Chris O’Donnell Is A Cool Dad… Sometimes

As a dad-of-five, Chris O’Donnell has picked up a few tips of the trade when it comes to parenting. The NCIS star – who has kids Lily, 11, Chip, 10, Charles, 7, Finley, 4, and Maeve, 3, with his wife Caroline – talks to Hello! Canada about life in his very hectic home, and shares a few words of wisdom with his fellow famous father Matt Damon.

On days – and nights – with 5 kids: “Come home with me, I’ll show you. When the key goes in the door, they start running – the dog and everybody! It’s a race to get time in with them because they have to get to bed at a decent hour. Our kids are really good sleepers, but if someone wakes in the middle of the night, it’s not like, ‘Well, I did it last night…’ There’s no question – Caroline’s getting up. I’ve got to sleep. She’s real good about that. You need to let the expert do that. It’s hard work – sometimes I think I definitely got the easier job.”

On dad-of-four Matt Damon saying he only gets to sleep on the road: “Matt’s got to get somebody to teach those kids how to sleep. I mean, we went through that with the first one [Lily]. We would rock her to sleep at night and she cried. We would be up and be outside listening to her. Should we go in? Should we not? And then you kind of figure it out… You’ve got to let them cry it out for a couple of days. I’m telling you, you get them on track young and they’re fine.”

On leaving work behind: “Sometimes I’m tired. Or if there is a particularly long day, I’ll get a little frustrated. But it was too long of a day my kids are asleep, so they’re not going to experience that. It’s more my wife. It’s nothing a good bottle of red wine can’t cure.”

On signing on to family films likes Cats & Dogs: “A big part of doing the film for me is for my kids. I’ve got kids between [the ages of] three and 11. All I do is go see these kinds of films with them. I see more of this type of film than anything else.”

On being a “cool dad:” “My older daughter thinks I’m cool because she sees me on TV, and she’ll actually watch NCIS. The other kids? My little guy who is four is just now watching these Batman films and that sort of thing. So he’s really into that. It comes in different waves.”


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  1. I seriously hope that thing about his wife getting up was meant to be a joke, otherwise he sounds like a crappy dad. And that whole “the woman is better at this, so I’ll just leave it up to her” is just a convenient excuse that lazy dads have come up with in order to try to make themselves feel better about being a negligent father (not to mention a thoughtless and inconsiderate husband.)

  2. I like him. I’m surprised he doesn’t do more things. He’s good. And he’s right about women being better at making children sleep….Trust me. If my husband tries to soothe one of my boys at night they just wake up more and want to play!

  3. When I was a stay at home mom, nights were mine. When I went back to work, we shared. Maybe that is their attitude towards it too.

  4. Grace: He didn’t say the woman is better at putting the kids to sleep….he said his wife was better at it. There is a difference. I don’t see the problem with that.

    • You’re missing my point. I didn’t say Chris said all women are better at it than men – I was referring to the excuse a lot of men use that the woman involved (i.e. the child’s mother) is better at putting the child to bed. And that excuse is the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard in my life. Some men pretend to be incompetent in order to get out of doing their share of the childcare, and judging by the comments in this thread, there are actually women who fall for that line of b.s.

  5. @Grace He said that because he’s working 5AM-8PM, if he doesn’t sleep I doubt he could pull his job. His wife is a fulltime mom. If both had a job I’m sure they would share. I know a little about Chris O’donnell, Caroline wanted to stay at home and take care of the children, also have a lot of children.

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