In 1997, when LeAnn Rimes was just 14, she starred in her first Christmas movie, Holiday In Your Heart. Saturday night at 8 p.m. on the Hallmark Channel, she's starring in her second holiday movie, It's Christmas Eve, which she also executive-produced. LeAnn says she really needed to see herself in a Christmas movie where she isn't a teenager.
"That was one of my motivations for this," she laughs. "I mean, Holiday in Your Heart...they play it every holiday, over and over again! And finally, one day I was like, 'You know what? I think it’s time for a new movie where I’m not 14!'"
"[Hallmark and I]...had a meeting of the minds...and they were super open for me to be able to create the story that I wanted to create," LeAnn tells ABC Radio.
That story finds LeAnn playing Eve, a school superintendent who must solve her hometown's school budget crisis. She decides to cut the music education program...until she meets the school's music teacher, Liam, a single dad to daughter Abby.
The theme of blended families was important for LeAnn to include: She's married to actor Eddie Cibrian and is stepmom to his two kids.
"It just needs to be spoken about more. We have more blended families in this world than we actually do blood-related families," she says.
And while LeAnn admits she hasn't watched many of Hallmark's Christmas movies, she knows they've got quite the following.
"People are obsessed!" she laughs. "And I love that...you really realize how much people love the holidays, and how in need they are of that whimsical fairy tale."
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