NCIS: Los Angeles star Chris O’Donnell has joined with The ConAgra Foods Foundation’s Hunger-Free Summer program to raise awareness for kids who depend on free or reduced lunch meals during the school year. Now in its fourth year, the initiative has delivered over 2.5 million meals and snacks to children struggling with hunger over the summer. The goal is to reach at least 25 percent more children in need during the summer than before, over the course of five years.
We spoke with O’Donnell about the program, his career, and what it’s like to raise five children.
How do you manage raising so many kids? Do you ever have peace and quiet? On a normal day, peace and quiet doesn’t begin until the last one goes to sleep, which gets later and later as they get older. My wife Caroline and I do try to find time for just the two of us, run out for a glass of wine or a quick dinner. The noise feels like the new normal at this point. If it gets too quiet, that usually means trouble.
What’s the best part of having a big family?
In terms of our children, we try to encourage each of them to explore their individual interests since they are each so unique. It is fun watching them as they dabble in all types of sports and extracurricular activities.
You took time off from your acting career to focus on your family. Was that a scary decision to make?
I had a couple moments early in my career where it was more about re-examining my life. I started young and had a lot of success out of the gate. I would go movie, to movie, to movie, and would never see the people I worked with again. I was really getting burnt out on a personal, emotional level. And that’s just not who I am. The road I wanted to go down was to be married and have a family.
Did raising kids ever get easier for you? By the time you were on the fifth baby, did you feel like you had a handle on things?
I think going from two to three kids was the most difficult, but it does get easier. The older kids start to behave and help out, and we are more experienced as well. We don’t stress out over small things that may have freaked us out in our first couple years as parents.
What’s your best advice for busy parents out there?
From my perspective, it’s important for parents to set a good example for their kids, and impart on them that they should think about and help others.
Why is the Hunger-Free Summer Program particularly important to you?
I was shocked to learn that one in five children in the U.S. faces food insecurity—and that the situation only becomes more worrisome during the summer months. It can be an invisible issue, so as a father of five, I want to do something to help.
Want to help O’Donnell and the Hunger-Free Summer initiative? Check out www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com and watch O’Donnell’s message below. For every video viewed and shared, ConAgra will donate one meal to Feeding America, the country’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.
In honor of Father’s Day this Sunday, we’re taking a look at some of Hollywood’s leading men from father-of-two Freddie Prinze, Jr., to new dads Nick Lachey and Bill Rancic, to dad-of-one Richie Sambora, and father-of-five Chris O’Donnell.
We’re highlighting 16 proud papas who share their upcoming Father’s Day plans, the joys of fatherhood, and their cherished family memories.
Rockstar papa Richie Sambora, 53, and his ex-wife, actress Heather Locklear, are parents to 15-year-old daughter Ava.
The Bon Jovi rocker opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about the joys of fatherhood and his plans on Father’s Day.
“I’m very lucky because to me, every day that I spend with my daughter is Father’s Day,” the proud papa gushed. “She is my diamond. No matter what happens there is a joyful energy around us. My favorite thing in the world is her.”
He went on to talk about his late father, whom he continues to cherish.
“I celebrate by thinking about my dad and all the gifts he’s given to me,” he shared. “He was non-judgmental, good natured and had good humor and morality. I also celebrate by going out on a daddy-daughter date.”
What has fatherhood taught the award-winning guitarist?
“A lot of things to mention here but, I guess truly, how to love unconditionally,” Richie said. “I’ve learned to take responsibility, be flexible, and have respect for my parents for what they’ve given me.”
The Sister, Sister alum, 34, spoke about her hands on hubby.
“My hubby has a lot of patience, and I knew that because he has a lot of patience with me,” she laughed. “He has so much patience with Aden and will do anything for him and his family. He definitely puts us first, I feel it and I know it.”
Tia Mowry-Hardrict & husband Cory Hardrict:
Tamera’s twin sister, Tia Mowry-Hardrict, and her husband Cory Hardrict are parents to nearly 2-year-old son Cree.
What makes her hubby such a great dad? “Aww, that’s such a great question!” Tia gushed. “No one has ever asked me that.”
“What makes my husband a good dad is that he’s very aware,” she added. “Let’s say I’m exhausted from working all day. He’ll see that and say, ‘You know what, Tia? I’ll go ahead and take care of Cree and give him a bottle when he wakes up in the middle of the night. Why don’t you go to the other room and get a few extra hours of sleep?’ He’ll also say, ‘Alright Tia, go take a nap. I’m going to take Cree to the park.’”
She added: “I think ‘considerate’ is the best word to describe my hubby. That’s what makes him a good dad. He’s aware and he also takes the time to play with Cree. He’s very proactive, which I think is awesome.”
“We always say that every day is Father’s Day and every day is Mother’s Day so we don’t make a big deal out of that specific day,” the Buffy alum shared. “And we always spend the weekends together as a family anyway.”
