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Keri Russell's 3 Kids: All About River, Willa and Sam

Keri Russell shares two children with her ex-husband Shane Deary and one child with her partner Matthew Rhys

<p>Araya Doheny/FilmMagic</p> Keri Russell at the Los Angeles premiere of

Araya Doheny/FilmMagic

Keri Russell at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Cocaine Bear' on Feb. 21, 2023 in Los Angeles, California

Keri Russell is famous for her roles in Felicity, The Diplomat and Cocaine Bear, but to her kids — River, Willa and Sam — she’s just "mom."

The actress shares her two older children with her ex-husband, Shane Deary, and her younger son, Sam, with her partner Matthew Rhys.

River was born in 2007, a few months after her parents wed, and Willa arrived in 2012. The following year, Russell and Deary separated, and in 2014, the actress confirmed she was dating her The Americans costar Rhys. Russell gave birth to her and Rhys' son, Sam, in 2016.

The August Rush cast member loves discovering her children's personalities and learned to adjust her parenting style to suit them.

Related: Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys' Relationship Timeline

“I think it’s just different [based on] the kid. You never know,” she told PEOPLE in 2017. “You get what you get, and they’re all so different and wild and weird and good in their own way.”

One goal she keeps consistent for all of her children is fostering a respectful community around them. “Don’t be a jerk,” Russell said. “As they get older, [the lessons are] being a good friend, being a loyal friend and don’t talk about your friend."

The actress also tries to bring grace to her parenting, especially in challenging moments. “You do the best you can every single day, and some days are bad days,” she added. “I feel like people need to remember that more.”

Here is everything to know about Keri Russell’s kids: River, Willa and Sam.

River, 16

<p>Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic</p> Keri Russell during the 6th Annual Tribeca Film Festival

Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic

Keri Russell during the 6th Annual Tribeca Film Festival

Russell welcomed her first child, River, with her then-husband, Deary, on June 9, 2007.

The actress revealed later that she was in labor for 38 hours straight. “It was intense,” she told PEOPLE in 2007. “It was a long time. But it all worked out okay.”

Russell knew she would never be the same from the second River was born. “You instantly become less selfish,” she told Parade in 2013. “You can’t be the biggest person in the world anymore—they are. It really grounds you.”

Despite her busy working schedule, Russell has made sure to be a present parent for her son.

“I get to work really hard for three months, but then I get to be home for four months where I get to put him to bed every night,” she told PEOPLE in 2012. “I like getting to be in the adult world a little bit and then getting to be in the mom world and cook dinners. And, for me, that balance is what makes it nice.”

As for making dinner for her family, she told Shape in 2020 that she “used to cook a lot more when [she] had just one kid." But, even after River's siblings entered the picture, Russell occasionally cooked up a big family meal.

“I usually do a roast chicken and vegetables, and maybe a guilty pleasure like Yorkshire pudding,” she said.

Willa Lou, 11

<p>ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy</p> Keri Russell and Shane Deary at the 80th Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 24, 2008 in Hollywood, California

ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy

Keri Russell and Shane Deary at the 80th Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 24, 2008 in Hollywood, California

Russell and Deary welcomed their daughter Willa on Dec. 27, 2012, in New York City. “Everyone’s happy and healthy,” her rep confirmed to PEOPLE at the time.

In 2023, the actress shared some insight into her funny mother-daughter relationship with Willa when she appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

"My daughter about a year ago — she's kind of mature for her age, and she was bored one day — I said, 'Hey, Willa, I did this show about this college girl, and you might think it's cool. It's really sweet,' " Russell recalled of showing Willa her show Felicity for the first time.

She continued, "After about 15 minutes, she turned it off and she went, 'Ugh, mom, it's so cringy.' ... Why would you think I'd want to watch your college experience making out with weird boys and stuff?' "

When The Diplomat star started dating Rhys, he became a stepdad to River and Willa and had to learn how to parent quickly. In 2023, he told Vogue about how he measures a good day with the kids.

“If you get all three fed, vegetables eaten, someone’s asked me a question at dinner, bath, Harry Potter’s read, they’re in bed, and all three haven’t cried, it’s an enormous success," he said.

Sam, 7

<p>Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan/Getty</p> Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell attend Metropolitan Opera Opening Night Gala Premiere of 'Tristan und Isolde' on Sept. 26, 2016 in New York City

Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan/Getty

Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell attend Metropolitan Opera Opening Night Gala Premiere of 'Tristan und Isolde' on Sept. 26, 2016 in New York City

The Americans costars Russell and Rhys began dating in 2014 and they welcomed their son, Sam, in May 2016.

Russell shared the sex and name of her third child two months after he was born on the Today show. “We had a boy,” she shared. “[His name is] Sam. He’s so good. He’s big and fat and nice.”

Russell added that Rhys was doing “so well” with being a dad for the first time. Luckily, the actor had his partner's experience and “reassuring hand” to help him along the journey.

Rhys also quickly took to changing diapers and proudly shared on Live with Kelly and Ryan in 2017 that Russell’s older children “claimed [Sam] as their own” immediately.

Because he grew up in Wales, Rhys has said it is important to share his culture with his son — something he does in his native tongue.

“I only speak to him in Welsh, and he understands everything I say,” Rhys told Deadline in 2021. “He’ll always answer me in English. He’ll pepper a few words sometimes in Welsh, I think just to please me. But he’s very clear about his Dada’s language and then there’s Mama’s language.”

Rhys and Russell even took Sam to Wales for two weeks in 2017 to give him a chance to meet his extended family in Cardiff, according to an interview with The Irish News.

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