The youngest of five children (three sisters and a brother) born in Toledo, Ohio, to an attorney father and homemaker mother, the former Dawson’s Creek breakout star understands the value of family time.
“We do a lot of cousin time with my nieces and nephews. I think the most important thing in my life is giving my child the childhood I want her to have,” says Holmes, who will reprise her role in 2017 as former first lady Jackie Kennedy in The Kennedys: After Camelot, of which she also directed an episode.
Continues the actress, who is currently raising Suri in New York City, “That comes first. That dictates where I work and when I work because it’s my main job right now.”
Holmes’ newest project is a big one. Though she has had experience in independent filmmaking in the past with parts in movies like the 2003 Thanksgiving drama Pieces of April and 2014’s Miss Meadows, this is her first time being in the director’s chair for a movie.
“A mother’s love is greater than anything; it’s definitely a universal theme,” she says of All We Had, in which she also stars as Rita, a down-on-her luck mum with a 13-year-old daughter named Ruthie.
“I think seeing Ruthie fight her mother is natural to [any] mother/daughter relationship,” Holmes adds. “But Rita is very much a child herself, which makes them more original in their relationship. I felt like we haven’t seen that kind of story too much between mother and daughter. I thought that was worth telling.”
This article originally appeared on People.