Hank Azaria 'Terrified' of Fatherhood

05/15/2009 at 04:00 PM ET
Joshua Roberts/Reuters/Landov

Actor Hank Azaria is anxiously preparing for the birth of his son with girlfriend Katie Wright, but The Simpsons star has one confession: he’s “terrified” of becoming a father.

“I’ve been shooting a documentary about fatherhood because I’m so terrified that I wanted to get a lot of advice,”  the actor told PEOPLE on Thursday evening at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., where he joined a star-studded cast that includes Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, and Owen Wilson for the world premiere of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.

That advice includes getting words of wisdom from those in the know, including Night at the Museum star Ben, who is a father of two.

“A lot of people have told me, and Ben has echoed, this: It’s the kind of love that you can’t anticipate and that for a man, a father, it’s the kind of love that you have when you first discover love when you’re 13 and have a crush. It’s that kind of intense, ga-ga kind of love that you hadn’t had in many, many years,” he shares.

Hank and Katie have already signed on for a slew of classes. In fact, the couple is going new age when it comes to getting ready for their new addition.

“Oh my God, we’re taking classes … hypnobirthing, where a woman can learn to reduce the pain by hypnotizing herself, and I’m her birth partner. And we’re taking a child raising class, a baby holding class, a baby diapering class, and everything!” said an enthusiastic Hank, whose baby name list is “narrowed down to two.” However, he’s not ready to divulge the top picks for “fear how my mother will judge it.”

The father-to-be is also looking forward to introducing his son to America’s favorite pastime. “I always dreamed of taking my boy to Cooperstown — that would be a fun moment I think — to the [National] Baseball Hall of Fame,” says the actor.

In the meantime, Hank is doing some baby bonding by talking to Katie’s tummy “in many voices” and playing The Beatles. “The baby likes Beatles music. We pump a lot of Beatles music into the womb,” he laughs. Hank, in his best British accent, even says that he gets “inspired to talk to him like John Lennon occasionally. He seems to like it, he gets very kicky when I talk this way.”

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian hits theaters May 22nd.

– Arnesa A. Howell

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Ava on

Why are all first time dads terified? and from experience hypnobirthing did not work for me in the least bit…I wish them all the best.

Anna on

Speak for yourself, Ben Stiller. My hubby and I have “ga ga” kind of love for each other every day.

kai on

I can see a certain panic in his eyes lol That was a really sweet article.

Laura on

Anna, I think Ben (and as Hank said other people) just mean that kind of love you feel for your child is different than the kind of love you feel for your spouse. And he used the example of a 13 year old because there is no doubt that a 13 year old’s love is a lot different than an adult’s.

Ava who says all first time fathers are terrified? While I have NO idea, I think many people (not just fathers) are all a bit terrified when becoming parents for the first time. Doesn’t mean they aren’t THRILLED either. They are just scared about all of the things that parents have to worry about which can be quite terrifying when you think about it. Doesn’t mean he won’t embrace fatherhood and want to be the best dad he can be. I can tell from the article that he is already trying to be a great one (by getting advice, talking to the baby, having the baby listen to music, etc.)

I thought this was a very sweet article.

Sarah on

Hank will be fine. I see him becoming a very funny, sweet, sensitive Dad. Good luck and congrats!! :)

Mamaof2 on

They should name the baby something Beatles related, like Lennon, Jude, or Eleanor!

Grace on

Every time I see his wife, I think she’s Katee Sackoff. It’s very weird.

Judith on

Another celeb who seems to refuse to get married. Maybe he wouldn’t ‘feel so terrified’ if he married the mother of his child.. I think it would be more terrifying to think of a son or daughter at the teen years than as an infant.. With the infant, you feed him/her, change diapers, hold him/her, speak to him/her. I held each of my children a lot during the first month (as well as after that). Each slept through the night from one month on.. And fed each every three hours or so; when ever they cried. It works!! Oh, and each slept in our room in the beginning months.. Better to hear them cry… Sorry to go on and on. I hope there are those reading these helpful hints that do them, too!!

momto3 on

Judith, who says marrying your partner will help you raise your child? As long as he’s a good dad to the boy and a good man to the boy’s mother it shouldn’t matter whether or not they are married. Marriage and good parenting don’t go hand in hand as any single parent can tell you. Congrats to Hank and Katie I wish them the best

aimy on

Why does marriage matter? I know two people who aren’t married raise their kids
just fine.

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