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Viola Davis Reveals How Motherhood Helped Her With 'Fences'

Photograph by Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock

Viola Davis, who won a Golden Globe award this month for her role in the play-turned-movie "Fences," admits that it was only after becoming a mother that she was able to fully understand one scene in that production.

The actress, who also took home the 2010 Tony award for best actress for the same role on Broadway, said it was the last scene in the play that had given her trouble.

"[M]y son (in 'Fences') tells me, 'I'm not going to my father's funeral. He treated me like crap. He's ruined my life. I'm not doing it,'" Davis said January 17 on "Live With Kelly." "And when I did the play on Broadway, I said, 'OK, I don't get the scene. I don't get this.'"

But that was before she became a mother in 2011, when she and her husband adopted their daughter, Genesis.

"And then I had a daughter and then I had to do that scene for the movie, and it completely released from me because what I had to tell (my film son) was, 'You need to forgive your father to release your life,'" said Davis, who also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this month. "And it's nothing that can be explained. There's no manual on that."

Davis went on to explain that as a mother, she needs for her daughter to be OK—and sometimes that means having to do something very hard.

"I need for her to be OK. I need for her to forgive," Davis said about her daughter. "I need for her to have some kind of a good life. Even though I know she's going to have some nicks and scrapes in there. So I got it, and for me that was just a huge moment for me as an actress."

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