'Sopranos' star Drea de Matteo says doing OnlyFans made her realize she's 'a 52-year-old woman with a smokin' hot body'

Actress Drea de Matteo opens up about joining OnlyFans, starting a fashion line and being a strong mother.
Actress Drea de Matteo opens up about joining OnlyFans, starting a fashion line and being a strong mother. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)

Drea de Matteo may have made her mark in Hollywood by playing Adriana La Cerva on The Sopranos, but the actress’s most impactful role has been as a mom to her two kids: Alabama Gypsy Rose, 16, and Waylon “Blackjack” Jennings, 13. De Matteo remembers that when she first got pregnant, in her late 30s, she was also serving as a caregiver to her own beloved former nanny, whom she referred to as Monkey. “I was raised by a nanny, so I didn’t want my children to be raised by a nanny,” she tells Yahoo Life. “So, I really gave up most of my career early on to take care of Monkey, and then once the kids came along, to be with the kids.” When she would work, she’d fly Monkey and her kids out to be with her on set.

“My kids always say to me, ‘Thank you so much for giving up so much to take care of us,’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t really feel like I gave up anything, because the only thing I ever wanted was you,’” says de Matteo. “That is my No. 1 accomplishment. There is nothing that I will ever do on this planet that can ever come close to taking care of those two children. I was never the best at it. I learned how to become good at these things because they guided me. I know a lot of parents say that. But it's true. Like, they've been my guides through everything. Every decision I've made has had to do with them. Every single thing has been with them at the forefront.”

As a single mom for “pretty much the kids’ entire lives,” de Matteo also leaned on her “village” of close female friends and loved ones. “They have a special relationship with each of the women, which I think is really pretty incredible,” says the actress.

De Matteo is also proud that her kids have grown up learning to respect boundaries and hearing the word “no.” “I'm more of a conservative Italian parent that's not necessarily PC in a lot of ways,” she says. “I know a lot of parents [who] don't say ‘don't,’ ‘can’t' or ‘no.’ And I'm like, ‘Are you f***ing kidding me?’ Then, those kids will come to my house and wreak havoc in my home, and I'll watch them treat their parents like the biggest pieces of garbage I have ever seen. I thought, ‘Wow, who's running the show here?’”

Now that they’re teens, the former Sons of Anarchy star's kids have gotten to have more say. For example, when the family was facing foreclosure, they had a conversation about de Matteo starting an OnlyFans page. The star has credited OnlyFans with saving her family from financial ruin.

“We were about to lose our home,” she recalls. “To watch my kids help me pack up this house once a week so that people could come look at it and [see] them watch the ‘for sale’ sign go up ... This is where they've had all their Christmases. It was just a really dark time. And as a joke, the kids were like, ‘Just put your feet on OnlyFans, and let's just be done with it.’ I remember them saying, ‘You have too much pride. You’re either doing something like this, or we're all going to have to say goodbye soon.’ And I was like, ‘You know what, you're right. Who cares?’”

She remembers being “insecure and embarrassed” upon starting her OnlyFans page, but over time, de Matteo has grown more comfortable. These days, she’s owning it. “I really had to recognize, ‘Man, I'm a 52-year-old woman with a smokin’ hot body,’” says de Matteo. “I have such a sense of pride walking onto set in stilettos and a bikini or underwear. I never really paid attention to myself like that. If anything, I was my worst critic. And I think now that I have a teenage daughter, I really will appreciate myself more because if you don't teach these kids how to love themselves, no-f***ing-body will.”

It’s a lesson that’s especially important to de Matteo as she’s noticed just how often Alabama judges herself. “My daughter is more concerned with making sure she's a good person all the time,” she notes. “[She’ll ask,] ‘Was that not nice of me? Was that not cool of me?’ And I'm like, ‘Sometimes you just gotta relax, dude. Don't worry, Mommy's right here. If you're being a disrespectful a**hole, I'll be the first one to tell you. But I'm also always trying to help her not get steamrolled.’”

But it's not just about encouraging her kids to love themselves and stand strong in their sense of self. De Matteo is finding ways to express herself, too. Her latest venture is a streetwear line, ULTRAFREE, with a broader mission.

"Promoting ULTRAFREE was really about promoting freedom and to promote the unity between Americans and to try to stomp out the hatred between political parties, between races, between sexual orientations," she says. "The ULTRAFREE brand [is meant to] take us back to a place of innocence. Let's make freedom psychedelic again. Let's love each other again.”

Ultimately, just as she’s celebrating freedom through her designs, de Matteo hopes to encourage her kids to always think for themselves. “I think that for kids and parents and kids right now, the No. 1 thing is balance — no bulls***, don’t be a liar,” says the proud mom of two. “Always follow the truth, no matter what. Study both sides of the situation always and then come to your own conclusions. Don't follow the masses.”