Father’s Day is literally around the corner, and while it may be a bit too late to find the perfect gift, it is never too late to celebrate amazing celebrity dads doing the hard work of fatherhood (while still, somehow, looking like underwear models).
In honor of Father’s day, we’ve written out a list featuring 10 (well, 11 technically!) of our favorite celebrity dads. From Ryan Reynolds to Barack Obama to Prince Harry and beyond, these celebrity dads make fatherhood look good.
If you follow the Deadpool and Pokémon: Detective Pikachu actor’s Twitter, you already know why we pay respect here to the king of the celebrity dad jokes. Since the birth of his and Blake Lively’s first daughter James in 2014, and continuing through the addition of Ines two years later, Reynolds has used the social networking platform to great effect spouting one-liners about being a dad. These jokes are not so much of the traditional eye-rolling kind, but the weird, dark, desperate, sardonic, and probably sleep-deprived kind that somehow capture that special parent feeling of being heartfelt, harried and hysterical all at once. An example: “Being A Father Is The Single Greatest Feeling On Earth. Not Including Those Wonderful Years I Spent Without A Child, Of Course.”
But even though he cracks wise, and we thank him for it, he and Blakely seem very much invested in building their family: they recently announced they’re expecting Baby Number 3! On a more earnest parenting note, Reynolds said in a Marie Claire interview, “Not unlike most people [I’ve found] there is something of a relief to it, that you’re not the center of your own universe any more and there’s something nice about how trivial all those other little things you used to lay awake at night worrying about become. I think there’s something beautiful about that, and that’s not something I was expecting.”
There have been many POTUS dads in the White House, but there’s no one we love more than our dear old 44—dad jeans and all. Malia and Sasha were only 10 and 7 years old, respectively, in 2009 when Barack Obama assumed office. Over the eight years the Obamas were America’s First Family, we watched the sisters grow to become intelligent, well-spoken, independent and remarkable young women—the picture of grace and forbearance even under an annual barrage of bad dad turkey jokes.
As detailed in his 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father, Obama was raised largely without the presence of his own father, Barack Obama Sr., an experience that shaped his own views of fatherhood and the importance of being a present parent, both in his personal life and in his political initiatives. “As fathers, we need to be involved in our children’s lives not just when it’s convenient or easy, and not just when they’re doing well,” Obama told wrote in a letter to his daughters in 2009, “but when it’s difficult and thankless, and they’re struggling. That is when they need us most.” No matter which side of the aisle your political beliefs fall, you have to give it up for Barry as Father-in-Chief when he thanked his daughters at his farewell address saying, “You have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion…. Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad.”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
The Jumanji, Moana, and Ballers star may have first won fame and world titles crushing bods at the WWE, but he won our hearts cradling babes on his Instagram feed. There’s something about the tattooed arms of chiseled 6’ 5” man with biceps the circumference of your thighs gently cradling his and singer Lauren Hashian’s newborn daughter, Tiana Jia, tossing into the air his toddler Jasmine, or embracing his teenager Simone that just gets us every damn time.
The Rock proves the heart is truly the mightiest muscle, especially when it comes to being a dad. He plays beauty salon, he does daughter date nights, he sings lullabies, and as he says, “when #2 happens with my baby girl… I’m the #1 man for the job.”
Johnson, who was raised by his mother, has often noted that the closest people in his life have always been women, and he’s a vocal feminist. On Women’s Equality Day last year, he posted this message about his daughter Jasmine: “She can be anything she wants. She can sit at any table. She can trailblaze a path, while humbly and gratefully recognizing those before her who paved the way. She and her big sister, Simone and her baby sister, Tiana Gia will always have a strong voice and always make a positive impact. She can also just forcefully shove a buttery, delicious croissant in daddy’s mouth when daddy is on a very strict diet.”
There’s much to love about the family Hugh Jackman and Deborra Lee-Furness have made together. The Australian power couple has been together for more than 25 years and married since 1996. When the two were unable to conceive their own biological child, they asked their U.S. adoption agency to find them a child in most need of a home. Oscar arrived in 2000, followed his sister Ava in 2005, and the family has rarely, if ever, spent more than two weeks apart from one another since—a promise they try to keep no matter what on or where Jackman and Lee-Furness, both busy actors and producers, are working.
Jackman, who was one of five children raised by single dad Chris Jackman, has often used the word “destiny” in interviews to describe his and his wife’s decision road to adoption. In 2011, the actor told the Herald Sun, “The love for your children is so powerful. It’s different from the love for your partner. You can’t believe you have that capacity—you’d do anything for them and not even think about it.”
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka
Actor Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, A Series of Unfortunate Events) and chef David Burtka are often spotted, looking impeccably dressed, out on the town in New York City at the latest premiere or the hottest new eatery with their fraternal twins, eight-years-olds Harper and Gideon.
Harris and Burtka started their family in 2010 with the help of an egg donor and a surrogate. “We really had thought it through financially, emotionally, relationship-wise,” Harris told Oprah in 2012, “We didn’t just accidentally get pregnant and decide that now we need to make this work. These kids come into our world with nothing but love.” That sense of thoughtfulness, intentionality, and commitment have been a hallmark of Burtka and Harris’s parenting, though the two men have very different, but complementary parenting styles. “The older they get, the more I love being a dad,” Harris, who has always been honest about his struggles adjusting to fatherhood early on, told USA Today in a 2013 profile. “I’m all about reasoning. If they fall and are okay but crying, David will be the hugger, and I’ll be the ‘Show me where it hurts; let’s talk about it’ one.”
