Stars Share Thanksgiving Memories, Traditions


Nov. 27 2008, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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Beyonce’s mom Tina Knowles is in the kitchen cooking up a big meal this Thanksgiving. She tells me her specialty is Cajun turkey, and the “whole family will be eating dinner together.”

So, why is Beyonce a great daughter? “She’s a great person first. She’s kind and thoughtful.”

Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley will spend the day with brother Josh Kelley and his wife Katherine Heigl – in addition to about sixty members of his family and friends.

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“We’ve got a lot of turkeys and hams, and I’m always the one out there playing basketball and baseball with all the little nephews and nieces and all the little kids,” Charles tells me.

What’s Katherine like as a sister-in-law? “She’s great! She’s awesome. It’ll be fun.”

Ne-Yo is another star heading back home. “My mom calls me and says ‘Ne-Yo, I know you’ve been busy doing this all year, but you are coming home for Thanksgiving, right?’” he says. “And there is no other answer but yes. Me and my mom are tight.”

And it’s all about family for Aubrey O’Day. “Spending time with my grandparents was the biggest tradition before I started working in the industry,” the Danity Kane singer tells me. “I rarely get to see them. Grandparents are so wise, and they have so many interesting things to instill in you. Most people go to Thanksgiving and they don’t really talk to their grandparents. They’re like ‘oh, yeah, they’re old, let them sit at the table, walk them over when food comes.’ But if you actually sit down and ask your grandparents about their life – I asked my grandma about being in love, the first time she kissed a guy – things that you don’t think to ask your grandparents. But the way that they see life and values and ideals and the things that they can instill in you are valuable.”   

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This year my sister Stephanie will be like Miley Cyrus, who often celebrates her birthday on Thanksgiving. Steph turns 23 on her Thanksgiving birthday today.

Miley says, “I love it because then you’re able to have dinner with your family on your birthday. When some people don’t get to come together for their birthday, I get the opportunity to never miss all the family being there, so it’s really great. And I get better food, better cake because we all have to share, so it’s good.”

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Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles can’t wait to taste green bean casserole this holiday, but Kerry Washington is all about the turkey. “Turkey really does make you sleepy,” she tells me. “It has that chemical in it. What’s better than eating a big meal and then falling asleep on the couch? It’s fantastic. That’s the best thing about Thanksgiving – everybody’s dazed and confused after their meal.” But don’t expect Kerry to slave away in the kitchen. “When it comes to cooking, I make an excellent reservation.”

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Milla Jovovich, however, will be working overtime.

“I cook turkey and stuffing, but I make these amazing candied yams and it really sucks because I’m training right now and trying to get back into shape,” Milla says. “My trainer’s like ‘OK, one day you can do Thanksgiving.’ I’m like ‘what about leftovers?’”

Marcia Gay Harden and family – who have become vegetarians – may enjoy an organic turkey. “I never want to be strict – I never want to be one of those people who go ‘oh my God, I’m eating a turkey.’ I don’t believe that. I’ve eaten it before. I wear leather shoes. I don’t want to be a hypocrite.”

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What is Rihanna most thankful for this year? “I’m thankful to be alive and have my family and my friends around me,” the Umbrella singer tells me. “Being able to do stuff that I love to do and live my dream, and live it in a way I didn’t expect.”

30 Rock star Katrina Bowden is traveling. “My family and I always go down to visit my cousins in Tennessee,” she tells me. “We always drive thirteen hours, and it’s quite long.”

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Justine Bateman’s favorite part of Thanksgiving is eating dinner, but that’s not all. “I like the decorations for holidays as much as I like the holidays themselves,” she laughs.

Thanksgiving is on top of the list for Darius Rucker.

“Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because the eating – I love everything about it,” the Hootie and the Blowfish singer tells me. “Down South, we have macaroni and cheese and the stuffing and turkey and collard greens, okra soup and all the stuff that I love. I love Thanksgiving. Then you get three football games. What a great day! Thanksgiving’s a great day.”

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For Desperate Housewives star Dana Delany, it’s a time for pet peeves. “One that drives me crazy is that my brother seems to get all the leftovers. He grabs them first!”

Victoria’s Secret model Selita Ebanks will take part in the typical tradition. “Every Thanksgiving Day my mother decorates the house for Christmas – ever since I was a little girl it was like ‘get ready for Christmas.’ Christmas is the important holiday.”

Who’s getting up early for the Black Friday sales? That’s always a big deal in our home, but I’m always the late sleeper.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


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