Is it a challenge to keep your kids grounded and give them a normal life?
If you're stable and grounded yourself, it really isn't that difficult. Will and I might not always be able to go to Disneyland or to the movies with the kids; we want them to see the reality of life and have a normal experience of having to stand in line and get tickets. But as far as who they are as individuals, it's not difficult.
You and Will have a foundation that helps children who live in Baltimore and Philadelphia, where you grew up. Do your kids get involved?
Oh, they have to! That's part of what we do as a family: Giving back is a must. At least once every three months, the kids visit an orphanage or a homeless shelter or a nursing home and sit down with the families and children. My kids are very willing to give things away because they understand that they have such abundance; they don't have to hoard. They choose things they've outgrown or have lost interest in and we collect them to donate to others. That's just part of our lifestyle. We also have a huge community of extended family and friends, so our home and our resources are used by a lot of people.
Do you and Will want more children?
No, my plate is very full. Trey is 12, I have a 15-year-old nephew and a 14-year-old goddaughter who live with us, I have Jaden and Willow, and I'm about to have another nephew who's 7 come and stay for a while. There are children in my family and in my community who need our love and assistance and attention.
Your house must be busy on the weekend!
All those kids also have their friends over, so we usually have at least eight children running around playing basketball or video games. Last weekend, we had a boys' night and took all the boys with us to screen one of Will's new movies. Our house is always active.
Is Will like his film persona? Audiences think of him as the greatest guy on earth.
Well, he is. He's a happy man. It's rare to find people who are truly happy. He's in sync with the universe, and he creates a lot of joy for a lot of people. It's not a gimmick -- he knows how to be happy.
What are your hopes for your children's future?
I just want to have happy kids who live with a sense of integrity. I have no control over what they decide to do or who they decide to marry. All I can do is help create a foundation so that they can know how to find happiness.
Copyright © 2005. Reprinted with permission from the March 2005 issue of Child Magazine.