Sterling K. Brown Discusses Fatherhood On Screen vs. IRL
The 'This Is Us' star never fails to impact others whether he's in character or authentically himself.
On-and-off-screen, actor Sterling K. Brown is a family man through and through. The father-of-two is highly respected for his craft—especially his role as Randall Pearson in “This Is Us”—although Brown is the first to admit that parenting onscreen is easier than IRL. “I can always give them back to their real parents. Also, you always get the best behavior from other people’s kids,” he told Parents.com.
But, beyond his TV character (one you can’t help but adore) Brown is a thoughtful, intelligent, passionate individual who never fails to speak to the public with substance and purpose—often times regarding his own family unit. Whether it be a moving award acceptance speech or an interview, the man of honor manages to shift the spotlight to acknowledge his wife, Ryan Michelle Bathe, who he once called, “The best scene partner a brother's ever had,” and his young boys.
After becoming a father, “Everything’s just deeper,” for Brown in the way that parenthood influences his performances. “I know one day, when they’re old enough, my children will see my body of work, and I hope they’re pleased with what they see,” Brown explained. “They also have a tremendous sense of play that is awesome to be in the presence of. What they do naturally is what I attempt to recreate in front of the camera.”
In fact, Brown’s legacy is already being praised for impacting his devoted fan-base. He is often greeted in passing by strangers who credit his role on “This Is Us” for giving them the strength and guidance to make huge life decisions. “It’s why I do it. Never underestimate the power of a story well told. It can entertain, educate, and edify. It can inspire us to make the world a better place, and become better versions of ourselves. I couldn’t be prouder to play Randall, and to be a part of ‘This Is Us’.”
In the same way that fatherhood has impacted his performances—Brown’s career has influenced his parenting style. “As an actor and dad, I know the importance of creating a safe space for kids to experience art and explore their imagination. It gives them an outlet to create and a sense of validation that their unique perspective of the world is important.”
This is a way of life Brown not only wishes for his own kids, but all kids. Just this year Brown proudly partnered with Clorox and the Thrive Collection—a nonprofit for youth arts education—where he and community volunteers got hands-on in cleaning up the Youth Opportunity Hub in Harlem, New York, turning it into a multi-functional arts space for kids.
“Creating opportunities for youth arts education is something I’m passionate about, because as a father, I know I want my kids to grow up with a creative outlet to express themselves, so I want other kids to have access to those same opportunities.” Brown continued, “Through art, kids learn responsibility, teamwork, empathy, and the importance of community, all of which are traits I aim to instill in my kids as they grow up.”
It’s hard not to be blown away by Brown in all facets of his life, which led us to ask one very worthy final question during our interview: With all this fame and success what keeps you grounded to be the great father, husband, and role model people love and respect?
“God. I guess that’s the short answer. A desire to be of service. To impact the world positively. The less it's all about you, and the more it’s about, “How can I help?” That tends to keep my head relatively deflated.”
Relatively deflated—that sounds like quite the understatement if you ask us. Can we get this man a father of the year award, please?