Annette Bening dreamed of becoming a mother when she was a child herself.
The 58-year-old star's maternal instinct kicked in at an early age, and preceded her dream of becoming a successful actress.
"I always wanted to be a mom," Bening shared. "That came before acting, that came before I knew anything.
"I was the youngest of four (and) I remember wanting my mom to have another baby, and she said, 'No, I'm not going to have any more', so I don't know if that was the connection.
"I wanted a sibling, then very quickly (afterwards) I wanted to be a mommy. I was the little kid in the neighborhood that played with the little tinies (kids)."
Bening's dream came true after meeting Warren Beatty, the man who became her second husband 24 years ago - the couple has four children, 24-year-old Stephen, Benjamin, 22, Isabel, 19, and Ella, 16, who joined mum when she was honored by the American Film Institute in Los Angeles on 16 November (16).
Bening, who was feted for her prolific career said, "I'm really grateful for this and that I get to share it with my family."
The award-winning actress admits she has always taken the role of mum very seriously, believing it's her responsibility to pass on life lessons to her kids.
Asked what they are in a new Entertainment Tonight interview, the actress says, "Ideally, I guess, it’s what we would want of any human being: that sort of openness and a kind of recognition of our own vulnerability. I mean, intelligence, a certain passion about life, gratitude about the gifts that come with life, (and) being able to tolerate all the disappointments that we all have."