Colin Farrell discusses son's Angelman Syndrome

10/15/2007 at 01:01 PM ET

Actor Colin Farrell’s four-year-old son, James, was born with Angelman Syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes developmental delay and neurological problems. Despite being born with this syndrome, Colin says his son is an “incredibly happy boy” and he feels “incredibly blessed to have him in my life.”

The 31-year-old Irish actor sometimes forgets that his son with ex-girlfriend Kim Bordenave has special needs. 

With my son the only time I’m reminded that there is something different about him –- that he has some deviation of what is perceived to be normal –- is when I see him with other four-year-olds. Then I go “oh yeah” and it comes back to me. But from day one I felt that he’s the way he’s meant to be.

The actor, who shares joint custody with Kim, credits her for being so active in getting their son the help he needs.  Colin is extremely proud of his son and the obstacles that he has had to overcome in his short life.

He took his first steps about six weeks ago and it was four years in the making. All the work is his, he worked his arse off for four years. And when he took the first steps it was incredibly emotional, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

His speech is affected, he’s four and he’s not really talking yet buthe makes the most delectable sounds in the world. You couldn’t get asound as good from a garden of f–king birds.

The actor is amazed at how things work out in life.  Before his son was born, Colin led the Irish team to the Special Olympics to Croke Park. Little did he know his son would be born with special needs.

It’s mad the way the world works. It’s bizarre. I experienced the overwhelming effect of being around those athletes pretty much just before my son was born with special needs. I have never thought of my son as being someone with a disability. It goes back to special needs and what is a disability and what isn’t.

Source: Independent; Daily Mirror

Thanks to CBB readers Ceri, Leslie, Autumn, Stephanie and Nicole.

FILED UNDER: Kids , News

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Krissy on

For all the flack celebs get, it’s so nice to see someone who connects so deeply with his son, you can just see the pride and love in these words. Just warms my heart.

Melissa on

I got teary eyed reading that. He seems like a great dad and you can tell he really loves his son.

Angeline on

Knowing this makes me like him even more.

Nicole on

I always liked him, and this WOULD explain why he seemed to be much more mature after having James – he had to grow up to be a good daddy. I’m very impressed.

Elke on

These children, are known as “angels” because of their happy demeanor and the joy they bring. There is a national angelman syndrome foundation ( that gives lots of good info. I’m happy, as a parent of an angelman child myself, that Mr. Farell is speaking so positively about his son. Not to mention, that as a ‘rare disease”, we can, as a community of AS parents, raise awareness and further the already strong scientific research into this disorder.

Theodora on

Should his son condition had anything with the fact that he did drugs and alcohol for so long before he had him? Just wondering.

Preesi on


Mary-Helen on

What a class act and loving father. He and James’s mother seem to be mature and loving parents who will do anything for their son. It’s nice to hear such a wonderful statement from Colin. I love how complimentary he is about James’s mother too. I think it’s nice that they have such a warm relationship and can be there for their child.

Kresta on

I haven’t always approved of some of Colin’s antics but he is a good actor and you can see his love and devotion to his son and the bond they have. I also like it that he and his son’s mother have shared custody. My doctor’s only child has Angelman syndrome and he is an adult and holds down a fulltime job at the local shopping mall which he’s had for years.

FC on

I used to always think he was just this cute, but wild Irish actor with the cute accent. Now, he’s still a the cute Irish actor with the cute accent, who had a child, but now I can just hear how much love he has for his son. He seems like such a levelheaded, loving father as well. 🙂 I loved reading this.

breiah on

I was fortunate enough to be working near an Angelman Syndrome Foundation Convention this summer. I say fortunate b/c the kids I met that week were the happiest I have met in my life. One day I was having what I felt was just a bad day, but a boy named Billy came out of nowhere and introduced himself, with this huge smile on his face. On the one hand it made me feel stupid for being so caught up in my trivial problems, but just that one act made me happy the rest of the day. You can tell Colin and James adore one another, it’s a beautiful thing to see.

gianna on

Colin seems like a great dad, my prayers go out to james and colin.

Karina the Great on


Michelle Martin on

14 years ago I was touched by my own Angel. My son Schayne has Angelman Syndrome. I am excited to see that someone of “celebrity status” has mentioned this chromosomal abnormailty. Hopefully he can help raise the awareness of our daily lives and the help and recognition our children and families need!

ht on

Colin Farrell really touched me. He’s an amazing father and I’m happy to see that he’s reformed from his past wildman behaviors to devote himself to his child.

I found a similar article in the daily mirror and this quote simultaneously teary eyed and laugh.

‘His speech is affected, he’s four and he’s not really talking yet but he makes the most delectable sounds in the world. You couldn’t get a sound as good from a garden of f***ing birds.’

Jacquie on

After reading this article and the comments of other Angelman parents, I am thrilled that this could possibly raise awareness of this rare syndrome. I am also a parent of an “Angel” and I mean that in every sense of the word! I totally understand his overwhelming joy at James’ first step because I dream about that day for my daughter. She is also 4 and I know that day will come for her! I also relate to the delay in speech. My Dezi also doesn’t talk with words but her voice and talking, as she knows it, is music to my ears! It’s an amazing feeling to hear someone else who feels so similar about their “Angel” baby!”

