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“I’m so sorry!” Jessica Alba is late – and looks frazzled. “My washing machine exploded and my 3-year-old fell down the stairs wearing my high heels. We had to have a chat about why we don’t wear heels on the stairs.”

Description: Jessica Alba and her children

It’s a sun-soaked Santa Monica, California, day at the offices of the Honest Company (honest.com), Jessica’s latest project: a nostalgic monthly diaper and baby wipe delivery service that’s anything but old-school. The plant-based disposable diapers and other products contain no toxic chemicals – and they’re cute with a capital C! “I don’t know why people think natural products have to be ugly,” says the star of both Fantastic Four and Spy Kids.

Description: Jessica Alba At the park with her children

As I listen to her talk about baby gear, I’m reminded that she and her husband, producer Cash Warren, greeted their second daughter Haven a mere five months earlier. For a new mom, Jessica looks, well, a-ma-zing. Her hair is pulled back into a high bun, showing off the chiseled cheekbones and pouty lips that have helped land her on lists reserved for some of the world’s most beautiful people. As friendly chatter ensues, she slowly reveals how a laundry load of clothes inspired her to launch a biz for new moms just like her.

Grams knows best

Description: Jessica was pregnant

When Jessica was pregnant with her older daughter, Honor, she turned to her own parents for advice. “My mom said, ‘You have to wash all the baby’s clothes in this [certain brand of] detergent because that’s baby detergent,’” she recalls. “But when I used it, I had a massive allergy attack. I had hives on my skin and I was sneezing. No way was I putting this on a newborn. If it was making me feel this bad, imagine how an infant with no immune system would react!”

Shortly thereafter, “I bought these brown diapers,” she says. “They weren’t cute, but I said, ‘You know what, though, they’re natural.’ Then I found out that the inside of the diaper had the same petroleum-based chemicals as the other diapers. I put a brown diaper on my baby for nothing!”

Jessica wasn’t always re-carpet-ready

If Jessica’s motivated by a desire to protect her kids’ health, she’s also spurred on by painful memories of her childhood. It’s hard to believe it looking at her now – in slim leggings, combat boots and an oversize top, she’s the very picture of fitness – but she spent her earliest years in and out of hospitals. “I had asthma and allergies that were so severe, my throat would sometimes close,” she shares. “I had a collapsed lung.” Before she was 10, she’d had everything from a kidney operation to pneumonia and appendicitis.

Today she says she eats mostly organic and fresh foods and considers her triple nonfat latte her biggest indulgence – it’s not that hard to figure out why she looks so good. She gently steers Honor toward smart choices too. “I give her flavored sparkling water,” she says. “She thinks that it’s soda. I told her that ‘brown soda’ is only for adults, and she believes it!”

Sometimes honestly is overrated

If you’ve picked up a tabloid recently, you know paparazzi follow this star’s every move. “If Honor’s like, ‘What are they doing?’ I don’t want her to have anxiety,” Jessica says. “So I’m like,” ‘Oh, nothing. They‘re just taking pictures. They do that to everyone. Isn’t that silly?’ And then that’s it. It’s a non-issue. Cash and I just ignore them.”

You’d think she’d leap to correct every lie printed about her or cringe at the criticisms, but “No, I really don’t care as long as it doesn’t affect my family and their happiness,” she says. “Whether it’s true or false, I won't say anything. I think it’s just going to add fuel to the fire. My mom’s like. ‘It’s not true! That’s an outright lie!’ I tell her, ‘Yeah, but if I come our and say that, then it’s going to be circulated again.’”

Her girls = true happiness

Description: Her girls = true happiness

“The biggest surprise of motherhood is just how secondary everything else is,” Jessica says. “Before, I was always so focused on my career. Now nothing is more important to me than my kids and their well-being.”

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