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The A-List Stars in Fatherhood

Hollywood isn’t exactly known for its commitment to family values, but surprisingly enough, there are some celebrities out there who are embracing the heavy lifting of marriage and family. And no, I’m not talking about the reality-show reconciliation of Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom, which is currently playing out on our televisions, tablets, and tabloid magazine covers. 

Believe it or not, there are actually people in the entertainment industry that seem to treat their marriage as something beyond part of their brand management or a plot twist in their publicly digested lives.  They’re engaged in the heavy lifting of marriage and parenthood, not for accolades and attention, but because they’re committed to their family. 

The actor Ryan Reynolds, for instance, became a dad for the first time in 2015. He and his wife Blake Lively have decided to raise their daughter far away from the glitter and glamour of Hollywood, and it sounds like his late nights now involve more potty-ing than partying. As he told GQ, “I have no problem waking up five times in the middle of the night and changing diapers, and as exhausted as you get, I have this stupid grin on my face all the time. And that’s not because I have a nanny or something like that. It’s just us right now, and I love it.”

My youngest are 10 now, but I vaguely remember similar nights where I would look sleepily into the eyes of my twin son and daughter as I changed their diaper or gave them a bottle (I vaguely remember because the first six months or so after our twins were born remain a sleepless blur to me). I’ve had that same stupid grin, and that same feeling of amazement and unconditional love that sweeps over you as your child falls asleep in your arms. A child remains the most incredible thing we can create, even with all of CGI in Hollywood. 

Just ask Chris Pratt, who’s starred alongside plenty of incredibly detailed CGI characters in Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World, but who’s biggest accomplishment is being Dad to his son Jack. I’ve done all kinds of cool things as an actor,” he told a crowd at the 2014 March of Dimes Celebration of Babies in 2014. “I’ve jumped out of helicopters and done some daring stunts and played baseball in a professional stadium, but none of it means anything compared to being somebody’s daddy.” 

This is a guy who’s gone from living in a van to becoming one of Hollywood’s hottest new stars, and he says that experience was small potatoes compared to the experience of sharing his son’s life with his wife, Anna Faris. That’s a powerful testimony, even if it’s not a presented as a pre-packaged, commercialized, and televised “family moment.” Actually, it’s more powerful because Pratt didn’t deliver his message in some on-camera confessional moment. His earnest extolling of the virtues of fatherhood was delivered without a trace of hipster irony at an event called the Celebration of Babies. While my kids and I may be looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy 2, I’m also looking forward to hearing more about the continuing adventures in fatherhood from men like Ryan Reynolds and Chris Pratt. While they might make a good living in front of the camera, their focal point is their family, and they seem to be getting the most out of life when the cameras stop rolling.   

Cam Edwards co-authored the newly released, Heavy Lifting: Grow Up, Get a Job, Start a Family, and Other Manly Advice, with Jim Geraghty.  Edwards hosts a daily radio show, Cam & Company, for NRA News.  Edwards resides in Farmville, Virginia, and enjoys rural life with his wife and children.

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