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Barbra Streisand Kvells About Being a Grandmother

Barbra Streisand performing

Steve Jennings/WireImage for BSB/Getty Images

Our queen, Barbra Streisand, has kept busy throughout the pandemic: Her most recent album, “Release Me 2,” dropped on Friday, Aug. 6, featuring rare and previously unreleased songs.

While working on the album, Streisand, 79, spent most of the past 18 months at home with her loved ones, just like the rest of us. And for Jewish mama and bubbe Streisand, that’s exactly how she likes it. “I’m enjoying my grandchildren,” Streisand tells Variety’s Mark Malkin. “That is the most important thing to me now.”

Streisand has one biological child, Jason Gould, whom she shares with her ex-husband, Elliot Gould. In 1998, Streisand married actor James Brolin, who is the father of three children, including actor Josh Brolin. In Nov. 2018, Josh’s wife, Kathryn, gave birth to their daughter, Westlyn Reign Brolin — officially making Streisand, as Kveller previously documented, the Jewish grandmother she was born to be. So thrilling!

“A lot of people don’t want to be known as grandma,” Streisand told The New Yorker at the time. “I think it’s a privilege.” (Josh Brolin, we should note, also has two children from a previous marriage, but they were adults by the time Streisand joined the family.)

On Dec. 25, 2020, Kathryn gave birth to a second daughter, Chapel Grace Brolin — and, well, according to this recent Instagram post, it seems like grandma and granddaughter enjoy some serious mutual admiration:

So sweet! In fact, Streisand regularly kvells about her grandchildren on social media; here’s a photo of big sister Westlyn, hanging out with Streisand’s three adorable fur babies:

Of course, as doting a bubbe she may be, Streisand never forgets she’s a mom, too. In a touching nod to her son, Jason (who’s now 54), Streisand included a track on her new album just for him: “The Rainbow Connection,” a duet she sang with Kermit the Frog in 1979. “I did it basically for my son, who was a big fan of ‘The Muppet Movie’ and watched ‘Sesame Street,’” Streisand tells Variety about working with the legendary Jim Henson.  “And he loved it.” Aww!

Another track on the album is “I’d Want It to Be You,” a duet with Willie Nelson. Given Nelson’s legendary use of marijuana, Malkin asks Streisand if she ever indulges. “No, no,” is Babs’s response. “I tried it once and I didn’t like the way it made me feel. So I never did it again.” (Is that not the most Jewish mom response ever? Pretty sure I heard that one myself!)

Nonetheless, Streisand enjoys a drink on occasion —  “I like beer with Chinese food or Italian food,” she says, leading the interviewer to quip: “You can take the girl out of Brooklyn but you can’t take the Brooklyn out of the girl, can you? A beer with some Chinese food.”  (Is having a beer with Chinese food a Brooklyn thing? Who knew!)

In addition to finalizing her album and hanging with her family, Streisand says she’s “almost finished” with her memoir. (Yes! Can’t wait!) She explains she still has one “long chapter” to go, as the book ends in 1998, with her marriage to Brolin. “The epilogue has to take me further on,” she explains, marveling at how they’ve been a couple for a quarter-century.

The secret is to listen carefully,” Babs says when asked about her marriage’s success. “I think to be a good actor, you have to listen. To be a good person, you have to listen. To be a good marriage partner, you have to listen. Hear the other person. Agree to disagree.”

Another maxim Streisand lives by? “Nothing is impossible,” which, she notes, was her character’s motto in her iconic and extremely Jewish 1983 movie “Yentl.” 

In the interview, Streisand hints at a possible future movie role, or even a documentary about her life. But she’s playing it cool for now: “I’m enjoying my grandchildren and there’s nothing like family and home and pure love and joy and connection,” she says. “That is the most important thing to me now. We’ve all gotten closer during this time, and more grateful.” Sing it, Barbra! As if we needed another reason to adore you, we love how you love your family.

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