Multiple Emmy Award–winning actress Alfre Woodard isn’t only celebrating her 30th anniversary with husband Roderick Spencer this year, she’s also causing a stir in Steve McQueen’s (Hunger, Shame) brilliantly sculpted epic film 12 Years A Slave. The Tulsa, Okla., native first captured hearts in 1983 on the TV series Hill Street Blues. Now, the mother of two is one of the most prolific actresses in Hollywood, with memorable roles in movies like Crooklyn, Miss Evers’ Boys and last year’s all-black version of Steel Magnolias. Woodard also left an indelible impression on pop culture juggernauts Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy and True Blood. In [12 Years a Slave], she portrays the real-life role of Mistress Harriet Shaw, a privileged slave of a New Orleans plantation owner during the mid-1800s. Here, she shares her thoughts on modern-day slavery, President Obama and her key to a lasting marriage.

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