Joey Fatone‘s youngest daughter is 11-year-old Kloey, who lives with an autism spectrum disorder.
In a new interview, Joey speaks on how his experience parenting his special needs daughter has “opened up” his mind to new perspectives.
Both Joey and Kloey spoke with People last week about an exciting event the tween was a part of.
Last Thursday night, Kloey made her catwalk debut taking part in the Runway of Dreams Foundation’s drive-in adaptive fashion show in Miami — joining over 40 other models, all of who have a disability or difference. And of course, Joey emceed the event.
What was her favorite part you ask?
“I get to miss school — the best thing ever,” Kloey responded with a huge grin.
Joey went on to share how he has dealt with being a special needs dad.
“Basically, it’s thinking outside the box that makes things work and connect for (Kloey),” he explained. “You know, it’s been challenging every once and a while, but it’s actually opened up my mind. I’ve learned a lot of patience over the years.”
In addition, he is excited how mainstream brands are including neurodivergent-wear.
“The things that are coming out now — even the sneakers that are adaptive for people who may not be able to tie their own sneakers, they can put their feet right in — I think it just gives everybody a walk of life just to have cool clothes, let’s be real,” he shared.
Joey is also dad to 19-year-old Briahna.
He shares his children with ex-wife Kelly Baldwin. The former couple divorced in 2019 after more than 15 years of marriage. Just last year, Joey admitted to Us Weekly how he didn’t show up as he should when it came to parenting responsibilities.
“Something that I have learned … (is you have to) give each spouse a chance to kind of recharge their batteries,” he explained. “I never noticed that when I was younger because I was always traveling with NSYNC. My ex was always with the kids, and it was always, ‘Well, the kids did this and this and that,’ and (I was) always like, ‘Yeah, yeah, but you can deal with it.'”
But now that he’s parenting on his own, he sees that “it’s not that easy,” and how everyone should make time for themselves. “We all need downtime to ourselves,” he said.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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