Credit: Matthew Hranek

Matthew HranekHouse M.D. star Jennifer Morrison—now also in the hit movie Star Trek—shares how she beats bad days, what keeps her strong, and why she'd rather not know what's in the soy chai lattes she loves. (Get her fitness tips here.)

Q: So, tell the truth: Were you a Star Trek fan growing up?
Not at all. I hadnt seen any of them and still havent! When I got the call to go in and meet for it, I was like, “I dont think Im going to get this. I dont know anything about Star Trek.” It ended up turning out to be to my advantage because [director] J.J. Abrams wanted to have a new fresh take on it.

Q: You play Captain Kirks mom—whats it like playing the mom of a guys greatest hero? Have die-hard fans stopped you on the street?
I dont think I comprehended what this meant. [Laughs.] Guys have come up to me and said, “You dont understand, this is like being the mother of Jesus!” and Im like, “Whoa, slow down, thats a little extreme!”

Q: Youve been playing Dr. Cameron on House M.D. for five years. What do your doctors think of the show?
I hear a lot of, “Gosh, House says a lot of things I wish I could say but cant!”

Q: Does playing an MD affect how you approach your own health?
Medicine, in general, scares me a little bit more. Its made me realize how you have to take your health in your own hands on some level. You should be in tune with your own needs and body, because mistakes do happen.

Q: Youve said you feel stronger now than you did five years ago. What led to the change?
Im so used to having been physically active my whole life and feeling that strength. And I remember being on a plane and reaching to put my roller bag above the seats, feeling like I could barely lift it. I just felt so fragile, and I was like, Oh, I dont like this feeling. That was the moment that made me start prioritizing my time in a new way. I hired a yoga instructor for early in the morning, so at least I knew I was going to get an hour in before I went to work. Plus, I have been boxing. Now I can put 10 bags up there!

Q: Whats your secret to staying slim?
I never eat past being full. At a restaurant, if Im full from my appetizer, I only have five or six bites of my main meal and Ill just take the rest home.

Q: Do you have a favorite splurge?
My vice is chai soy lattes at Starbucks. I dont know if its good or bad for me, and I dont want to know! Im assuming its probably bad for me.

Next Page: Foreign film cure-all [ pagebreak ]Q: You seem to be such an upbeat person. If youre having a bad day, how do you flip it?
Sometimes I dont! But working out will give me a place to put energy. If Im in a bad mood, though, I wont watch comedy. Ill just think, Ahh, thats not funny. Ill have to watch a foreign film. Im telling you, foreign films are the solution for a lot of problems! If I cant sleep, its usually because Im overthinking something. But if you watch an old French film, your brain gets engaged on so many levels, and you fall asleep faster.

Q: What else puts you in a good mood?
Oh my gosh, 100%, spaghetti and meatballs. I could eat it for every meal. And Im very lucky, I have a lot of people to cheer me up. Number one on the list right now would be my boyfriend [Prison Break actor Amaury Nolasco].

Q: Whats your idea of real romantic commitment?
My parents have set a really high standard of what I want in my life. Whether theyre getting along or disagreeing, its always coming from a place of love. Its interesting: You can love someone, but it doesnt mean they are the person to spend your life with. Ive been through it [in 2007, Morrison split from her fiance, House M.D. co-star Jesse Spencer], where you think, I know I really love them, but it doesnt necessarily make it right for either of you. [With Jesse,] nothing horrible happened. Neither of us cheated. We just werent right for each other.

Q: Whats the best advice you could give about getting over a breakup?
Oh, I could write a book about that one! But I think, ultimately, its about taking care of yourself. Be a little more focused on, “OK, what can I do today that I always wanted to do?” As soon as you start doing those things for yourself, its like an unwritten rule of the universe that things start to fall into place. When youre happy in your own skin, someone who is right for you will be drawn to you naturally.

Q: You just turned 30. Is there anything you want to accomplish by the time you turn 40? Or 50?
You know, theres a saying that if you want to make God laugh, make a plan. And in a good way, Ive been pleasantly surprised by my life so many times. So I really have let go of trying too hard to plan anything. Sometimes things turn out even better than you could have hoped or planned.