has spent the past several months on the Charlotte, N.C., set of her new Showtime series Homeland
, and she's overwhelmed to be back home in New York City. On her agenda? Dinner with her brother, and the next day, a quiet morning learning lines. But she's also excited for much-needed girl talk. "I'm starting to pine for my friends, and when I see them, the reports are shocking!" she says in between bites of salad with shrimp at Peels, a downtown eatery. "We're married, they're having babies, and we look at each other like, 'What is happening?'"
The past two years of milestone-hitting should answer her question: The actress who first shot to fame as a teen in the '90s cult series My So-Called Life
isn't a kid anymore. After marrying actor Hugh Dancy in 2009, Danes won a slew of awards for her portrayal of an autistic animal expert in the HBO film Temple Grandin
before landing the role of a bipolar CIA agent in the critically acclaimed Homeland
. Yet despite all her success, "it's still occurring to me that I'm a grown-up," says Danes, 32. "But I have more of a clue who I am."
When she's not on-set, Danes relishes her weekends with Dancy at their country house in upstate New York, perusing farmers' markets, trying new recipes and playing with their schnauzer-poodle mix Weegee. She is also a member of a book club, the Litwits, with her girlfriends. "In the last year my contributions have been [books] about bipolar disorder and the CIA," she says, laughing. "They say, 'Great, Claire's turn. Fascinating."
Next up? Long-awaited time off to relax ("I might check myself into an asylum-no, a spa," she says with a grin) and maybe, soon, a baby. "No plans," she says, "but that would be fun." And very grown-up.