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Woody Harrelson knows the challenges and joys of raising kids.
The actor and his wife, Laura Louie, have three daughters ― Deni, Zoe and Makani. Over the years, he’s shared glimpses into his home life in a number of interviews.
In honor of his birthday, here are 10 quotes about parenthood from Harrelson.
On The Power Of Parenthood
“I remember my daughter Deni coming along, and she was so pure and caring of everybody and everything. And somehow, this little being managed to get around all the obstacles ― the gun turrets, the walls, the moats, the sentries ― that were wrapped around my heart. My heart at that time needed her. I think it’s the best thing going, parenthood.”
“I have a few regrets, but my primary one is that I feel like I’m away from home too much and not getting enough time with the kids. We used to homeschool the first two, which I guess is another way of saying that we didn’t worry about their education. I always feel like they learn more by just hanging with me and going places. But no, they eventually wanted to go to school, and that really put a big wedge between our, you know, hang time.”
On His Kids’ Movie Tastes
“My little girl Makani, she’s 7, and I asked her the other day what her favorite movie was honestly. She said [my movie] ‘Free Birds.’ Of course, I had asked her every other day before that and sent her to bed without dinner ― yes, she got to eat that night.”
On His Family’s Influence
“Before, I’d been gregarious ― someone who enjoyed the company of others. But during ‘Cheers,’ the pressure of people that I didn’t know constantly wanting to talk to me made me recoil and become less outgoing. It had quite a negative impact. I went through a period of arrogance and having my head up my ass. But, luckily, this life and my family ― my wife and my daughters ― they kind of loved me into a better human being.”
On His Daughters’ Character
“I am a great example for my daughters for what not to do. But they are strong and tough, they see through falseness. At the same time, they are optimistic and open.”
On Dad Fails
“I don’t ever remember having a dad fail. I mean, literally, it’d be weird to say I had a perfect record. My dad fails have to do with if I’m working and can’t go to a play they’re in, that drives me crazy. I have one coming up where my daughter’s Ophelia in ‘Hamlet’ and … it’s a problem, but I think I’m going to work it out. I think I’m going to be able to do it.”
On What He Wants For His Kids
“It would have been great if I’d been as easy-going as Woody in ‘Cheers’ ― I
loved that show ― but I wasn’t. I have taught my daughters to experience
life and not be constantly making judgements, which held me back.”
On School Small Talk
“I like to think of myself as cool and calm and collected and really a good communicator, but I gotta say, sometimes I’m just absolutely terrible. If there’s some pressure, you know what I mean? If it’s a thing where I feel like, Uh, I have to … Say, my daughter’s school. I’ll just be standing there with some people that I don’t really know very well, or just very peripherally, and trying to make conversation. Maybe I try too hard or I … You know what I mean? I don’t know if you ever have that.”
On Work/Life Balance
“For a long time, they’d come with me wherever I went. Then they got into a really good school, and that was the end of traveling everywhere with Daddy. It was kind of unfair to them and me. But on the other hand, I could have been working less.”
“No one who’s as lucky as I am has a right to be cynical. Luckily, I have my family, which makes me hopeful. What they do comes more from the heart than the head. And there’s a young generation growing up and they are coming from a very pure perspective. It’s not connected to economics. These kids give me hope that finally, a change will happen.