Jenna Dewan Wants To Enjoy It This Time

How the actor and dancer is approaching her third — and final, she says — pregnancy.

Written by Doree Shafrir

“I’ve just entered the second trimester, and I feel alive again,” Jenna Dewan says as we sit down at a cafe in Los Angeles on a recent afternoon. It’s sunny but chilly, and Dewan — who has just come from Pilates — is wearing a long black wool coat and carrying a large leather tote bag. Just a few minutes earlier, as we were waiting in line to order our food, she had seemed to be strategically placing said tote bag in front of her stomach, in the time-honored tradition of secretly pregnant Hollywood actors.

After all, Jenna Dewan knows the deal. She is pregnant with her third child — her second with partner Steve Kazee, a longtime Broadway actor and producer — and shooting her fourth season of the long-running ABC procedural The Rookie. At 43, she’s been in the entertainment industry for more than two decades, after getting her start as a dancer on Janet Jackson’s tour and her big break in 2006’s Step Up, the iconic dance movie where she also met her ex-husband, Channing Tatum. She’s managed to crack some kind of Hollywood actor code, the one where you have the steady day job on a network and your own production company (Everheart Productions), but you also have the freedom to go to Pilates on your off days and, perhaps most importantly, time to support your 10-year-old daughter’s nascent Irish dance career. (More on that later.)

Anna October dress, Max Mara coat, Stylist’s own earrings, On right hand: Louise Olsen x Dinosaur Designs ring, On left hand: Dewan’s own ring

Right now, though, Dewan is just happy she can eat a plate of scrambled eggs and lime tortilla chips without feeling nauseous — and that she’s having this baby when the world isn’t locked down. She gave birth to her son, Callum, in March 2020, just a few weeks after she and Kazee got engaged (“We’re professionally engaged,” she jokes of their nearly four-year engagement) and the week before the world shut down thanks to Covid. “It was wild to be postpartum at the same time as all those changes in the world,” she says. “Then also having all that downtime to really nest, but then also being afraid.”

Callum is Kazee’s first child, and Dewan visibly brightens when she talks about how the actor, age 48, has taken to fatherhood. “He’s so naturally domestic and nurturing, and he’s so loving, and he’s funny, and he’s really… he’s just incredible,” she says. “It’s one of those things where people just have a natural ability for parenting. I’m so excited to see him with a little baby again.”

Mugler dress, Negative bra, CUUP underwear, Mateo earrings, Louise Olsen x Dinosaur Designs silver rings, Dewan’s own gold ring
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She didn’t get nearly the same nesting experience after Everly’s birth, which took place in London because she had joined Tatum there while he was shooting Jupiter Ascending. Dewan had planned a water birth and was meeting weekly with Dr. Marie Gowri Motha, author of The Gentle Birth Method, to help prepare for the birth. But when it came, she ended up having a C-section. Dewan recalls, “It was the number one moment of going ‘Oh, we’re really not in control here.’”

Dewan went back to work on Witches of East End six weeks later, flying back and forth to Vancouver. “I don’t know if I’d say that was advisable,” she says. “That was hard on me. It was hard to be thrown into call times and still be in the throes of postpartum. It was also my first baby.” Witches was a brand-new show with a complicated shooting schedule. “It was amazing, but it was also really difficult. That’s why I was really spoiled with Callum, that whole year to do nothing.”

Dewan wears a Mugler dress and Mateo earrings.

For this baby, she’s not sure how much time she’ll be able to take off. It partly hinges on whether The Rookie gets a seventh season. On that show Dewan plays Bailey Nune, a firefighter with the Los Angeles Fire Department who’s dating John Nolan (Nathan Fillion), a.k.a. the titular “rookie.” Bailey is a kind of the ultimate tough-but-sexy character — she also happens to be a lieutenant in the Army Reserve, and she teaches capoeira. She’s a survivor, someone who’s had to navigate being one of a few women in the LAFD. Crucially, from the perspective of a working parent juggling two (and soon to be three) kids’ schedules, The Rookie is one of the few remaining network shows that gets a full 22-episode order each season.

Dewan with Kazee, Everly, and Callum.@jennadewan
@jennadewan
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“It’s a well-oiled machine,” Dewan says of the show. Working while pregnant has been “exhausting,” she says, “but also amazing. It helps balance my mind. And The Rookie is truly the most dreamy, incredible job. Everyone is so lovely. It’s really fun, and it’s easy, and it flows, and so I think that’s a big part of why it’s easy for me to work pregnant. I’ve been on other sets that are obviously a lot more difficult. So I love it. You’re tired, but when is a mom not tired?”

