Brigitte Nielsen on raising a toddler at 59 and why she's 'totally embracing turning 60 next year'

Brigitte Nielsen is opening up about aging and her life raising a 4-year-old at age 59 in a new essay for the Sunday Times. The Red Sonja star was 54 when she gave birth to daughter Frida, who is the youngest of her five children and, Nielsen says, "the love of my life."

The Danish actress pushes back against assumptions — and her own initial fears — that she'd be "exhausted" having a baby at a mature age. If anything, she says, having Frida has put a spring in her step.

"Men say to me, 'You’re nearly 60 and you’ve got a 4-year-old. Why aren’t you exhausted?'" Nielsen, who shares Frida with fifth husband Mattia Dessi, 43, writes. "I say to them, 'I’m a woman.' We mothers are strong. Before I gave birth to her I did think, 'How am I going to do this? This is going to be exhausting,' but I just turned 59 and she gives me so much energy."

She adds, "Since she was born, I wake up excited every day." Nielsen also credits her daughter with bringing her an "incredible amount of calm energy" and helping her be more productive. In contrast, the actress recalls feeling "exhausted" after giving birth to her firstborn, Julian, at age 20, just before shooting Red Sonja opposite "nice guy" Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Nielsen — who was briefly married to her Rocky IV and Cobra co-star Sylvester Stallone — also shared how she stays fit ahead of turning 60 next year, a milestone she says she's "totally embracing." Noting that she "worked hard to lose weight" after having her daughter, the former model swears by daily swims, regular exercise and light, veggie-packed meals.

"I like to keep in shape, but I don’t spend 10 hours a day in the gym," the Beverly Hills Cop II star says. "I worked hard to lose weight after giving birth to Frida and I think it’s important to keep up your health. I swim in our pool daily and work out three times a week. I hammer away on the rowing machine."

She also abstains from smoking and drinking, but says that "none of it feels like a punishment."

"Staying healthy has become a passion of mine and I'll totally be embracing turning 60 next year," the former reality star says.

"I’m very happy with how I look. Of course I look older — I am older — but when I look in the mirror I think, 'Man, you look good.' I used to be very hard on myself but I’m much kinder now.

"I was fearless then and I’m fearless now but I’m less reckless," she adds. "I don’t jump in a pool without checking if there’s water in it first. When I was young I would just jump and sometimes I would hit my head really hard, but I’m more mature now. I learn from my mistakes."

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