Knowing the Part
updated 05/07/2001 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 05/07/2001 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Still, it was "so important when my father married my stepmother [Karen, now 45, a corporate meeting planner] to have a woman come into my life," says Graham, who is also close to her mother, Donna Grant, 57, a retail buyer living in England. Even then Lauren "was very independent," says her father. After earning an MFA in drama from Southern Methodist University in 1992, "I slept on my aunt's couch for six months," she says, while auditioning in L.A. She broke through in 1996 with a recurring role as Caroline in the City's wacky Shelly. Currently Graham, who's unattached ("I'm dating—that's all you get from me"), is working 16-hour days on Gilmore when she's not furnishing her new two-bedroom house in L.A. "I eat out of plastic containers," she laments. Maybe it's time for Dad to take her out to dinner again.