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Chris O'Donnell Says Five Kids is 'a Handful'

11/18/2008 at 08:00 PM ET
Stephen Shugerman/Getty

When Chris O’Donnell and his wife Caroline saw their brood blossom into a family of seven, it was chalked up by many to their faith. During an appearance last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, however, Chris suggested that there is a much more straightforward explanation for their five children. "Everyone says, ‘Oh, you must be Irish Catholic,’" the 38-year-old actor said. "Trust me, we know what we’re doing…there was just a miscommunication there." The couple intended to stop having children after the birth of their fourth, 2 ½-year-old Finley, but baby number five — 11-month-old Maeve Frances — was a pleasant surprise. In any event, Chris says he and Caroline are definitely done now.

"We’re not going to be the Duggars. We’re going to stop at five, because five is a handful."

Calling Halloween "the best holiday of the year," Chris admits that the costume situation can become a "a problem." "September rolls around, and they’ve got their first round draft choice on, and they run around the house in it for a week before [changing their minds]," he explains. Their former neighborhood was extremely family-friendly, with Chris estimating that at least 350 trick-or-treaters visited their home; Of course, that high turnout could be due to the fact that the O’Donnell’s are exceedingly generous when it comes to candy!

"I do a Costco run, and I remember when I was a kid, the house that gave the full-sized candy bars. Kids remember. So I should probably forewarn the people that buy our house, the [trick-or-treaters] are going to come in search of the big candy bar."

Each of the children have ‘Robin’ costumes, just like their dad — who has the original ‘Robin’ costume he wore in the film Batman Forever. Chris joked that Caroline is "really into it," which led host Jimmy Kimmel to observe "hence…all those little boy wonders running around." While his eldest child, 9-year-old Lily Anne, is "excited" by her dad’s career the same cannot be said for his second and third children — Christopher Eugene, 8 and Charles McHugh, 5 — whom Chris describes as a "little more sports-obsessed."

Source: Jimmy Kimmel Live!

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Maddie on

I come from a family of five children, and I get that comment as well. ‘Oh, your family must be Catholic.’ My extended family is, but that’s not the reason why Mum and Dad decided to have five kids, they wanted us to have brothers and sisters to play with. Don’t know if I’d go five myself, maybe four :) It’s nice to see celebrities with big families. I remember when Chris (I think) was born here in New Zealand, years ago!

Nikka on

Whats duggars, what does it mean?

Stephanie on

Nikka, the Duggars are an American family with (currently) 17 kids and one on the way. They don’t believe in limiting their family size based on their interpretation of the bible (not every Christian believes what they believe, but it’s their conviction and I’m glad they are living what they believe.)

MB on

Nikka, the Duggars are a family with 17 children and another on the way. They have a show on TLC called Seventeen Kids and Counting.

melissa on

Nikka~They are a family from Arkansas and the wife is preggo with #18{due in Jan.2009} I Love Chris O’Donnell ever since Fried Green Tomatoes!

Grandma2Three on

I had to laugh at his Halloween comments. Growing up Halloween was my favorite holiday. There were five kids in our family as well and we had the best time trick or treating together. We always remembered the houses that gave out the best candy. The older folks always gave out the less popular things like Mary Janes and Neccos, EW! As soon as I had my own home, I made sure I gave out the good candy! Now that I’m a Grandma I’m even more attentive to what the kids like. I refuse to be the old lady handing out the Mary Janes!

Sanja on

I don’t get that comment either. I come from a Catholic country and almost everyone I know have 2-3 kids (4 at the most), as do most people in continental Europe, regardless of their religion. Is this an American thing or…?

Mary on

I think I know where he is coming from with the “irish-catholic” comment; I can say for at least the portion of the US of where I reside (northeastern), irish-catholics, in particular, are known for large families (4,5 + children). I grew up in a large irish-catholic family of 13, and it was a comment made to me all the time.

Dawn on

The Duggers subscribe to the Quiverful movement which means to accept as many kids as god gives you. Whether it be 5,10,15,20, etc. They don’t believe in using birth control. Now the Catholic church doesn’t believe in birth control either but they don’t agree with Quiverful either because they think it is dangerous for the mother to be pregnant so much and having too many kids takes away from the parents being effective.

