Diane Lane

07/27/2005 at 04:00 PM EDT

Diane Lane
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
In Must Love Dogs, Diane Lane dips her toe in the online dating scene and finds John Cusack, but in real life it took just an email from actor Josh Brolin to set their romance in motion. "The first e-mail that he sent me, I said, 'Oh, you're a writer.' And I was right, because that's his passion," says Lane, 40. The two married last year, creating a happily blended family, including her daughter, Eleanor, 11, with ex-husband Christopher Lambert, and his two kids with ex-wife Alice Adair, Trevor, 17, and Eden, 12. Lane, an Oscar-nominated actress (for 2002's dark, sex-driven drama Unfaithful), recently talked about her own dating past and finding wedded bliss.

What experience have you had with online dating?
None. It scared me. (But) at this point, I think I would actually do it if I were without a child and had the time. It seems smart, because you can eliminate some issues up-front. Whatever your thing is that you don't want, you can try to veto it before it happens. I don't think I'd be into tongue piercings.

Ever had a date from hell?
I think I was the date from hell. We were in college. I went to a rock concert in Texas on a blind date. It was Queen, and Billy Squier opening. I was wearing leather pants. The concert's over and I really have to go to the bathroom. I'm carrying around this bucket-sized (drink cup) and I'm thinking, this is passable. I asked the gentleman if he would allow me to go in his car. Everything was fine until I went to pull the pants up and I knocked the bucket over. I had the T-shirt from the concert to wipe it up. The next day in the sun – I can only imagine.

How did you meet your husband?
Strangely enough, we met when I was pregnant with my daughter. He had made a film (The Road Killers) with my then-husband. It was like "Hello" at the craft-service table. Flash forward nine years and we met at this restaurant after a premiere. He was like, "Hi. Remember me?" We started talking about our kids, because it turned out that he had a daughter who was the same age as my daughter. Now they go to school together.

How has your life changed since you got married?
There's a lot going on all the time. I have two step-children now in addition to my own daughter. We're over the moon because she and I were just two girls on our own. Now we're the Brolin bunch!

What do you think your daughter can learn from you about marriage?
She gets to see the work that goes into it. Nothing is unearned. You earn somebody's respect. You earn the communication skills. They come from practice.

Are either of your daughters desperate to be in front of the camera?
They enjoy the dress-up. The girls like to choose what I wear – "You never wear those shoes. You should wear those shoes." You try walking in them and tell me then!

You star opposite Ben Affleck in your next movie, Truth, Justice and the American Way. When you were filming, did you know he and Jennifer Garner were planning to tie the knot?
Oh yeah. I was privy. I knew.

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