Meet Catt Sadler, divorced single mom raising two sons, dabbling in dating and balancing all with her job as the host of the E! Network’s Daily 10 show.
At the miracle mile studios of the E! network, Catt Sadler hunkers down for her 90-minute, five-times-a-week primping ritual. Head-to-toe glamour may be an occasional indulgence for most working single mothers, but for the co-host of showbiz news program Daily 10, it’s a job requirement.
A hairstylist armed with a hot iron hovers over her, setting her chestnut mane into a cascade of loose curls. A makeup artist painstakingly paints on camera-ready lips, stepping back periodically to gauge the effect. Next door, a wardrobe stylist is laying out a selection of outfits — a babydoll shift in an op-art print, a draped-silk halter top, a debutante dress with a sweetheart décolletage — all in keeping with Sadler’s kittenish TV persona.
Multitasking media personality and fellow E! network host Ryan Seacrest, who also works in the building, suddenly bursts in to toss a few friendly gibes and compliments at Sadler (“You look hot!” he informs her).
It’s been a remarkable journey for the 34-year-old broadcast journalist and single mother of two, who grew up in the tiny Midwestern town of Martinsville, Indiana, and cut her teeth covering the local news. “Like, hello? Pinch me! How did this happen?” she hoots from the makeup chair. “I have people putting beautiful clothes on my back and brushing my hair. I get to cover the Oscars and interview Clint Eastwood. The hard work was getting to this point,” she says. “This is the cakewalk!”
“But don’t tell that to my bosses,” she adds in a playful stage whisper.
Working in Hollywood has always been her goal — she singles out music and cinema as her “true passions,” maintaining that she had aspired to become a performer since she first trod the boards as Little Red Riding Hood in a grade-school play.
During college, she sang at bars and at weddings with an all-girl cover band called The Gypsies, while her family urged her to commit to a more sensible professional path. In 1997, while she was completing a broadcast journalism degree at Indiana University, her on-camera appearances caught the eye of an agent at N.S. Bienstock, who recruited her.
At the time, the highly regarded agency represented TV icons Diane Sawyer and Dan Rather. But Sadler soon discovered she wasn’t cut out for hard-nosed reportage. “I didn’t do well asking someone whose family member was just murdered how they felt about it,” she says today.
By contrast, her current position only carries the professional risk of getting nuzzled on camera by Gerard Butler or trading dangerous double entendres with Johnny Depp (we’ll only say that Sadler’s televised exchange with the Pirates of the Caribbean star pivoted on the word booty). “I know I’m not changing the world as an entertainment reporter — but that’s OK,” she says. “My first and most important job is that of mom. So hopefully I’m doing some greater good in that department.”
It was precisely her mommy credentials that cinched her appointment as an E! host almost three years ago. At 31, living in “vanilla-white Indiana” with two young sons and her husband of almost a decade, she was growing increasingly restless with a part-time reporting job on local television. “I had my first audition for the Daily 10 with a roomful of 15 nationally known faces — including Debbie Matenopoulos, whom I recognized from The View,” Sadler says. “Here I was, this mom of two from Indiana, sittin’ in a corner and going, ‘Oh my gosh, please don’t let me throw up all over myself!’
“When E! hired me, I’m pretty sure I was their only on-air talent who was also a mother,” she adds. “Instead of considering that a mark against me, the network folks understood that somehow it could appeal to the millions of women who watch us around the world.” Famous subjects also feel at ease discussing parenthood with Sadler, and she’s been invited on other news programs, like NBC’s Today Show, to comment on single celebrity mothers like Britney Spears.
“Being a mom today doesn’t have the June Cleaver stigma it once had,” she says. “Thanks to Angelina Jolie, Heidi Klum and a host of other Hollywood mamas, motherhood can be celebrated for all it should be, not just baking cookies and kissing boo-boos. You can be a hardworking career woman, sexy as hell, and raise smart, kind, aware children.”
That doesn’t mean that balancing parenting duties with the imperative to advance a career is a breeze. Sadler typically springs out of bed at the crack of dawn, eager to squeeze in as much time as possible in the company of her brood. On a recent morning, while the aroma of fresh coffee wafted through the bungalow she shares with her two sons on a leafy Glendale street, she presided over a cheerfully chaotic scene. Her older boy, Austin, 7, pecked away at his laptop, while his brother, Orian, 3, gave chase to the resident tabby. The nanny’s arrival signaled it was time for Sadler to bundle Austin up in his coat and hustle him into the family-sized Audi.
Ready to roll on to a PTA meeting at Austin’s school, she suddenly stopped dead in her tracks: She had just noticed little Orian — nose pressed against the window — waving good-bye. “Mommy, I love you!” he called out. “Te quiero!” she mouthed back, blowing kisses in his direction and looking a little sad.
Her job may be glamorous, but like any working mom, on some days Sadler finds it difficult to peel herself away from her kids, especially since her divorce, from fashion executive Kyle Boyd, became final two years ago. Their union unraveled just as her career began to take off in L.A., and nowadays she’s cautiously dipping her toes back into the dating pool.
“Dating as a single mom ain’t easy,” she says. “It’s a very delicate situation that I take seriously. The fact that I have kids hasn’t been a deterrent for guys, but determining if or when they get to meet my li’l dudes requires a lot of consideration.” (Prospective mates should consider themselves forewarned.)
As for long-term plans? “I would like to complete my family again one day, but I don’t have to go find a man right now,” Sadler concludes. “I’m not soured on the thought of marriage, nor particularly jaded about men; but let’s say I’m learning a lot about myself right now, and enjoying it.”
Copyright © Words: Sorina Diaconescu / Photos: Ethan Pines/ 2010 Singular Communications, LLC.