Jack Nicholson talks about fatherhood and 'divided parenthood'

03/12/2008 at 08:39 PM ET

Academy award winner Jack Nicholson, 70, spoke at length for a feature story in the March/April issue of AARP Magazine. Jack spent some time talking about the two youngest of his five children, Lorraine, 17, and Raymond Nicholson, 16. He discusses everything from Ray’s driven personality to taking the children to the ballet.

Continue reading to see excerpts from the interview.

Q: Speaking of responsibility, because you are an icon, people wonder, "How is Jack going to get old? Is he going to show courage and humor about it?"

I surprise myself positively a lot of times, but I don’t count on my own courage in advance. I’m not a role model as a person. I can sort of do it for my children [teenagers Lorraine and Ray are the youngest of his five kids] but I’m not particularly great at that part, either.

Q: What kind of father are you?

Well, it’s a divided parenthood, with their wonderful mother [Lorraine and Ray’s mother is actress Rebecca Broussard, 45] and myself. We’ve always gotten along. I want to be inspirational, or some kind of good influence on them without overburdening them.

It’s their time of life to find out who they are. I always read to them, from childhood on; I think that’s a father’s responsibility. I took them to things I knew they might not love — opera, ballet. They like going to the ball games with me. And they are very comfortable around show business; they are good set rats. They walked in on my death scene in ‘The Departed.’ I said, "If I can get these two kids really worried, I’m doin’ my job!"

Q: Didn’t you just take one of your kids to look at colleges back east?

I took the college tour with the fabulous Lorraine. With families, you don’t always get to be one-on-one. [And sometimes] there’s this wall of "What happened today, darling? Anything interesting?" I’ve asked more unanswered questions to these two particular children.

Then you think, "Hey, I did not want to hang out with my parents when I was a teenager." You have to get over that as a parent. What I don’t want to pass along is my irrational fears. They can be perfect kids, they can try to do everything right — and you’re in the lap of the gods. This is the eternal vulnerability that you have with your children.

Q: What sort of boy is your son Ray?

Ray is fab. He gave up a summer trip to the south of France, to get himself in condition because he very much wanted to make the varsity football team. Which he did; he’s the youngest guy on varsity. But in the last practice he broke his collarbone. And even with this, he got up every day at six, went to practice.

Ray might not tell you exactly what he’s up to, but once he’s got his mind set on something, he’s gonna stick to it and take care of business, no matter what me or anybody else says.

Jack is also father to Jennifer Nicholson, Honey Hollman, and Caleb Goddard.

Source: AARP Magazine

Thanks to CBB reader Nicole.


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Dana on

He sounds like such a wonderful, loving dad and great (ex-) partner. He understands that kids need to be kids, but is still so proud of everything they do. He just seems to love and appreciate life so much.

Vanessa on

I know it is awful of me but I just got a huge laugh out of him talking about teenage children to AARP magazine. Readers of that probably have grandchildren and great grandchildren and he’s got teens 🙂

Ara on

I love how he calls his daughter “the fabulous Lorraine.” It’s clear how much pride he has in his children. They’re loved, and hopefully they’ll always remember that.

Lauren on

“I know it is awful of me but I just got a huge laugh out of him talking about teenage children to AARP magazine.”

LOL! But actually, my parents had me later in life (38 and 40) and got it all through my teens. So I’ve always seen it lying around.

This interview is so cute, and I too love how he refers to his kids. The way he talks about them is so proud and intimate.

Naomi on

I’m pretty sure he has another kid, younger than Ray and Lorraine. He got some 20 yr old waitress pregnant and I believe he supports the child. I think it was a girl and the mom moved back to the east coast to raise her.

Sarah on

To Vanessa: my parents get that magazine and are almost the same age as Jack and I just turned 18 last month.

Hannah on

This interview is adorable. Jack Nicholson is my favorite actor of all time. It’s so refreshing to see him shine not only on the screen, but in his personal life as well. Keep on Truckin!