Julianna Margulies revealed at an Emmy roundtable hosted by The Hollywood Reporter that two actresses were in the running for the lead of “The Good Wife” before her: Ashley Judd had passed on the role, and producers told Margulies that if Helen Hunt passed on the role as well, it would go to her. “I wanted to hate it,” she said about the script, based on that unfortunate introduction. Clearly, Hunt did pass on the project, and television history was made; the show was critically lauded (USA Today called it “broadcast’s best drama” in 2012) and lasted for seven seasons.
In 2017, Hunt was asked by a caller to BravoTV’s “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” if she ever regretted turning “The Good Wife” down. “It obviously was meant to go to the actress that it went to, what with her being brilliant. I had a daughter, I wanted time with her. What can I say? Yes. Yes!” Hunt said. “The most successful things I’ve ever done were turned down by someone else…It all happens, hopefully, the way it’s supposed to.”
Margulies, for her part, has always been very complimentary of those involved in “The Good Wife” and her experience on it. Referring to writers Michelle and Robert King, she told EW in 2021 in an interview for her book, “The Kings are brilliant and they wrote a character so layered and so rich, and I don’t think they realized how deep it was for me.” She called “The Good Wife”‘s protagonist one of “the richest, I think, characters on television.”