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Jim Carrey Says Jenny McCarthy's Son Taught Him a Deeper Love

09/29/2008 at 01:30 PM ET
Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Landov

Interaction with an autistic child can be a challenge even when that child is your own, but when it’s the child of your girlfriend there is almost certainly extra pressure involved. That’s what Jim Carrey, 46, says he learned upon his first meeting with Evan Joseph, the 6-year-old son of Jenny McCarthy, 35, in early 2006. At the time, Evan was completely non-verbal and steadfastly refusing eye contact — leaving Jim in uncharted territory. "I’m a guy who’s used to getting people’s attention when I want it, and I’m pretty good with kids, so it was a little bit difficult and hard not to take it personally, frankly, at times when I tried my best to play with him," Jim recalled during a recent appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

"He was focused on something else, and I could have been on fire in the room, and he wouldn’t have noticed me."

Undeterred, Jim kept at it with Evan and eventually discovered that children with autism "show us how to go somewhere deeper as far as loving." While the dynamic is decidedly different than what he was used to with other children, Jim feels "we have to take our expectation out of the equation and just be there because we want to be there for them." Even on those days where he seemed to be getting nowhere with Evan, Jim said he felt instinctively that walking away would have been a mistake. 

"I knew it was something important in my life. These children, we need them more than they need us. They’re here for us to learn." 

Now, Evan and Jim are exceptionally close. "It’s like Star Wars impressions back and forth all day long," Jim shared.

Click ‘more’ to read about why Jenny finds Evan inspirational.   

The biomedical approach to treating autism — which can involve dietary restrictions, vitamin and mineral supplements, and other therapies — is something Jenny credits with her son’s recovery, and she challenges skeptics to examine Evan if they are in need of proof.  Jenny explained that she discovered the gluten-free, casein-free diet while surfing the Internet, and that she spoke with other moms who had been successful before implementing the changes with Evan.  Although the approach is controversial within the medical community, Jenny struggles to understand why. "We’re not talking about crazy things," she explained. "It’s organic food. It’s vitamins. These [are] things that moms are sharing with each other."

Another common misconception about the biomedical approach is that those who advocate it are somehow anti-vaccine, Jenny says. "We are an intelligent group of parents that know the importance of having vaccines." Instead, she feels, the schedule developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) needs to be re-examined, and children should be tested for immune system deficiencies which could compromise their ability to properly process immunizations. "What makes us believe that everyone can handle all the shots, all the time?" she asked. "Let’s protect the [children] who are weak…We believe in the protocol, we know we need them, but we deserve safe ones."

Jenny chronicles her journey as an advocate for the biomedical approach and the green vaccines movement in her latest book Mother Warriors: A Nation of Parents Healing Autism Against All Odds. Evan is "amazing," Jenny says, and through his life — and her work — she feels that she’s discovered her purpose.   

"I know why God gave me Evan. He is a wonderful teacher and an inspiration to the world. It made me who I am today."

In apparent agreement is Jim, who believes that Evan brought out a depth in Jenny that was missing previously. "She became infinitely more interesting to me as a person," he said.

Mother Warriors is available now. Evan is Jenny’s son with ex-husband John Asher.

Source: The Oprah Winfrey Show

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marla on

wow. what a great man. you can say what you will about jenny mccarthy, but she is one incredible mother. i really hope this doesn’t turn into a vaccine debate, but instead, one that discusses and praises the power and strength that is inherent in all mothers, especially those mothers who have to fight for their children, whether it be autism or cancer or learning disabilities. can we all just say that there are no boundaries on the lengths to which we would go for our children?

Colleen on

I’m so disappointed in the title of Jenny’s new book “Healing Autism”. True Autism cannot be healed. I do not believe her son ever was Austistic. I have worked with many Autistic kids in the past, including some who were doing this diet, and not one is healed. They can be helped, but not healed.

phoebe on

Jenny takes a very mature attitude to the vaccine issue. A lot of people who are ‘pro’ MMR etc seem to think that people who don’t want their children to have it are anti-vaccine, when nothing could be further from the truth in the majority of cases. They simply want choice and protection, the same as all parents do. Jenny is an inspiration for all those who know and love autistic children and Jim seems like a fantastic influence around Evan. What a wonderful and beautiful family.

Lauren on

I’ve always thought Jim was a wonderful person, and this article just confirms it!

I am so glad Jenny’s son benifitted from the special diets. I tried my son on the gf/cf diet with no real improvement.

He refused 99% of the foods since me didn’t like the texture, and no matter how many different foods I tried to give him, he would only consume the soy milk and juices. If it wasn’t for the vitamines he would have been extreamly malnurished. Then 7 months after he started the diet he started to loose a lot of weight because there just wasn’t enough calories to sustain him anymore.

I had no choice but to give him foods that contained gluten and casien. I did try for a while to keep everything as organic as I could, and he did show slight improvements with talking (went from non verbal to being echolalic) but the rising cost in food and the dramatic cut in our income put a end to that. :(

A person with ASD on

I have an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) myself, so I enjoy hearing celebs open up about their children with autism or other ASDs.

I do, however, want to point out that, while I am glad Evan benefited from the gf/cf diet, that doesn’t mean that all kids with autism should go on those diets.

I, for example, was never put on any sort of diet, and I have done just fine without one. I DID take various mineral and vitamin supplements for awhile (Folic Acid, Vitamn B6, and Vitamn E were just some of them), but no doctor recommended that. My parents simply wanted me to be as healthy as possible (and, due to the fact that I had severe troubles with food and eating for the first few years of my life, I’m guessing they were probably concerned that I hadn’t been getting as many of those vitamns and minerals as I should have).

I honestly don’t know whether they helped improve my ASD or not. In fact, about the only major thing that happened while I was on them (other than simply getting a boost of those vital nutrients) was that I developed an allergy to the Vitamn B6 tablets and had to stop taking them!

These days, the only supplement I take is Calcium, and that’s because I understand how important it is for women in particular to get plenty of calcium. :)

Eileen on

I have an autistic son who is 8 and he also is “amazing”. He was born premature at 26 weeks and he is very verbal and if you weren’t told he is autistic, you wouldn’t know. I would absolutely love to contact Jenny McCarthy and speak to her. I loved her book and I have some questions that I’m sure she could/would answer for me.
Thanks.

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