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The First Lady star details White House insight ‘A custom I took for granted’

The First Lady: Showtime's trailer for original series

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The First Lady continues to air on Showtime in the US and the drama follows Eleanor Roosevelt (played by Gillian Anderson), Betty Ford (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Michelle Obama (Viola Davis). The anthology drama depicts the lives and family events of the First Ladies, with recurring characters including Laura Bush. Actress Kathleen Garrett spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about discoveries she made during filming.

Laura Bush was the first lady of the United States from 2001 to 2009.

The wife of former President George W. Bush started getting involved in politics during her marriage.

In the series, she has scenes with Michelle Obama star Viola Davis, whom she praised for her portrayal.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, she said she had learned a lot about customs as a First Lady.

She said: “Regarding customs as First Lady, she tried to normalize for her family a very un-normal life living inside the White House as the First Family.

“One line that I say is, ‘It was a battle, but I made sure we always started the day in here,’ referring to the private dining room where the family would congregate for breakfast every morning to begin each day as a normal family in a very abnormal situation.

“Regarding insight, what I got in playing a First Lady who is departing from her role and handing the reigns over to the next First Lady, was the respect for the peaceful change of power.

“Here are two women from opposing parties meeting for the first time.

“Mrs Bush not only gave Michelle Obama a tour but also words of wisdom and encouragement.

“Dignity and respect that is deserved and expected. A custom I took for granted until recently.”

The star said playing Laura Bush was her most challenging role to date.

The prospect of playing a real, living person to whom she would be compared was extremely daunting.

She admitted she was anxious about what the real Laura Bush would think of her portrayal.

However, she did say it was an “honour” to step into her shoes and find out more about her passions.

The actress discovered more about her advocation for education and women’s rights in third-world countries.

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The one thing she knew little about was Laura’s real personality and her love for her husband and family.

Joining the series just before filming started, she had a lot of catching up to do when it came to research.

The actress said: “Thank heavens Mrs Bush wrote and narrated an autobiography.

“I was able to kill two birds with one stone-learn about her life and hear her voice.

“Her accent is a very specific West Texas one.”

Kathleen said she was passionate about getting across Laura’s kindness, compassion and intelligence.

She added: “I very much wanted to bring the dignity and respect she deserves.

“Lord, I hope I came close to achieving that.”

The First Lady will be available on the new streaming service Paramount+, which launches in the UK and Ireland on June 22.

All 10 episodes will be available to watch at the same time.

The First Lady continues on Showtime on Sunday, June 19.

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