Monica on

@ Sanja: I was wondering it too. Italy is as Catholic as it gets, but really few people have more than 3 children, and a family with four children is seen as big (huge in big cities).

finnaryn on

Maybe because there are so many more religions in America, anytime someone sees more than 3 kids, they just assume that you are Catholic. Which is silly really. It always amazes me that people have the nerve to make comments like that about other people’s families. Especially right to their face. Not just size either. I have a friend whose children have darker skin than her and someone asked her recently, “did you get your boys from overseas?” That comment was even more stupid because despite their darker skin, they all look just like her!

As for Halloween, my kids start picking their costumes early too. I refuse to buy (or make when I have time) until I have heard the same costume idea from them for at least a week. I learned my lesson after one year where we went all out making a Hannah Montana costume (before you could buy the packed ones), only to have my daughter refuse to wear it because it wasn’t scary enough. –sigh- I don’t normally give in on things like that, but Halloween is a special holiday for my parents and the kids. My dad looks forward all year to taking the kids to the zoo to Trick or Treat. I gave in so as not to disappoint him.

Courtney on

We have 4 kids and we are asked all the time if we were Catholic…and we yell them we are Lutheran. We had 4 children because we wanted 4 children…

I love him. I have loved him since Circle of Friends…i soo wish his 5 kids were with me!LOL

Brandi on

It is true, you always remember who gives out the best candy! The new owners have a lot to live up to. :)

Colleen on

I think part of the reason the family gets asked about being Irish Catholic is because Chris is Irish (or at least has an Irish name) and some of the kids have Irish names. Irish Catholic has a different connotation than Catholic. It’s more than Catholics not using birth control. It’s a joke about the culture. Ever hear of Irish twins? No one ever jokes about Italian twins. I’m Irish Catholic and while I only have one sister, my dad has almost 100 first cousins alone. So we get the Irish Catholic reference all the time.

Sarah on

The Halloween comment was classic, I remember me and my brothers were always in search of the ‘rich houses’. The Irish Catholic comment is very annoying if you’re not Catholic.My parents have nine kids, and the first thing people ask is ‘You’re Irish Catholic?’ the second quickly being “Are they all by the same mother/father?’ But, you get used to it after awhile. We are Irish, though lol.

Maria on

You guys should check out this amazing auction on ebay for a chance to be on How i met your mother and to have coffee with David Arquette!! and the best thing is that its all for charity by the help of Woodbridge wines by Robert Mondavi, check it our here: http://stores.ebay.com/Woodbridge-Wines

Mary on

I’m one of seven and I have a huge extended family. We are all Irish Catholics. It’s great having a big family. Don’t stop now! Once you have one kid you shouldn’t stop because nobody ever says that they are upset to have a baby. They are always great and once you have one, you’re live revolves around them anyways. You seem to have a great family Chris. My family has a lot of the same names as you.

Tricia on

Regarding Italy, the one-child family is almost the norm; fertility rates there are @1.2 children per family, I think the lowest in Europe. Also, the Catholic Church does allow natural, or “rhythm method” birth control, which is simply no sex during ovulation.

Marie on

Believe me, the comments are annoying even if you are Catholic, in fact, perhaps more so. I was one of seven, and I am, in fact Irish Catholic, but it is very annoying to be asked such a personal question as what your religion is and have people make assumptions about it based on open observations such as family size. To me it’s no different than making other stereotypical judgments based on appearance or race. I try to make light of it, but every time I’m asked the question I feel kind of offended. Bottom line, it is a rude question.

Southern Gal on

I think it is great that Chris O’Donnel and wife have a big family. I came from a family of 5 children and I turned out just fine. Also, the Duggars are an awesome family. They have proven (as I have suspected) that even a child from a big family can receive love and attention if the parents are willing to put in the hard work. They are doing a better job than some people who only have 1-2 children. Bravo,Duggars.

Jennie on

Just an FYI Maddie, Chris was born and raised in Winnetka, Illinois (an upscale Chicago suburb) not New Zealand.

lvinaz on

I live in Arizona and most of the time, families of more than 3 kids are assumed to be mormon, followed by Catholic ;)

Congrats to Chris and his family. Love the guy….

Kim Potter on

I think that so great to have the kids dress alike like there dad. What fun memory there going to remember later in life.

Skipsie on

I’m an irish catholic, and my family is huge lol. I don’t think it’s because we’re catholic though, everyone in my family just enjoys having a large family.
You don’t really get any comments when you’re in Ireland, but I live in London, so the irish-catholic comments are pretty much to the regular.

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