Natasha on


evelyn on

its so great to see all the positive comments and support. my 3yr old has angelmans and even though its a struggle, that smile and laugh from my angel pulls me through. im also so happy that it will bring attention to the rare syndrome. And i agree with colin’s comment,”from day one i felt that hes the way hes meant to be” i believe that about my own angel, he was meant to have angelmans, as a single parent, hes my life, he gives me purpose.

Perlin on

I’m another Angel’s mum. I’m excited/looking forward to see more happenings/break thru/miracles on this chromosomal abnormailty.

Dawnn Thornton on

I was listening to the radio yesterday morning, and heard the announcement of Colin’s son. I was driving to work, and they were giving some of the symptoms out, and I was amazed. I too am a mother of a 3 almost 4 year old little girl. Kaydence Grace. We have overcome a million obstacles in the quick 3 years. She was born with clubbed feet, which is genetic. Since birth, there has been something found one after another. None of it has made sense though. I thought I just had a little girl with multiple problems. But as I was researching, my daughter has 85-90% of these symptoms. I was wondering if anyone had any good ideas, and where to start to see if this could actually be what I’ve been looking for. A name for everything would be great, and also a lot of help if I needed to know anything else for the future. Thanks in advance,
“A mother of a angel in my eyes”

Mark Wood on

My wife and I also have an Angel. Caroline Grace. To Colin: Welcome to a world of love that you could not have possibly knew existed. My hats off to you. Caroline has a very large deletion and cannot walk or talk(6 years old) but the smiles and laughter are abundant. Thank you for speaking of this and bringing this condition the attention it desperately needs.

Karen VanPuyenbroeck on

I am so excited to read this article! I have a fabulous 5 year old with Angelman Syndrome and I kept saying “hey, where’s our celebrity”? I pray for wonderful things for James and both of his parents. I also pray that they will use their celebrity in order to bring about awareness that will lead to treatment for AS.

Anna Lundqvist on

My brother Erik has Angelmans Syndrome and HE IS MY JOY.
If he would have a business card it would say “professional hugger”.

People act in two different ways – by love or fear.
Fear make people insecure and not knowing how to react to people that are “different”.
It is the same situation in Sweden as in the rest of the world. Sadly but true.

Working as a graphic designer and photographer I have produced a book that shows how Erik, someone little “different”, sees the world.
As part of this project I have been in Japan, living in a family with a son that has Angelman Syndrome. Really fascinating because I fount that the culture and childhood did not effect how this people act or communicate.
See webpage for some more information.


Sanjay on

He is enjoy with child but child is very beautifull

Rene on

I was researching info about Angelman Syndrome and i found out that Colin Farrell has a son with AS. and i was amazed that he is so open to the public about his sons disorder. But i would like to praise Mr. Farrell for bringing the disorder to the public. My prayers and wishes go out to Mr. Farrell and his son. I hope that James coninues to get better.

momolo on

Colin ia great Dad. And he is Dad of the year!!!

Not Brad purchased with his children. It can only pose with the children. But that deal, which he can not.

A big congratulations to Colin. You make it right and it is good.

Blaine O' Connor on

I am just after reading what Colin Farrell wrote, and find this very over whelming! I have so much respect for this person. He has set an extremely good example for other fathers, as many run from the problem. Good luck Colin

Janice Mills on

I have an adopted five year old daughter with Angelman Syndrome (AS), and she is, as everyone has described, an angel. She has a smile that lights up a room and a hug for every receptive being on the planet.

We have recently moved to Albuquerque, NM and have met 3 other families with kids with AS. Their experiences are similar. We all think that our kids are “brilliant” and we all forget that our kids aren’t “normal” until we are around typically developing kids of the same age. They have such native intelligence and wisdom and are so communicative and engaging, with or without spoken language.

Recently, at a festival, a well-meaning woman, trying to be sensitive and politically correct, asked me what my daughter’s “specialty” was. Honestly, I could not figure out what she was asking, and I answered, “Hugging, smiling, laughing, having a great time” before I realized that she was asking what her disability was.

One challenge we have met is that school systems and therapists often have no experience with kids with AS and want to treat them as if they were autistic. Schools are often so pre-occupied with their high energy levels and the challenges of trying to make them conform that they do not appreciate their gifts and talents. Having a child with AS often means plotting your own course and educating a lot of people along the way.

I was glad to see the articles on Colin Farrell and his son with AS. My hope with celebrity presence in the AS community is an increase in understanding that would benefit all of these wonderful children in their everyday lives. I would love to see some organizing around Mr. Farrell and AS similar to the work that is being done with Jenny McCarthy and autism.

One of the families here in Albuquerque has 2 eight year old boys that are actually triplets (their sister is unaffected). They, as all of the AS families we’ve met, are a GREAT family who have had experiences similar to ours. We would love for our Albuquerque AS community to have a presence in the general landscape and feel that our native triplet friends are rare enough to attract some attention in the media, which might lead to attention for AS and an easier future for all of our kids through education for others.

I would love to hear any comments, suggestions or interest in organizing. If interested, you can contact me through my web site –

kim o on

Having a son with severe autism and self injurious behaviors and epilepsy,(he’s on you tube under autism and self injury) I know it takes a lot of work to help these special children and I am very glad to see a celebrity have the courage to come out and talk about his child with special needs. I always liked Colin Farrel, he’s a great actor, and apparently, he must have something God sees in him to deal with this….I know it sounds so cliche..because people say that to me and I’m like, whatever, yea there’s nothing special about me, but I do believe God sees much deeper inside us than we even know about ourselves….

makaila peters on

im speechless that was great that his dad cares