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The reason Bridget Moynahan almost turned down her Blue Bloods role

Even though most network procedurals tend to follow a similar formula, the best ones have their own unique flavor that make them stand out from the pack. In the case of CBS cop drama Blue Bloodsthe show is all about family. At the center of the action are the Reagans, a New York City clan who count among them detectives, police commissioners, and assistant district attorney Erin Reagan, played by actress and model Bridget Moynahan.

Moynahan has been on Blue Bloods since episode 1, and has brought a focused energy to a cast of characters known for letting their moods get the better of them. Around the famous Reagan family dinner table, Erin is often the contemplative one who only speaks when she has something important to say; Moynahan's measured performance makes for a perfect contrast to the steely intensity of her father, Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck), and hot-headed brother, Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg).

However, even though she feels integral to the believability of the Reagan family as a unit — and therefore the show's success — Moynahan almost skipped out on taking on the part of Erin for one very good reason. Why did the actress almost let what would turn out to be one of her most iconic roles pass by?

Bridget Moynahan's real-life family came first

It's no secret that working on a network TV drama can be an all-consuming job. Being on a popular show is both a blessing and a curse: it means a secure and well-paying job, but also the expectation of working long hours in order to fill the sometimes 20-plus-episode orders per season. Those long hours were the reason that Moynahan nearly turned down her role on Blue Bloods. More specifically, she was worried about how taking on the part would affect her ability to spend time with her son, Jack, whom she had with former boyfriend Tom Brady (via Watch! Magazine).

It was Moynahan's would-be co-star and friend Donnie Wahlberg who eventually convinced her to join the cast. He told Watch! Magazine in 2011, "I called Bridget and said, 'You're doing this!'... I begged her—and I sold her on the fact that it would shoot in New York." As Moynahan was born nearby and has family in the New York City area, she realized that even with the long hours, she could make it work. 

Still, it was likely a hard sell, as the Blue Bloods opportunity came on the heels of a very difficult time for Moynahan and her family.

Bridget Moynahan's tough time

Blue Bloods premiered in 2010, and just three years before that, Moynahan was enduring any celebrity's worst nightmare: a very public breakup with a high-profile ex. In Moynahan's case, that ex was football legend Tom Brady. Matters were complicated more by the fact that at the time of their breakup, Moynahan was pregnant with Brady's child, and Brady had already started dating his current wife, Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen.

In a June 2008 interview with Harper's BazaarMoynahan described the difficulties of navigating a pregnancy and a breakup at the same time: "Going through that traumatic time of being heartbroken and then being pregnant turned my whole life upside down and inside out and just knocked the wind out of me."

However, in the end, the experience ended up expanding the actress' perceptions. "I'm a traditional girl, and I believe in marriage, and I just always thought that's the way I'd be doing this," said Moynahan. "For a moment, it was hard for me to accept that this was the way I was going to have a family. I've had to recognize that there are just so many different options today."

How Blue Bloods became Bridget Moynahan's second family

Even though she was apprehensive about taking a role on Blue Bloods, now that the show is in its 10th season, Moynahan is clearly glad she made the decision to join the cast. "The show feels like family now," she said in an interview with Watch! Magazine.

Just as Wahlberg said, shooting in New York ended up being a blessing for Moynahan. She explained to The Aquarian in a 2014 interview, "It's also unique to shoot the show right in the city [New York], since we all live here. It's so different from being away on location when you're away from your family and away from home. In that situation, the cast tends to spend more time with each other. Here, we all go home to our families after work every day, but when we come back, it's almost like it's an extension of our family life."

Although Moynahan almost didn't accept her role in Blue Bloods to spend more time with family, it seems that in taking it she ended up getting exactly what she wanted.