updated 05/04/2012 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 05/04/2012 AT 11:15 AM ET
When news broke in December that Debra Messing and her husband of 10 years, Daniel Zelman, were divorcing – and then that Messing was dating her Smash costar, Will Chase, who is also going through a divorce – the actress said she was prepared for the backlash.
But she’s learned to not let it get the better of her.
“I’m trying to keep things as simple as possible – embracing saying ‘no’ and being okay with people being unhappy with me,” Messing, 43, tells Ladies Home Journal.
“It’s a very long time,” Messing admits about her marriage. “And I am at peace with the journey we ve had. I feel like the 20 years we had together has been a huge success. And despite the fact that everything is changing, I think everyone is thriving.
That includes Messing and Zelman’s 8-year-old son, Roman, who Messing says is still their number one priority.
“Every thought is dictated by what s best for our son,” she said. “We are completely on the same page in that regard. We are dear friends.”
Messing said she and Zelman didn’t grow apart, but admits that she now has conflicting feelings on lifelong partnerships.
“I think the institute of marriage is a noble thing,” she says in the interview. “I think the idea of a partner for life is incredibly romantic. But now we’re living to 100. A hundred years ago people were dying at age 37. ‘Til death do us part was a much different deal.”