Harris, a magic enthusiast, even writes a middle-school series The Magic Misfits about a ragtag group of kid magicians that is meant to pass on lessons he hopes to instill as a parent. “I think our job as parents, as fathers, is being honest, constantly honest,” he said, discussing the theme of honesty in his first book. “We use our vocabulary very specifically so that when [Harper and Gideon] ask a question, we won’t lie. They’ll know that they can come to us for actual truths.”
Khaled Mohamed Khaled, or DJ Khaled as the mega-producer and social media celeb is known in the music industry, just dropped Father of Asahd, an entire album dedicated to his two-year-old son, whose name means lion in Arabic. “He inspires [me],” said Khaled in a recent NY Post piece, so much so that the toddler is credited as an executive producer on the project (Asahd’s second exec producer credit after 2017’s “Grateful”). Featuring no less than 29 guest performances from the likes of Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Cardi B, 21 Savage, John Legend, and the late Nipsey Hussle, the LP takes singing for the baby to a stratospheric new level.
Since his birth streamed live via Snapchat, little Khaled’s life has been well-documented in public, where he’s been spotted with everyone from Rihanna to Nas. He even has his own Instagram account. Whether or not you agree with Khaled’s very-public parenting of his firstborn or not, it’s clear this dad is smitten. “Asahd, for me, is the purest form of love. He’s my son and, like, everything I do is for him,” the hip hop producer went on to say, “As a father, my whole life changed. I walk different, I breathe different, I look different, I think different . . . He just brings this special joy and energy around me where I make sure everything is perfect because I am the father of Asahd.”
While we don’t know much just yet about what kind of father Prince Harry is to son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, born May 6, 2019, by all accounts the new dad is royally pumped to be a papa. Shortly after Prince Archie’s birth, Harry was spotted wearing black jacket embroidered with “I AM DADDY,” and swapping feels and stories with fellow parents at the Fifth Annual Invictus Games, an athletics competition he founded to support wounded veterans. A week later, The Sunday Times reported as front page news that royal sources had confirmed the Duke of Sussex was on “nappy duty.”
While the new parents have not made many public statements since the momentous expansion of their family, Prince Harry has been quoted as saying he wants to share parenting duties of the royal nipper with Duchess Meghan Markle with “absolute equality.” Ah, our prince in a shining baby carrier.
Late-night talk seems rich with likable dads. Jimmy Fallon penned a picture book Everything is Mama for his baby Winnie and documented the Evolution of Dad Dancing; Seth Meyers charmed us recounting the harried delivery of his son Ashe Olsen in 2016 and the even more harried delivery of second son Axel in 2018—in his apartment building’s lobby; Stephen Colbert, who is raising three teenagers and keeping a sense of humor about it all very dumbly and wisely, said, “You can’t spell ‘parentry’ without ‘try.’
But the chatty daddy we’re making note of here is Jimmy Kimmel, father of four. Why? Well, in 2017, Kimmel, the comedian known for convincing parents to make their children cry for yuks, opened up in a raw and real way to America on Jimmy Kimmel Live! about his and head writer Molly McNearney’s second child, Billy, who was born with a serious heart defect that required him to undergo open heart surgery at the tender age of three-days-old. Over the span of his 13-minute monologue that night, a clearly emotional Kimmel recounts the heartbreak, terror, hope and deep gratitude he felt throughout the course of the previous week—and then he makes the personal political with a heartfelt plea to protect the Affordable Care Act saying, “If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make… I saw a lot of families [at the hospital] and no parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. It just shouldn’t happen.” Billy, who was born in April, just celebrated his second birthday this spring.
“She wears me out and puts me in my place in her own way, but I absolutely love her and that’s my heart,” said actor Mahershala Ali, speaking to People about his and artist and musician Amatus Sami-Karim’s daughter, Bari Najma, born in 2017. “She’s absolutely grounding and it’s just beautiful.”
In the span of two whirlwind years, Ali has earned Best Supporting Actor Oscars for his roles in 2017’s Moonlight and 2018’s Green Book in quick succession, becoming only the second black man in the Academy’s history to win two Oscars (an honor he shares with Denzel Washington). And while the offers keep coming, Ali has said he’s stepping back after finishing True Detective to enjoy living back in Los Angeles, supporting his wife’s work and being together as a family.
“I think [parenthood] changes your relationship with time,” he said. “I just don’t have time to waste. You gotta be really deliberate with how you choose to spend your day because those are the moments you’re away from your child. If anything, I want to work in a more focused way and discover the right balance for my life.”
Since nearly forever, Hollywood’s George Clooney has claimed little interest in marriage, much less childrearing, but all that changed when Clooney married human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin in 2014. A little over two years later, he became a first-time father to twins Ella and Alexander at the age of 56 (apparently opting not to name them Casa and Amigos in honor of his tequila company). While it’s not unusual for men to have young children later in life, we applaud Clooney’s openness about the unique challenges and expectations of entering parenthood in one’s fifties.
“Is there a perfect age to become a parent?” said the filmmaker during an interview for the UK’s Daily Mail. “Look, I left it so late that I’m the last person to talk to about child-raising because I’m no expert. All I can do is play catch-up…” He continued, “I am at last experiencing what most people in the world get to experience, which is the incredible amount of love you gain when you have two children you are responsible for.”
And those are just 10 of our favorite celebrity dads! There are many, many more, of course, so maybe we’ll have to do another roundup of celebrity dads in the future.
Did we leave out any of your favorite celebrity dads in our Father’s Day celebration list? Let us know your fav celebrity dads in the comment below!
Teri Duerr is a writer and editor (and mother of two) based out of Brooklyn, New York.
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