For more than three decades, we’ve known John Larroquette best as the witty, five-time Emmy-winning star of Night Court, The John Larroquette Show, The Librarians and his new CBS series Me, Myself & I.

Now, John opens up during an exclusive interview with Closer Weekly and shares that, after growing up as the only child of a divorced mom and living through drug addiction and alcoholism, the most important role to him is being a devoted husband for 42 years and father of three to his kids, Lisa, 47, Jonathan, 40, and Ben, 30.

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John and his wife, Elizabeth.

“I grew up without a dad, raised primarily by women, such as my mother, grandmother, and aunt, so I came to fatherhood without any sort of owner’s manual or instructions at all,” John, 69, reveals to Closer. “I took being a father very seriously. I love my children for eternity, try to help them as much as I can and still allow them to be themselves. I still want to hug and play in the pool with them, and they don’t really go for that anymore. I don’t know what it’s like to have a father, and sometimes I want to talk to them about it, but they can’t be objective — I’m their father. I love them deeply.”

Now, approaching his 70th birthday on Nov. 25, John tells Closer he sometimes still can’t believe he made it. “The fact that I survived the ’60s, my drug addiction and alcoholism, every birthday is like, ‘Hey! Way to go dude! You didn’t expect to get here, did you?’ And that’s the truth. I didn’t expect to get here.”

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John with his wife and two of his kids in 2000.

As for what’s next for the actor? Spending time with his wife, Elizabeth. “There was a lot of time apart because of the logistics of raising a family and maintaining a career. We’re now a couple again and try to find the pleasure in that,” he tells Closer.

And possibly taking some time to write. “Maybe some stories of my childhood, strictly in a very fantastical and fictional form. I have not had the discipline to do it, so if that happens, it does. If it doesn’t, I’ll just go fishing,” he quips.

For more on John, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for exclusive news!