When Jerry O’Connell became a dad, he never imagined how much his two daughters, Dolly and Charlie, would teach him. The Stand by Me actor says being “more patient” is the most important lesson he’s learned about fatherhood while chatting with Closer Weekly in an exclusive interview.
“I will say this – I was not expecting I would have to spend as much time with my children when I had kids,” Jerry, 46, explains. “I didn’t know that this pandemic thing was going to mean that I had to be with my children all the time. They didn’t tell me about that.”
Since being in quarantine with his 11-year-old daughters amid the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, Jerry jokes about the struggles of being a dad. Aside from working on his patience, the Sliders actor — who shares Dolly and Charlie with longtime wife Rebecca Romijn — notes he wishes he had someone to go to for advice.
“It’s so funny being a parent during this pandemic. It’s not like I can go to my parents and be like, ‘Hey mom and dad, what did you do during the great pandemic of 1975?'” he continues. “No one has been through this … we’re all going through this for the first time [and] we’re doing it together.”
Considering Jerry’s girls are quickly growing up, fans are dying to know if Dolly and Charlie are planning on following in their dad’s Hollywood footsteps. Although the Kangaroo Jack alum jokes he “would love to get me some of that [Mary-Kate and Ashley] Olsen twin money,” his kiddos haven’t really “expressed that much interest” yet themselves.
“I got to peel them away from the TikTok first, then we can worry about some of that Olsen twin cash,” the proud dad hilariously adds, noting his children are huge fans of the viral social media app.
However, it seems Dolly and Charlie may be on the road to fame and superstardom as they’re already enrolled “in drama classes,” Jerry tells Closer. “Trust me, I would love for them to be acting. I would love for one of my kids to be the next Hannah Montana and put a wig on and run around and be the next Debby Ryan … but it’s really up to my kids.”
Whether or not the two cuties pursue an acting career when they get older, Jerry says he’s already sharing some of his best tips and tricks. The My Secret Identity actor even offered his daughter words of wisdom he once received from director Rob Reiner in 1986.
“When I was on the set of Stand By Me, I remember my first day there was a scene and I was just standing in the back,” he recalls. “Rob Reiner came up to me and said, ‘Hey man, you have to be more involved in this scene.’ And I was like, ‘I don’t have any lines.’ He went, ‘Yeah, but you’re as much part of it as everyone else who is on camera… you have to listen to everything.'”
The Crossing Jordan actor — who tied the knot with Rebecca, 47, in 2007 — was able to pass along the meaningful advice to his little girl as she appeared in a play at her school.
“I saw one of the rehearsals and there was something happening on stage and my daughter was just standing there,” he explains. “I went up to her afterwards and I went, ‘Hey, you should be more involved in that scene.’ And she said, ‘Why? I don’t have any lines.'”
“It gives me chills just saying it … I was like, ‘You are just as much a part of that team as everybody else,'” the loving dad gushes. “And I just repeated to her what was told to me when I was her age 35 years later … [it] was really emotional.”
Jerry is such an amazing dad!
Be sure to catch Jerry in his new film, The Secret: Dare To Dream, available now On Demand on Apple TV and everywhere you rent movies. Episodes of his show Carter are also available to stream on IMDb TV, Amazon’s free streaming service.
Reporting by Diana Cooper