Monica Potter is a dedicated actress, as any Parenthood fan can attest to, but when it came time for the 41-year-old actress to shave her head for her role as cancer-stricken mom Kristina Braverman, her 7-year-old daughter wouldn't let her go through with it.
"They asked me to but I said no," Potter told Us Weekly at the Entertainment Weekly Pre-SAG Party on Saturday, Jan. 26. "My daughter would have been freaked out. I thought about it but my Molly said, 'Mommy, don't do that.' She said, 'You don’t have to do that, just wear a bald cap.'"
"My niece has cancer so I just thought I would do it," she revealed, "but it's a weird thing for me when actresses shave their heads for roles. I feel like if I'm not going through it, it's almost, for me, a gimmick, like, 'Look, she is so brave she shaved her hair.' There are women who are going through that and I just didn't want to, you know…"
Potter shares Molly with husband Daniel Christopher Allison, and is also mom to two sons, Daniel, 22, and Liam, 18, from a previous marriage.
On the hit NBC show, Potter plays Kristina, who helms the Braverman household despite juggling everything from a son with Asperger's syndrome and a newborn baby. When the Braverman matriarch first breaks the news of her diagnosis to her family during a post-Little League lunch, she keeps a brave face on even as her family becomes distraught.
Potter explained to the Los Angeles Times in a recent interview that the cancer storyline was a tough one to handle but one that she very much wanted to do -- especially since she herself had a breast cancer scare back in April.
"You never think it can happen to you," she told the paper of her own experience. "With my friends who have gone through it, and they were in remission and came back -— that to me was so poignant because this is happening and it's real. It’s not just a toothache. It lingers, and it can always take a turn for the better or for the worse."
But knowing people in her life -- and fans -- are going through the pains of dealing with the disease has helped Potter in her portrayal, she told Us.
"My friend Cindy was going through it and it's just terrible. It's awful and just to hear their stories make you work harder and push harder to do a better job and portray what they are going through without exploiting it," she said. "That's what I didn't want to do."
Potter has since been declared cancer-free after doctors ruled her real-life growth to be a cyst, and the actress has been vocally grateful that the scare didn't escalate to something more serious.
"Size 8 is great! That is my new motto," she told Us. "I was a 14 and 6 and 12. I think it's healthy. I like to eat, drink and be merry!"