Connie Britton’s fans know (hey y’all!) that there are already plenty of reasons to adore her. The Nashville star continuously plays intriguing, inspiring women who aren’t afraid to speak their mind. Now, we can’t wait to see what she does next. [SPOILER!] Connie, 50, recently left the country music drama, after her character, Rayna Jaymes, died in hospital midway through the show’s fifth season.
“There were so many emotions, so many different feelings about it,” she recently told Kelly Ripa and guest co-host Jerry O’Connell on Live with Kelly. “It was hard. That’s my family. That’s been my Nashville family. I loved playing that role.” Not only is she kicking off a new chapter in her career this month, Connie also rang in her milestone 50th birthday on Mar. 6. To celebrate, we’re rounding up six reasons why she’s a boss both onscreen and off.
She’s part of one of TV’s greatest married couples
If you haven’t watched Friday Night Lights, it’s never too late to binge-watch it (trust us). The series about a fictional small town in Texas and its high school football team is worth your time because Connie and Kyle Chandler are pure #relationshipgoals. As the high school football coach’s wife, Tami Taylor, she called him out, cheered him on and supported him no matter what. In her role as the school guidance counselor – and eventual principal – Tami encouraged female students to set their sights beyond the town's borders.
She stands up for what she believes in
In her role as U.N. Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador, the movie and TV star has welcomed refugees to Nashville. She also supports the #AskHerMore campaign, which encourages reporters to ask women about things other than their appearance on the red carpet. During the Sundance Film Festival, Connie joined stars like Chelsea Handler and Charlize Theron in the Women’s March in Park City.
"Don’t think that feminism is something that you don’t need or something that could be threatening,” she has said. “Look at what it’s created already and look at what it can continue to create."
She started a family on her own terms
In 2011, Connie adopted her son Yoby (a nickname for Eyob) from Ethiopia. When he isn’t in kindergarten in Nashville, he’s travelling with his mom (The pair even went skiing during this year’s Sundance Film Festival). She recently revealed that he had several parties to celebrate his sixth birthday in January. “He’s very popular,” she says.
Happy Mother's Day! Today I have been thinking a lot about my son's birth mother - quite possibly the greatest hero of my life. And of so many women around the world mothering under extreme and adverse circumstances. Being a mother is the dearest gift, the greatest journey, the wisest teacher, and the most difficult work in any lifetime. It should be a choice. And with that choice should come respect and support within every community and culture in the world. All mothers feel love. All mothers feel despair. All mothers feel deep responsibility, and with that, sometimes failure and sometimes fulfillment. We should worship them and forgive them. And lift them up as the queens they are. So says me. ;) I hope everyone is having a beautiful day and feeling the blessing of their own creation.
She’s not defined by her relationship status
Connie’s never been one to divulge who she’s dating. While she has said that she’d like Yoby to someday have a father figure in his life, finding one isn’t her focus. In 2013, she told the New York Times’ T Magazine: “Let’s put it this way: The older you get, the easier it is to date younger men … There are more of them.”
She steals scenes in small roles
Critics hailed Connie’s part in the 2014 dramedy This Is Where I Leave You as one of the movie’s highlights. She joined the star-studded cast as Tracy, Phillip’s (Adam Driver) former therapist and fiancée. Two years later, she played The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Faye Resnick in two episodes of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. In her brief appearance, she was mourning her friend one minute, and pushing her scandalous tell-all Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted the next.
Thank you Rayna Jaymes. For your magic and your dignity. And thank you to all the creators of Rayna Jaymes, for there were many. Callie Khouri, who gave her life. Deacon, Maddie, Daphne, who shaped her as her family. Teddy, Tandy, Lamar too. Juliette, Scarlett, Bucky and the ones who crafted her into a business woman. Along with countless other compatriots and combatants. And then of course the crew of “Nashville" who brought her to life, every crew member in every department who made Rayna live each week. And then there’s the music. T Bone, Buddy, Tim, Frankie and all the brilliant songwriters who gave Rayna a voice. There was no music, and no Rayna, without you. But finally and most importantly, the fans. You made Rayna. You supported her and loved her and gave her inspiration just as she was able to inspire you. You were the energy source, the power behind her heart and soul and life. Rayna lived for you. And, from the depths of my heart, I thank you, for her and for me. It has been an honor to be a part of that creation. And as I know she would want it, the show must, and will go on. Long live Rayna Jaymes. #RIPRayna #NashvilleCMT
She’s always up for a challenge
After Friday Night Lights ended, Connie surprised fans by joining the first season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story. The following year, she signed on to do something even scarier – play Nashville’s reigning queen of country music. “The thing that was exciting about this for me was the singing,” she said during an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “As an actor, I wanted to do something that really scared the heck out of me.” She told the hilarious host that even five seasons later, “It scares me every single time.”