Billy Baldwin and Chynna PhillipsA Hollywood Love Story
This Valentine’s Day, we sit down with actor Billy Baldwin and singer, songwriter and actress Chynna Phillips (of Wilson Phillips – obviously) to talk love, life and travel. They’ve been together 23 years, and with three kids between 9 and 13 and an unrelenting schedule, the Santa Barbara-based family has been going full throttle. “We haven’t been away on vacation without the kids in years,” says Phillips. But recently, the couple headed toGarza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa outside of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for a much-needed romantic respite.
Galavante: You’ve been together for 23 years, which is unheard of these days, especially in Hollywood. What makes your relationship work?
Billy Baldwin: It’s so great to have balance and very important for my kids to see that we’re doing things for us. One thing that my wife taught me is the old adage, “I can’t love you until I love myself.” You have to make sure you’re feeding yourself outside the marriage, and then feeding the marriage outside of the children.
Chynna Phillips: We have always enjoyed each other’s company. When it gets right down to it, it’s do you enjoy this person’s company? Can you be around this person for large amounts of time without pulling out your hair? For our honeymoon we went away for six weeks. Alone for six weeks.
Billy Baldwin: People thought we were insane.
Chynna Phillips: People said, you’re going to test the first six weeks of your marriage?
Billy Baldwin: We went to Paris, Florence, Tuscany and the Greek Islands – Mykonos and Santorini. We had a little city, a little country, a little beach.
Galavante: So how did you meet?
Billy Baldwin: When I did the movie Backdraft, Ron Howard invited Chynna to see a rough cut of the film. He wanted Wilson Phillips to do a cover song for the soundtrack.
Chynna Phillips: Ron Howard had asked us to do a Heatwave cover. I had been a fan of Cocoon and a couple of his movies so I took a friend to see it.
Billy Baldwin: I came on the screen in one of the first scenes and she grabbed her girlfriend by the leg.
Chynna Phillips: I saw those puppy dog eyebrows and the blue eyes and the skinny little lanky body...
Billy Baldwin: Chynna said, “Who is that?” Her friend replied, “It’s Billy Baldwin. He was in Flatliners and Internal Affairs.” Chynna said, “I didn’t see those movies.” A few days later, she was doing a video for one of her songs and her makeup artist was doing her makeup. Chynna was crying about a breakup, saying “We’re breaking up. It’s over. I can’t take it...” and finally the makeup artist who doubles as her shrink cut her off and said, “I’m sick of hearing this. This guy is so wrong for you. You know who I want to set you up with? Do you know the actor, Billy Baldwin?” And Chynna said, “That’s so weird. I just saw him in a movie.” The makeup artist said, “I’ve never met Billy but I have friends who have worked with him. He’s a great guy. He’s cute. You deserve to be with a guy who’s going to be nice to you. He’s right for you.”
Chynna Phillips: About a week later, my manicurist and her husband were in their living room. The husband was looking at a magazine and saw a picture of me on one page and Billy on the other. He put them together and he said, “You know who would make a great couple? Chynna Phillips and Billy Baldwin.” At my next manicure appointment she said, “My husband says you and Billy Baldwin would make a great couple and and he’s right. You should definitely meet this guy.”
I said, “Well, that’s weird you should say that because I just saw his movie and thought he was adorable. Then my makeup artist told me he was going to try and set me up with him.” A few days later I was headed to New York for a quick stopover before going to go to Europe.
Billy Baldwin: She was touring in Europe.
Chynna Phillips: I was sitting with Carnie and Wendy in the lounge waiting to board the plane and who walked in?
Billy Baldwin: This was at MGM Grand Air when they were flying their own plane. I looked to my left and saw them. Chynna Phillips! Sure enough, right across from them was an empty four-person couch. I put my bag down, took off my coat and looked at them. They were all looking up at me and smiling. I walked over to them. The smile kind of vanished from Chynna’s face and she looked stunned. I thought, I’ve got to be cool about this. I can’t stay too long. So I said, “Okay, I’ll see you on the flight.”
Chynna Phillips: He had walked right up to me. I was so shocked that he was there in the flesh after all of these coincidences. I was really taken aback.
Billy Baldwin: I interpreted that as being really snobby and cold. She wouldn’t say anything.
Chynna Phillips: Carnie said, “He’s definitely going to ask you out before we get to baggage claim.”
Galavante: And the rest is history! Tell us about your work with Los Angelitos, an orphanage in Tijuana.
Chynna Phillips: We’re building a 60-room dormitory.
Billy Baldwin: We’re hoping to get tile, cabinetry, beds and hardware and take it to the next level. I’ve raised enough where we can throw in that extra ten or fifteen thousand dollars to really finish it. There are so many orphans in Tijuana who need assistance and Los Angelitos can only help 40 or 50 kids. We’re working with them to increase their reach by a third to a half. They’ve reunited siblings. Even if they’re not adopted, the children living there get an education, are clothed and fed. It’s a loving place.
Chynna Phillips: We hope to have the dorm built this year. It will open up room for more children to find a safe place to lay their head at night in a warm, cozy atmosphere with lots of loving people. They have a great staff. These people are totally dedicated. They love these kids and you can feel the love when you’re there.
Galavante: You mentioned that this is the first time you’ve been away, just as a couple. What has it been like at Garza Blanca Resort?
Billy Baldwin: We eat, sleep, go to the gym, read. We went to Puerto Vallarta. But if I can eat healthy, exercise and get spa treatments, I’m happy.
Chynna Phillips: This is really a beautiful piece of property with a gorgeous white sand beach, infinity pool, amazing food and accommodations. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful setting. I’m a real foodie and Kori, the chef, is so wonderful. I have a pretty strict diet and she was more than willing to use the proper oils and make everything gluten-free. Sometimes people can put up a real snoot about that stuff and she was extremely accommodating and sweet. And her food is amazing.
Billy Baldwin: Between the facilities and the aesthetic – the way the resort is set along the coastline and the views from the pool and suite – it’s all beautiful. We love Miguel, our personal attaché who has been touring with us. That service is available to anybody here. Anything you want: a spa treatment, to go into town, something delivered to your room... anything – he’s on top of it. I know there are many different types of vacations. One like this is so great. Sit on the beach, unwind, relax and rejuvenate. I also like going to a city like Prague or Paris – visiting museums, people watching, having a little espresso and a smoke. Even if you don’t smoke. I love that kind of vacation too.
Interview by Jeryl Brunner, Galavante Celebrity Contributor
(Photo courtesy of Corinne Gensler)