Jamie-Lynn Sigler Recalls the “Big Lesson” Sopranos Star James Gandolfini Taught Her: Watch

HuffPost Live logo

Jamie-Lynn Sigler sat down with HuffPost Live on Monday, Nov. 23, to discuss how working on The Sopranos changed her life for the better. The actress, 34, recalled the “big lesson” that late costar James Gandolfini taught her on set and also discussed how the show’s executives helped her fight an eating disorder.

“I’ve been very blessed to work with a lot of great people, but I’d say James Gandolfini [inspired me the most]” Sigler said. “I did an episode in the first season called ‘College’ where he took my character on the road to see a bunch of colleges, and it was my first real big episode.”

Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano on the HBO crime drama, died at the age of 51 after suffering a heart attack in Rome in June 2013.

James Gandolfini and Jamie-Lynn Sigler
James Gandolfini and Jamie-Lynn Sigler Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

“He just taught me how to improv a little bit, and he taught me to trust my instincts,” Sigler recalled. “He taught me how to ask for another take if I needed another one. He really taught me how to have my confidence on set and that my opinion mattered, as well, and it just wasn’t always about getting directed.”

PHOTOS: Stars Gone Too Soon

The actress then called Gandolfini her “biggest inspiration,” adding, “[He taught me] that I could be part of this collaboration. That was a big lesson for me to learn, and I was very grateful for it.”

“The one feeling that I always can remember about James is [that] he could walk in a room and if I didn’t even see him, I knew he was there,” she said. “You just felt like everything is going to be okay.”

James Gandolfini, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler
James Gandolfini, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler in 2000 Scott Gries/ImageDirect via Getty Images

However, Gandolfini wasn’t the only source of inspiration for Sigler. She also told HuffPost Live that the executives on The Sopranos, which ran for six seasons from 1999 to 2007, helped her fight an eating disorder that she thought she would never overcome.

“They asked me to put on weight,” she revealed. “They were concerned for my health, and they didn’t feel I was the picture of a girl that lived in an Italian household and ate pasta all the time. So they were big catalysts in me taking a step back and realizing the issue.”

PHOTOS: Best and Worst Movie Remakes

Sigler elaborated that she wasn’t always open about her eating disorder because there wasn’t as much social awareness back then as there is today.

“When I went through my eating disorder, it wasn’t about trying to be a certain size or shape,” she said. “It was about control.”

Watch the full HuffPost Live interview with Jamie-Lynn Sigler to see the actress discuss more about The Sopranos, her new Hallmark movie, The Christmas Note, and how she celebrated her bachelorette bash with *N Sync singer Lance Bass.

Have a question you’d like to ask a celebrity? Check out who will be appearing on HuffPost Live and submit your question to be asked live on-air!

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!