Mistresses is the televised equivalent of chick flicks and beach reads — just the thing for the hot days of summer. Premiering tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC, the series is about four friends who get themselves into sticky romantic situations, with a cast led by Alyssa Milano, putting memories of her as a Who’s the Boss? cutie pie to rest once and for all.
Milano plays Savannah (“Savi”) Davis, a married lawyer trying — so far, unsuccessfully — to have a baby. Once she begins a steamy affair with a colleague (Jason George), she has to deal with the consequences. “I find her to be really nice person that made a really bad decision and is paying for that,” Milano says of her character. “I love playing women that are flawed. I knew she would be really challenging and fun to play.”
Rounding out the quartet of Mistresses are Yunjin Kim (Lost), Rochelle Aytes (The Forgotten), and Jes Macallan as Savi’s younger sister, Josslyn. “The foundation of the show is the friendship between the women,” Milano says. “No matter what situation we get ourselves into by making some poor choices, we have the support of our friends. If they can’t be the most honest with you, then who can?”
Milano has her own real-life circle of BFFs. “My best friend in the world, for 20 years, is a guy,” she says. “No matter how much it hurts sometimes to hear what he has to say, I think it is vital to growth and being a complete human being.”
The fact that the series shoots close to Milano’s home in Los Angeles and that she can take her 20-month-old son, Milo, with her to work was a big incentive, and so was the large ensemble cast. “That I get to work with all of these great people also means that I get a couple days off a week so I can be with my child,” Milano explains.
Nevertheless, it was an adjustment to go back to work while breastfeeding her infant son. “But I knew that it was an important message for a child to see his mother being fulfilled and productive,” she says. “If it didn’t happen then, I don’t think it would have happened. I would have been a stay-at-home mom for many years.”
Milano turned 40 on December 19, and embraced the milestone. “I always freaked out about birthdays when I felt like I should have been at a different place in my life, but I feel like at this point I can honestly say I’m fulfilled in every aspect,” she says. “I have a job I really like. I have a beautiful son and a wonderful husband. Women are supposed to want it all, and I always did want it all, and now I’ve got it. So I was like, ‘Yay 40!’”
The prom-themed surprise party her husband, David Bugliari, threw for her made the occasion even more special. “I was absolutely stunned and floored,” says Milano, who never attended a prom as a teen. “He had bought 20 ’90s prom dresses at thrift stores for me to choose from and brought them to our hotel room. I got all dressed up and I teased my hair and we went downstairs and danced to ’90s music.” She kept a few of the dresses and donated the rest to charity. Her causes include UNICEF, PETA and charity:water.
While it’s tough to squeeze exercise into her day, Milano keeps fit by waking every morning with her son and doing Pilates and gym workouts when she can. Unlike many child stars, she has good memories of her youth on Who’s the Boss? and isn’t against the idea of her son following in her footsteps. “If it’s something that he wants to do and explore, I think I have to be supportive of that,” she says.