Connie Britton shocked fans when she announced in November 2011 that she had adopted a son, Yoby, from Ethiopia. In the September 2013 issue of Ladies' Home Journal, the 46-year-old Nashville star admits that she was just as surprised by her decision to become a single parent.
"I didn't think I'd have a baby on my own. But there's a lot that comes out of having a plan and then seeing that there's another way you can go," says Britton, who was married to college sweetheart John Britton from 1991 to 1995. "If you hold hard and fast to the plan regardless of where you're at, then you go against the flow of your life. Even after a long, difficult day, coming home and being with Yoby just washes any stress away."
Of course, the Virginia-raised star has always been a risk taker. "I did go to college far from home [Dartmouth, in New Hampshire] in a place where I didn't know anyone. And I decided to major in Chinese and study in China the summer after my freshman year," Britton recalls. "When I look back on it, I guess I've always wanted to live outside the box."
Britton's bravery was put to the test once again when she was cast as country singer Rayna James on ABC's Nashville in 2012. The role required the actress to sing in front of an audience -- something she'd never done before. "I'm a believer in pushing yourself outside your comfort zone -- that's what keeps us feeling alive," she tells the magazine. "But I also believe that when you're facing fear, it's helpful to create a safety net. For me that's working with people who support me."
The Friday Night Lights alum adds, "I think the forties are a time when you can sit back into who you are and what you've learned. I'm able to challenge myself more because I have a stronger sense of who I am and what I can do."