Goode. The cult series, based on the popular books by Deborah Harkness, sees her play Diana, a reluctant witch forced to accept her fate when she's threatened by evil forces.

With such a huge fan base around the world, Teresa admits she was nervous to take on such a beloved character. Suddenly, those niggling fears began to creep back in.

"I felt some self-pressure because I wanted to make sure I was portraying this character as she is in the book," Teresa says. "But I felt an incredible support from the fans, so I trusted my instincts and went with it."

Matthew Goode and Teresa in *A Discovery of Witches.*
Matthew Goode and Teresa in A Discovery of Witches.

Should she ever need advice from those in the supernatural world, however, her best friend Phoebe Tonkin is never far away. The fellow Aussie actress has starred in two hit paranormal series, The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.

"Ahead of my chemistry read [audition] for the show, Phoebe sent me a text that said, 'From one good witch to another,'" she recalls.

"It was such a beautiful thing to receive in that moment and gave me confidence to become Diana."

Teresa with Bella Heathcote (left) and Phoebe Tonkin.
Teresa with Bella Heathcote (left) and Phoebe Tonkin.

Regardless of whether she's the lead actress or a supporting character, Teresa says she plans to choose roles in the future that will allow her to work around her family commitments.

"There seems to be a real movement towards embracing working mothers," she says.

"It's about making sure there's an environment where women can nurture their relationship with their children and also be passionate about their livelihood and career.

"It's so important to me, and it also means I don't have to choose."

As for the next chapter, Teresa is likely to have her hands full – literally! But it's safe to say she's more than ready to embrace the challenge.

"I've never felt better in terms of where I'm at in my career and the balance of being a mum," she says.

"I lead with my heart and stay focused on my family. I'm learning to just go with the flow and simply enjoy doing what I love. It's beautiful."

A Discovery of Witches airs Thursday, 8.30pm (AEDT), on FOX8.

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