Now a mom in real life, Sarah Chalke is moving back in with hers on her new show.After years of co-starring in ensemble comedies, Sarah Chalke is finally getting the chance to headline her own sitcom, ABC’s How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life). The show stars Chalke as a single mom who moves back in with her long-suffering parents, played by Brad Garrett and Elizabeth Perkins. But just because she’s playing the lead, don’t assume the 36-year-old actress has positioned herself as the center of attention on set. That role would belong to her 3-year-old son, Charlie.
“He loves coming to work — he just does not know what to do about Brad,” says Chalke, referring to her 6-foot-8-inch co-star. “The second Charlie sees him, he runs up and wraps his arms around Brad’s leg, just climbing him.”
Chalke admits that Charlie isn’t the only one a little obsessed with Garrett, who formerly starred on Everybody Loves Raymond. “I have to literally stop takes because I’ll snort with laughter,” she says. “I can’t get through a single take if Brad is looking at me. He’s just that funny.”
Some would say the same about Chalke. The Ottawa, Ontario, native cut her comedy teeth with Roseanne Barr and John Goodman as the petulant and pretty Becky on Roseanne. “Second Becky,” corrects Chalke, who famously replaced Alicia Goranson in a controversial recasting. “That was my nickname on Scrubs. They’d just say: ‘Second Becky on set!’ That’s seriously how they referred to me.”
Her Scrubs stint, as Dr. Elliot Reid, was followed by roles in short-lived sitcoms like Mad Love and guest spots on How I Met Your Mother and Cougar Town. Now with a show of her own and a family to balance, Chalke (who’s engaged to Charlie’s father, entertainment lawyer Jamie Afifi) admits that her working life has definitely changed — for the messier. “I’m always walking into work with spit-up all over my shirt,” she laughs. “There’s no use trying to fight it. It’s just inevitable.”
When she’s not working, she’s either whipping up Thai green curry (her specialty) or dreaming of trips she can take Charlie on. The travel bug comes from her own childhood, as her parents have run the Vancouver-based Sunrise Adoption agency since 1997, which meant frequent trips to China, Thailand and other faraway places for Chalke and her two sisters.
“It gave us a really unique perspective on how the majority of the world lives,” Chalke says. “That’s definitely something that I want to give to my kid.”