As a dad-of-five, Chris O’Donnell has picked up a few tips of the trade when it comes to parenting. The NCIS star – who has kids Lily, 11, Chip, 10, Charles, 7, Finley, 4, and Maeve, 3, with his wife Caroline – talks to Hello! Canada about life in his very hectic home, and shares a few words of wisdom with his fellow famous father Matt Damon.
On days – and nights – with 5 kids: “Come home with me, I’ll show you. When the key goes in the door, they start running – the dog and everybody! It’s a race to get time in with them because they have to get to bed at a decent hour. Our kids are really good sleepers, but if someone wakes in the middle of the night, it’s not like, ‘Well, I did it last night…’ There’s no question – Caroline’s getting up. I’ve got to sleep. She’s real good about that. You need to let the expert do that. It’s hard work – sometimes I think I definitely got the easier job.”
On dad-of-four Matt Damon saying he only gets to sleep on the road: “Matt’s got to get somebody to teach those kids how to sleep. I mean, we went through that with the first one [Lily]. We would rock her to sleep at night and she cried. We would be up and be outside listening to her. Should we go in? Should we not? And then you kind of figure it out… You’ve got to let them cry it out for a couple of days. I’m telling you, you get them on track young and they’re fine.”
On leaving work behind: “Sometimes I’m tired. Or if there is a particularly long day, I’ll get a little frustrated. But it was too long of a day my kids are asleep, so they’re not going to experience that. It’s more my wife. It’s nothing a good bottle of red wine can’t cure.”
On signing on to family films likes Cats & Dogs: “A big part of doing the film for me is for my kids. I’ve got kids between [the ages of] three and 11. All I do is go see these kinds of films with them. I see more of this type of film than anything else.”
On being a “cool dad:” “My older daughter thinks I’m cool because she sees me on TV, and she’ll actually watch NCIS. The other kids? My little guy who is four is just now watching these Batman films and that sort of thing. So he’s really into that. It comes in different waves.”