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Taraji P. Henson might be an actress and an icon in Hollywood, but first and foremost, she's a mother.

The 45-year-old star opened up to Redbook in the October issue and explained how her son, Marcel, comes first in all situations, even her love life.

"If I was going to get married, it had to be for love, because I wanted Marcel to see that real kind of love—the kind I yearn for," she explained. "That old couple crooked and bent over but still holding hands. I know that kind of love exists, and I'm not going to stop until I have that."

Taraji P. Henson, Redbook

Yu Tsai / Redbook

But despite putting her son first, she tries to refrain from being overprotective. In fact, she thinks being too protective can actually harm children.

"These days we're so busy protecting our kids, when we really should be pulling back the blinds and showing them that we live in a world that's not always fair and moral," she explained. "Sometimes we try to protect our children so much that when something doesn't go right in their lives, they're unprepared to deal with adversity. I don't think that does our kids any favors."

Taraji, a single mother, has learned all of this on her own, and yet her advice is some of the wisest we've heard.

So what advice can she give other single mothers?

"It depends on what women equate success with," she said. "I think we try to do our best. And yes, we can do it all, but it is not easy."