Sarah Rafferty delights in playing a mom of 11 on My Life with the Walter Boys: ‘I love the chaos’

Sarah Rafferty delights in playing a mom of 11 on My Life with the Walter Boys: ‘I love the chaos’

There’s a love triangle at the heart of My Life with the Walter Boys, but the new hit Netflix series is really a story about family.

Sarah Rafferty — who plays Katherine Walter, the show’s matriarch to a bustling household of nine boys and two girls — says she was “drawn” to the role in part because of her own identity as a mother of two, but also because of the character’s “humanity.”

“Katherine’s so different, so that is something that really appealed to me. I also am a proud mom in my real life. My life revolves entirely around my children at this point in my life, and Katherine’s does too,” Rafferty, 51, tells PEOPLE of her decision to join the series.

The opportunity to work with a slew of young and fresh actors was another draw. “I was so excited to work with younger actors at the beginning of their career. I can’t even tell you how lovely that is.”

The 15-year-old at the heart of the story, Jackie (Nikki Rodriguez) — who is left an orphan and relocates to live on the Walter’s ranch in Colorado — along with her two love interests — brothers Alex (Ashby Gentry) and Cole Walter (Noah LaLonde) — are among the fresh crop of actors that Rafferty is delighted to have as costars.

“For me, that was an energy that I treasured, and they filled me up in a way that I didn’t know I needed,” she says. “I guess that sounds sappy, but it’s really kind of true. They were so easy to fall in love with.”

Scenes with the 11 kids and her on-screen husband, George (Marc Blucas) were her favorites. “I loved the group scenes, the chaos of the group scenes, and the challenge of finding the points of focus in that — which is a very real challenge as a busy mom anyway.”

Some of the “group scenes” were among the first she shot when she joined the cast on set a month late — she was delayed due to filming conflicts on Chicago Med — and she says she loved joining in on the action.

“That was kind of amazing, to have to jump into this familiarity,” Rafferty shares. It was “challenging,” though, too, but she once again applauds her costars for bearing their share of the weight.

“Whenever I got a one-on-one scene with each one of these actors, it’s just like they made my heart beat because they’re so grounded and so open and so spontaneous and generous. It really was just so wonderful.”

The Suits alum recalls one scene in particular where she held Rodriguez’s hand “and I was like, ‘Oh, we both feel safe here.’ It was just so easy. We just suddenly had this familial vibe.”

She calls the show’s 21-year-old lead “the greatest” as she raves that their instant chemistry “just speaks to, again, who she is and how available she is as an actress, how available her heart is.”

“She made it like I didn’t have to do any work. I just had to look in her eyes and just be present.”

The impressive performance of her on-screen kids helped her manage the overall chaos — but the atmosphere wasn’t exactly unfamiliar.

“I come from a big family,” she says, though she admits she wouldn’t be able to handle the 11 kids, majority of whom are teenagers, that her character does. “I love the chaos. I do love it. And for my kids, they’re very close to their cousins who are all older than them. And I really, really, really value that.”

Her own two kids also bonded with her on-screen ones.

“I would call my kids, and then there would usually be — three of my fake sons would be in the car — and they’d all talk. And they were so sweet,” Rafferty says of how the band of Walter boys made an effort with her kids, who she shares with husband Santtu Seppälä.

While it was fun to play the character, she wasn’t totally convinced on the Cheaper by the Dozen lifestyle.
“I’m so grateful for my two. My two are perfect,” she says. “I know that I couldn’t handle any more.”


Written by Sarah Rafferty Source