As viewers around the world watched with bated breath as the Balloon Boy hoax unfolded on October 15th, there was at least one father who knew the fear of a missing child all too well.
Talking to OK!, photographer Nigel Barker reveals that during a family outing to a friend’s lake house his son Jack, 4 this month, suddenly went missing under his watchful eye.
“I thought I’d lost him and panicked,” he recalls. “I literally thought he had drowned. I thought he had gone outside and drowned.”
Fortunately, despite fearing the worst following a 25-minute search for his son, Nigel found Jack — safe and sound — hiding behind a couch. After hearing his father’s frantic calls, the preschooler, “scared to come out,” thought it best to stay put and avoid getting in trouble!
“Twenty-five minutes doesn’t sound long, except when you’re looking for a 3-year-old, and every minute that went by, you thought something worse had happened.”
Although his son is in school, Nigel won’t be catching a break to relax anytime soon; Ten-month-old daughter Jasmine Ines‘ first steps aren’t far off. “[She will be] walking any moment now,” the proud papa shares.
And while Jasmine may keep her parents on their toes, Nigel explains that the latest milestone means that he and his wife of 10 years, model Christen Chin Barker, are finally ready to take some time for themselves.
“Hopefully there will be a turn around in our scenario,” he muses. “For the first ten months to a year of a new baby, you don’t have any couple time.”
That said, Nigel would like to add to his family — but jokes that he needs to expand his wallet beforehand! “I would love more kids, but I’m not sure I can afford more in [New York City],” the America’s Next Top Model judge notes. “I certainly enjoy making them.”