These Celebrity Dads Put Hollywood to Shame: Five Stars Who Model Sacrificial Fatherhood 

Jordan Estabrook - 14 Jun 2024

Fatherhood begins at conception, and it’s a role men should take seriously.  

As the U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2023, 17.8 million children (about the population of New York), nearly one in 4, live without a biological, step, or adoptive father. The less a father is involved, the more likelihood their children will engage in deviant or criminal behavior. Fatherless children make up roughly 70% of children in state institutions, are more likely to abuse drugs, and are four times more likely to live in poverty compared to two-parent children.  

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Hollywood doesn’t provide the model for success, as fame and money often swallow children whole. However, for some celebrity dads, life is more than being an A-list actor, providing for their family, and doing what they love – they also take the role of father seriously. Even though Hollywood is notoriously known for bizarre and messed up relationships, here are five Hollywood dads who publicly promote parenting, bask in fatherhood, and strive to keep a secure, stable home.  

Ryan Gosling  

Before Ryan Gosling was giving “Kenergy,” he was giving “dad energy.” Gosling and Eva Mendes have been in a committed relationship since September 2011 when they met on set of The Place Beyond the Pines. He described that pretending to be a family on set made him want to be a father and build a family.  

“I wasn’t thinking about kids before I met her, but after I met Eva, I realized that I just didn’t want to have kids without her,” he told CQ in an interview. “I didn’t really want it to be pretend anymore. I realized that this would be a life I would be really lucky to have.” 

Since then, he and Mendes have had two daughters born in 2014 and 2016. Mendes credits teamwork to Gosling working on set while she works at home to take care of their children.  

When he won a Golden Globe for La La Land in 2017, he praised Mendes for her dedication to their family and her brother fighting cancer as she was pregnant with their second.  

Chris Hemsworth 

The Australian actor best known for his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as Thor, God of Thunder, is known to his children as a surfer dad and living jungle gym.  

Hemsworth married Spanish model and actress Elsa Pataky in a whirlwind romance in 2008 and have since had three children, a daughter and twin sons. In 2018, he did an interview with The Father Hood publication where writer Andrew McUtchen described Hemsworth as “the celebrity taking fatherhood more seriously than any famous guy I’ve ever met.”  

When asked about how he wants to be remembered as a father, Hemsworth replied: “It’s just to be present…I feel like when you look around these days every second person’s got their head in their phone. Your own kids are saying: ‘Dad look at this’, and you’re like ‘Yeah, that’s cool’,” he says, pretending to wave his with his kid away with his head bent over an imaginary phone.”  

He also described how differently he operates as a father supposed to when he was single. ‘ 

“It’s all about you before kids,” Hemsworth says. “And then you have children, and you still try to hang onto that, you say ‘I am who I am’. And then it goes out the window. A lot of my decisions now are based on how things are going to affect the family. What’s the location the film shoots in?” 

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However, Hemsworth revealed in 2022 that he inherited two copies of the APOE4 gene, one from his mother and one from his father, which makes it eight to ten times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, he’s taken more time off from acting to spend time with his family.  

Ryan Reynolds 

The funny man of Hollywood, best known for his role in Deadpool, found love and family in his second marriage to actress Blake Lively, who he wed in 2012. Since then, he and Lively have four children, and he has made much heartwarming, yet funny, public remarks about his undying love for his children.  

“Being a father is the single greatest feeling on earth,” Reynolds wrote on Twitter in 2016. “Not including those wonderful years I spent without a child, of course.” 

In a 2015 interview on The David Letterman Show, he stated boldly: 

“I would take a bullet for you (Lively). I could never love anything as much as I love you.’ I would say that to my wife. And the second I looked in that baby’s eyes, I knew in that exact moment that if we were ever under attack, I would use my wife as a human shield to protect that baby.” 

Apparently, Lively thinks Reynolds is the best dad ever, as her speech talking about Reynolds as a dedicated father went viral. As Lively honored Reynolds, who earned the 36th American Cinematheque Award, Reynolds was beaming as he teared up.

“Now, I am his home, and our girls are his home. And just like that 19-year-old boy, he races home,” said Lively. “Whether it’s across the globe or a meeting across the street, he is hard wired to get home.” 

Matthew McConaughey 

Texan actor Matthew McConaughy married his wife Camila Alves in 2012, and since then has had three children. While he has many acting accolades under his belt, including The Lincoln Lawyer and Interstellar, his most proud accomplishment is his children.  

“Having children, I know, has made me a better artist and a better actor,” said McConaughey to PEOPLE. “Kids see things for the first time all the time. Their questions are innocent. I’ve become a better storyteller because I have kids.” 

He also said that he “can’t think of anything more important” than fatherhood. To better raise his children, he moved away from Hollywood, California, and back to Texas.  

Denzel Washington  

Denzel Washington is an “acting relic” of sorts, having been in film, theatre, and television for over 40 years. He met his wife Pauletta Pearson on the set of Wilma and married in 1985, celebrating over 40 years of marriage and four adult children. Washington has been focal about the importance of fatherhood, as he once stated in an interview:  

“… And a duty to be fathers not to just make babies. But to be real fathers. And you can’t expect any good to come to you if you don’t visit any good on your son or your daughter. So be a man.” 

Specifically, he’s spoken on the importance of Black fathers being there for their children, which he caught flack for from more liberal, abortion-minded media.

Creator: Nathan Congleton | Credit: TODAY

“It starts at the home,” Washington told the New York Daily News. “It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure. So, you know, I can’t blame the system. It’s unfortunate that we make such easy work for them.” 

When speaking about marriage, the stable foundation for their children, he said “There is no secret to the perfect marriage. I have been married 27 years to Pauletta. Everybody has their ups and downs; we’ve had ours. It’s hard work, you know. But we made a commitment. A spiritual foundation helps everything ― marriage, work, peace of mind.” 

While Hollywood holds an anti-family, anti-values culture, these celebrity dads are a bright beacon of hope for dads in Hollywood, especially Nick Cannon, and the nation should look up to and take notes.  

Students for Life of America (SFLA) admonishes the sacrifice of all fathers, whether it’s for a long or short time, whether it’s through adoption or birth. Our goal is to also educate people about the horrors of abortion and encourage those who work hard to love and celebrate life.  

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