Sept. 4, 2013 -- For years, Michelle Pfeiffer was a sex symbol in Hollywood, but she's glad those days are behind her.
" Having to watch yourself age on a giant movie screen is simply not natural. It can wreak havoc on your psyche," Pfeiffer, 55, told Ladies Home Journal in its October issue. "Once you get over a certain hump there actually is less pressure [to look a certain way]. You can begin to look great for your age. You don't have to look young anymore. I've moved over to that other side—I'm 55, which is a little too close to 60, but looking great for my age is okay now."
" My dermatologist said to me once, 'You know that 10X magnifying mirror that you have in the bathroom? Throw it away'," she added. "It was the best advice anybody ever gave me. Of course, now my eyes are weaker and I can't see to put my makeup on without that mirror!"
Another beauty secret, Pfeiffer said, is her vegan diet, which caused her cholesterol to go down 83 points in two months. She also hits the gym five days per week, running and lifting free weights.
"But I haven't always been healthy," "The Family" star admitted. "When I was in my 20s I smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. I lived on Marlboro Lights and Coca-Cola."
That was a lifetime ago. When she was in her 40s, Pfeiffer and her writer-producer husband, David E. Kelley, packed up their two children, Claudia Rose, now 20, and John, now 19, and moved from Hollywood to the San Francisco area. The actress also took a break from acting to raise her brood.
"The toughest thing for me has been balancing being a working mom. I learned early on that you can have it all but you can't do it all," she said. "I sacrificed some things in my work to be a better parent—but I also sacrificed some parenting in order to do what I love."
When she's not acting, Pfeiffer said that she's happy painting portraits at home. Now that both of her kids are in college, she's trying to think of new hobbies.
"Besides working a little more, I don't know what we'll do. It's scary, but it's also exciting to think about," she said. "Once I get past the shock of having an empty nest, I'm going to be really happy with my newfound freedom."