The actress is mom to daughters Naleigh and Adalaid plus son Joshua
Katherine Heigl is opening up about her decision to raise her kids in Utah.
While appearing on Thursday's episode of Today with Hoda & Jenna, the Firefly Lane star, 44, chatted with co-hosts Hoda Kotb, 59, and Jenna Bush Hager, 41, about raising her kids in Utah and reflected on the support she received from her own mother while coming up in Hollywood.
"She took time away from her beautiful ranch in Utah to come hang out with us today," Bush Hager began, referring to Heigl.
"People might see you and think, ‘I bet you live in Hollywood, where most people live in your profession.’ But I love where you lay down your life," Kotb told Heigl.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
"Yes, me too," Heigl said.
"What made you decide to do that? And what do you get out of it?" Kotb asked.
"You know, it’s odd. I think some people are mountain people and I think some people are beach people," said Heigl. "I’m sort of a mountain person and have always been that way. And my mom realized, because we went out to LA when I was 17 and hustled and hustled for years, right? And I think she realized at a certain point that I needed somewhere to escape to and kind of clear my head and that grounded me."
"So we started trying to find, and dreaming about trying to find, that perfect place. And we found Utah and then I started making enough money to be able to afford to that."
"And we built these houses in Utah that we expected to be more kind of vacation homes, or when I could get away from the hustle and all the work. And we just started spending more and more time there. And it was my husband who finally made it his primary residence on his driver’s license and stuff. And we went. ‘Yeah, I think this is our primary residence. We live here now,' " the actress told Kotb and Bush Hager.
"And you’re raising three kids, as we mentioned. Does it feel like the perfect place? You must be at peace," Kotb asked. Heigl is mom to daughters Naleigh, 13, and Adalaide, 11, as well as son Joshua, 6, whom she shares with husband Josh Kelly.
"I think it does and for me, for sure, I think my children sometimes wish they were in more of a hubbub exciting city," Heigl explained. "But I said to them, ‘I understand that you are sacrificing that in some ways but I still think it was the right choice for our family because I am more centered and aware of what’s going on in your life.'"
"It’s a smaller town, I know who your friends are, who you are spending time with, I know what’s up with school. It’s just easier to keep my finger on the pulse," she said.
"Sounds like you’re a great mom. … Your mom’s in studio with us today. What kind of an influence did she have. Are you sitting here because of her cheering you on?" Kotb asked the actress.
"Yes. And I feel sometimes so guilty in a way that I had that and so many young actresses don’t. And not that they don’t have mothers who love and support them, but my mom literally gave up every other part of her life to come and support me and by my hammer," the star said.
"And as a young woman in Hollywood, it’s very difficult to be your own hammer. So having that and having somebody be the bad guy and lay the law down and protect me in my best interest was huge. I don’t know who I would be if I had gone alone and I don’t know what would have happened if I had gone alone or how much I would have compromised."
"It’s like, to have somebody who can throw a boundary before you know as a woman how to do that…," Bush Hager trailed off.
"You don’t know, as a woman when you’re young, know to do that. You don’t know how to say no. It’s really hard and people don’t like it," Heigl said.
"Do you try to teach your girls that?" Bush Hager asked.
"Yes, and I think it's interesting because it’s oddly easier for their generation. My 11-year-old is all, can I say this, piss and vinegar. She is spicy. And my almost 15-year-old, which is blowing my mind. My freshman in high school—" Heigl said as Bush Hager cut in to say, "What, how did that happen?"
"I don’t know! I don’t know how it happened. And everyone says, ‘Oh, it goes so fast, it goes so fast.’ And it doesn’t just feel that way," Heigl replied..
"It is, it does. So you can only hold on to it as much as you can. And don’t beat yourself up too much if you feel like you’re not present enough. It just...it goes," she said, snapping her fingers.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.