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For Paul Bettany, the Best Defense is Offense

01/19/2009 at 07:00 PM ET
James Devaney/WireImage

With two school-aged children, Paul Bettany has officially entered the era of the bullies and the bullied. Unfortunately, his 11-year-old step-son Kai recently found himself a member of the latter camp — despite Paul’s best efforts. “You get taught how to be bullied, essentially, in England,” the 37-year-old actor says, when asked the difference between schools in the UK and schools in America. “I was so worried about it, I tried to teach my eldest how to punch the day before he went to school.”

“My wife [actress Jennifer Connelly] caught me, and she said ‘What are you doing? I said ‘I’m teaching him how to punch.’ ‘Why?’ Because he’s going to school, obviously!”

After Jennifer assured Paul that Kai — who is attending his mom’s alma mater — would be fine, and that in all her years there she never witnessed a single fight, Paul says his reaction was mixed. “I was filled with relief but also this sense of, ‘What are they teaching my kid at this school?’” he jokes. “If it’s not about fear and violence, what is it you are teaching?” When Kai reported back to Paul that he had, indeed, been bullied a “furious” Paul snapped into action, however!

“I drove him home. The next day I stopped outside the school in some weird stakeout; I said, ‘Point him out! Which one did it to you? He said ‘That one.’ But there were like a million kids out front. I said ‘Which one? The one with the long hair?’ He goes, ‘That one…the one with the cello.’ I said, ‘The one with the cello? You’re fine. Get out of the car.’”

Both Kai and his little brother Stellan, 5, are “bright kids” who are “really into astronomy,” Paul reveals – and one planet gives them the giggles like no other. “It’s a privilege being a parent; there are many beautiful moments as you’re bringing your children up….seeing them born, seeing them take their first step, their first word, their first bike ride,” Paul explains. “The most moving moment so far has been when they discovered the planet Uranus.”

Kai is Jennifer’s son from a previous relationship. Paul’s new film Inkheart is in theaters Jan. 23.

Source: Late Night with Conan O’Brien

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shalay on

This is seriously hilarious! “The one with the cello? You’re fine, get out of the car.” LOL!

I also love how Paul obviously thinks of Kai as his own son. What a lovely family he and Jennifer have.

eva on

LOL Uranus…but seriously,he sounds like an involved father, Stellan and Kai and very lucky.

Allison on

How funny that the name Stellan/Stella means star, and Stellan is interested in astronomy! It’s always interesting to see how people live up to their names.

Sarah on

awww, i think i love paul bettany even more now!! it’s great that he and kai have such a close relationship.

Something About Baby on

Really cute story. You would think that with two superstar parents, that the bullies would back off.

Lila on

Aw! They are such a cute family. Paul seems like such a great dad. I hope to see them soon, I feel like we haven’t seen this family out and about in a while.

Christine M on

Aww the story about the cello is seriously cute and it is lovely to hear how close he and Kai are calling him his eldest.

Valerie on

that was such a funy story about the bully with the cello. I heard him tell it on Conan O’Brien and the way he tells it is great.

kaya on

ahahahaha, oh my god, I laughed so hard. I LOVE him in interviews, he’s always rip-roaring hilarious.

Bee on

Who is Kai’s biological father?

emily on

HAHA!! This is hilarious. Just wait til he learns his African geography and discovers Djibouti.

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