The actor-model, 41, recently talked about the joys of fatherhood.
“Everything!” Antonio gushed on what he loves about being a dad. “It’s a constant responsibility—everything that I do, every move that I make, is for the well-being of my family. All of my decisions are made with them in mind, and they are the most important part of my life.”
Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood stars Bill Horn and Scout Masterson (a.k.a. The Guncles) are parents to 3-year-old daughter Simone.
The proud TV dads spoke about their upcoming Father’s Day plans.
“In past years, Simone and her Nana took us out to brunch,” Scout said. “Since Simone is 3-years-old now, we’d like to do something a little more fun – like mini golfing!”
He added: “We feel so blessed to be dads, that everyday truly feels special to us.”
In honor of Father’s Day, The Good Mother actress Helen Slater dished to us about her devoted husband, Robert Watzke.
When asked what makes her hubby such a great day, she shared, “His devotion to the family, sense of humor, and kind nature,” she also said. “It helps that he’s from Iowa City [laughs].”
The Client List’s Elisabeth Röhm - who raises 5-year-old Easton with fiancé Ron Anthony – recently had this to say about her partner in life.
“Easton is Ron’s top priority, and that is obvious,” she shared. “He shows her plentiful love and affection, and it’s clear that everything he does is for her and our family. She knows it as well, and I think that’s important.”
The Scent of a Woman star, 42, told us what Father’s Day means to him.
“It means spending time with my family,” he said. “I also plan to play golf without a trace of guilt. Some of my most memorable gifts from my kids have been homemade cards – my kids putting their feelings into words.”
Melissa Rycroft & Tye Strickland:
Reality star Melissa Rycroft and husband Tye Strickland are parents to 2-year-old daughter Ava.
The Bachelor alum, 30, boasted about her “hands on” hubby.
“Oh my gosh, I lucked out on the daddy department,” she gushed. “I have to say, the fact that he’s hands on, that he wants to be involved, that he enjoys daddy daughter time, is just such a blessing. I know that I’m very, very lucky. Just seeing him with her and seeing how she responds to him, it definitely makes you fall in love a little bit more.”
The singer-songwriter, 52, opened up about what makes her famous hubby, 56, a great dad.
“He is good at lightening the mood. He enjoys teasing, and I think that’s a good thing,” she shared.
“I’ll tell you what makes him a good stepfather,” Amy continued. “He has three stepchildren and he gave them all their space and didn’t pretend like he was their choice. He was their mommy’s choice, and slowly over the years they grew to love him.”
The Everwood star, 45, spoke about fatherhood, the favorite role of his life.
“[Father's Day] means celebrating my favorite (tied with husband!) role in this life,” he gushed. “Hopefully it means breakfast in bed and a relaxing day with the family. Every day with these too beautiful boys feels like Fathers’ Day to me.
Nick Lachey, 39, and wife Vanessa Lachey, 32, welcomed their first child, son Camden, on September 12.
“It has changed me for sure. It literally affects everything you do, every decision you make,” Nick said. “Your priorities completely shift and your kids instantly become the most important thing in the world. I think it’s made me a more patient person as well.
“My greatest joy is waking him up every day,” he added. “Seeing that little boy look up and smile at me every morning is the perfect way to start my day. The biggest challenge is having enough time in the day to do everything I need to do.”
Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton became a dad earlier this year when he welcomed hissonMarioArmando Lavandeira, III, orPerez Hilton Jr., on February 16.
The first-time dad gushed about the joys of fatherhood.
“Being a father is awesome and everything I could have hoped for and more,” he shared.
Giuliana Rancic & Bill Rancic:
Bill Rancic and wife Giuliana Rancicwelcomed their first child, son Duke, on August 29.
Giuliana shared about celebrating Bill’s first Father’s Day.
“I want to plan a very special Father’s Day since this will be Bill’s first,” Giuliana said.
She added: “Since we’re spending Mother’s Day in LA, I’d love to plan an exciting weekend in Chicago – Bill’s hometown – with both of my boys. Depending on the weather, I’d love to start off with a run with Bill and Duke in the jogger along the lakefront. It would be really nice to walk to the zoo, some museums, and then top the night off with dinner at RPM Italian.”
Jewel & Ty Murray:
Singer-songwriter Jewel and husband, rodeo cowboy Ty Murray, are parents to nearly 2-year-old son Kase.
The Grammy Award-winning singer happily shared this about her “dedicated” and “hands on” husband.
“My husband’s a very dedicated dad,” she gushed. “He doesn’t want to work or do anything but stay at home and help with the baby. He’s a very hands on dad, which is a great thing about him.”
The television personality, 51, talked about how fatherhood has changed him.
“It has increased my patience by a factor of about fifteen, and it has also made me increasingly aware of the problems I have with my own selfishness,” Andrew shared. “When I am just thinking about me, I am not being very useful to my son or my wife. Having a child is a supreme motivator in that regard.”
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