Still, Dewan acknowledges that at 43, with two children already, her pregnancy and postpartum experience might be different than it was her first time at 32. “I’m not sure the body necessarily gets right back into action the way it did years ago. We’ll see,” she says. “I’ll report back, but I do think there’s a bit of ignorance, this dancer in me that just says ‘OK, well, you just get it done.’ I’ve recovered great every time, but I’m open to whatever happens.”

Mugler dress, Negative bra, CUUP underwear, Louise Olsen x Dinosaur Designs silver ring, Dewan’s own gold ring, Giuseppe Zanotti shoes

On Instagram, where Dewan has more than 9 million followers, her bio reads: “Mother, Actress, Producer, Dancer, Designer, Dog Lover, & Believer in Magic.” The “believer in magic” part is very real — in her 2019 book, Gracefully You, Dewan describes how she has an altar in her home, she reads her oracle cards daily, and left gifts under Everly’s fairy tree in the backyard. “I’m such a woo-woo, witchy girl,” Dewan says. “I always have been. I love it. To me, it’s a really big tool for presence and coming back to my center and grounding, and it’s just something that works for me to sort of stay connected to something greater than myself.” She says she wasn’t raised especially religious, but recalls that “I was the kid that went to one year of Catholic school and loved it. I came home loving the prayers; I loved the mythology of it, the Mass.”

She shares her love of magic with Everly, who expanded her affection for fairies and folklore into a passion for Irish dance, which started when she discovered a fantasy YouTube channel and heard Irish music. “Then Steve actually showed her Riverdance, and she thought that was so cool, and then she and I watched an animated movie called Riverdance, and for whatever reason, at the end of the movie, she said, ‘Mom, I want to do this.’”

Anna October dress, Louise Olsen x Dinosaur Designs ring

Once Everly decided to pursue Irish dance, things happened quickly. “It went from zero to 60,” Dewan says. “She started off with one Saturday class, and now we’re there four or five times a week, especially before a feis, which is a competition.”

Dewan shares that perhaps surprisingly — considering that Everly’s parents are two of the most famous dancers in Hollywood — the 10-year-old had previously been indifferent to learning dance. “I’m in interviews talking about how ‘Oh, she definitely doesn’t have the dance gene!’” Dewan laughs. “Be careful what you say, because then here she is, winning competitions and proving me completely wrong.”

Tae Park top, Max Mara pants, Joanna Laura Constantine earrings, Louise Olsen x Dinosaur Designs rings, On left ring finger: Dewan’s own ring

For Dewan, who started dancing at age 5, Everly’s embrace of Irish dance has been a bit of a full-circle moment. “I'm a dance mom in a random hotel ballroom around the world, rehearsing her at 6 in the morning. I said, ‘How am I doing this?’” It’s also led to some sweet co-parenting moments with Tatum, as both parents and their partners have been spotted at Everly’s performances in the last year, most recently at an Irish restaurant in September.

Dewan with each of her children.@jennadewan
@jennadewan
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Co-parenting is a puzzle of logistics and emotion for every family, even without the added challenges of high-profile, international careers, and Dewan is careful with her words when I ask about what that’s like. “It’s always a journey,” she says. “It never ends. You just learn as you go and get better at certain things, and for me, Evie will always be my top priority. I just continually put her first. That’s how I can manage all hard things.” Being away from her daughter while Everly was with Tatum, particularly after having her second child, was difficult for Dewan. “In the beginning, that was really tough,” she says. “And it was definitely hard on her in the beginning, too, but she’s gotten into a flow with that a lot more. But she loves Callum. She really adores him.”

Mugler top, Brother Vellies boots, Louise Olsen x Dinosaur Designs rings

For his part, Callum is anticipating the arrival of his sibling in the way that most 3-year-olds do — that is, by asking unintentionally hilarious questions. “[I told him] when the baby is ready, the baby comes out. And he’s like, ‘I want the baby right now. Can you just pull it out of your mouth?’ Steve and I died laughing. I said, ‘I wish, baby. That would be amazing if we could pull it out my mouth. But no, it definitely goes a different way.’”

She and Kazee have decided not to find out the sex of the baby ahead of time. And because it’s her last child, she’s feeling a little wistful. “You don’t race to the end because this is the last time,” she says. “So there’s a bit of joy and a little sadness. I’m really trying to enjoy it all and not try to just get through the days.”

She takes a sip of her tea. “I really love being a mom,” she says. “That’s something I knew my whole life, but I really know it now.”

Top image credits: Tae Park top, Max Mara pants, Louise Olsen x Dinosaur Designs rings, On left ring finger: Dewan’s own ring

Photographs by Austin Hargrave

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