Alfonso Ribeiro has been a staple in Hollywood for nearly four decades, so he knows a thing or two about being a successful star. Though his eldest daughter, Sienna, is following in his footsteps, the teenager “doesn’t want to be [known as] Alfonso Ribeiro’s kid,” he exclusively tells Closer.
“Sienna definitely has the bug. She’s auditioning and she’s working,” the 49-year-old comedian reveals in a new interview, adding he’s been pretty “hands-off” while still supporting his 18-year-old daughter. “I’m always peeking in. But I’m allowing her to find her place in what she wants to do.”
The up-and-coming actress may have one of the best role models in the business as her father, but Sienna wants to pave a career for “herself,” Alfonso continues. “It’s so hard to be [the kid of] someone who has been successful, trying to do the same thing. Everything less than what I’ve been is a failure and that’s not true,” he explains.
Though Alfonso urges the importance of letting Sienna “find that success on her own,” he points out how he’ll always be the first one she can go to if she has any questions or is looking for advice. “When she ever needs it — or ever wants it — [she’ll] have me there as someone to maybe help her cross the finish line,” he gushes.
Speaking with Closer, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum — who partnered with Cheez-It Snap’d to help create better lunches for Americans and offer the chance to win a year’s supply and $10,000 — marvels over how quickly his eldest girl is growing up. “She’s going to go off to university in a month,” he dishes.
As Alfonso prepares to send his first child off to college, he reflects on Sienna’s last year of high school. The Emmy nominee said although she “wasn’t able to have her fun” because of COVID-19, he’s “very happy” she’s going to be able to experience college.
“Her senior year was not a senior year,” he says, noting how school was held remotely amid the pandemic. “But I would rather have her have university experience than high school experience. Because I feel like once you become a senior, you’re already on your way out the door. She wasn’t able to have her fun, but this is the rest of her life.”
The Catch 21 star shares his first child with his ex-wife, Robin Stapler, whom he was married to from 2002 to 2007. Following their split, he wed his second spouse, Angela Unkrich, in 2012. The lovebirds expanded the actor’s family by welcoming their three children together: 7-year-old Alfonso Jr., 6-year-old Anders and 2-year-old Ava.