Roma Downey, right, with her husband, Mark Burnett.
Roma Downey, right, with her husband, Mark Burnett. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Actress Roma Downey has had a vibrant career in Hollywood, but her life hasn't always been easy.

Downey's mother died unexpectedly when she was just 10 years old—a devastating event in the performer's life. Later, she faced uncertainty as she moved to the U.S. and found herself struggling to enter the entertainment industry.

Downey, who skyrocketed to success in CBS's "Touched by an Angel"—which ran from 1994 to 2003—discussed these life issues during a Sunday appearance on PureFlix.com's "Pure Talk," explaining that the loss of her mom left her with a "hole" that started to fill when she eventually had her own daughter.

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"I had this longing my whole life that had a great h-o-l-e," Downey said. "And yet I felt when I finally became a mother it was as if a 'w' had been put in front of that 'hole' and gave me a wholeness."

Downey noted, too, that she found a friend, mentor and "second mother" in "Touched by an Angel" co-star Della Reese. Reese, who died in November, struck up a strong bond with Downey, one that also helped to fill the void from her mother's death.

Downey, who shares her triumphs and struggles in her new book, Box of Butterflies: Discovering the Unexpected Blessings All Around Us, said that she believes God has always been present to guide her path, regardless of what she has faced.

"I really did decide to open up on the losses and the longings of my own heart," she said of her writings in the book. "God has met me every step of the way."

Downey said that she makes an effort to live her life "in gratitude" and that she is very "interested in people" and how human beings can "show up for one another" and offer support.

"I think when we share from the heart, we allow others to be comfortable with their own vulnerabilities," she said. "Everybody's got something that they feel vulnerable about."

She encouraged Christians to keep stepping up and showing love for others—and she spoke more generally about the need for kindness and compassion.

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"There needs to be a little more kindness brought into the dialogue at all levels of society, whether it's in our politics or on social media," Downey said.

Disagreeing with one another while exercising "kindness and grace" is essential, she argued. Find out more about Downey's life in her book, "Box of Butterflies: Discovering the Unexpected Blessings All Around Us."

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free, one-month trial here.

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