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LOS ANGELES (AP) — For Edie Falco, the stigma surrounding older actresses is nothing more than Hollywood folklore. In fact, the 50-year-old says life has never been sweeter.

"It continues to get better and more rewarding and fuller and more confident and all these things that I kind of never realized how much I had longed for until I had them," Falco said in a recent interview. "I feel like it's an ideal time to, I don't know, to be me."

After six seasons of playing mob wife Carmela on HBO's "The Sopranos," Falco now plays Jackie Peyton, an ER nurse addicted to prescription drugs, on Showtime's "Nurse Jackie" (Sunday, 9 p.m. EDT). Season six finds Jackie in the throes of relapse.

"I was as heartbroken as everybody else that she took that pill at the end of the (last) season," she said. "I'm also grateful that we're portraying it (addiction) the way it really is, which is irrational and so often disappointing."

Falco, a recovering alcoholic with 20 years sobriety, said portraying Jackie's downward spiral has been helpful to her recovery.

"If it's anything, it's therapeutic," she said. "Rather than making me want to (relapse) it makes me even more solidly planted. ... And also just reminds me, thank god, I'm not there. I'm not going through this. I'm not waking up the morning after anymore."

Falco, who has won four Emmys and two Golden Globes, said her main focus is on her children, Anderson, 9, and Macy, 6.


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And she said that with age and motherhood comes a sense of confidence that was missing during the heyday of "The Sopranos."

"What I'm sure is that if I don't work forever I'll be fine either way," she said. "I've kind of my whole life hoped to one day feel the way I do right now, which is that everything is going to be fine."

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Online:

http://www.sho.com/sho/nurse-jackie/home

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