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Ralph Macchio Offers Parenting Advice to Ugly Betty Costars

12/05/2009 at 08:00 PM ET
Jennifer Graylock/JPI

Former Karate Kid star Ralph Macchio is all grown up, himself a 48-year-old dad to teenagers Julia, 17, and Daniel, 14. As an experienced parent, he offered up words of wisdom for Ugly Betty costars past and present, Ana Ortiz and Rebecca Romijn, both recent first-time moms. Tops on his list? Stay flexible! “It’s the toughest job in the world,” he notes before adding,

“Surround your kids with as much love as possible, create the environment for communication and conversation and be flexible. Also, be flexible when they’re babies, and you have to sometimes be the strong-arm with the tough love as they get older.”

Joking that he’s “still looking” for the parenting rule book, Ralph says that his own kids had a curious reaction to his fame. “They’ll look back and, if a movie’s on television, they’ll remind me of how much better I looked back then,” he says.

When Daniel was still a child, he stumbled across a bundle of newspaper clippings and magazines from the Karate Kid days.

“He came up, and was like ‘Oh my God, Dad was huge, and we missed it,’” Ralph recalls. “He really enjoyed the Ugly Betty run because he was the one who went with me when I auditioned for that, and I’m on for a second season now. He’s like, ‘See? You should bring me along more often.’”

Father and son are “buddies,” Ralph says, enjoying ball games and vacations together. Daniel “wants to be a pilot,” and it’s a career path Ralph says he supports — nervously! “He took his first flight lesson for his birthday,” Ralph explains. “That’s a gift we got him.”

“I was just praying until he landed. As a parent, you don’t necessarily want to tell your kids to be a pilot, but it’s his passion — at least at this point. I say, ‘Buy the building, own the company and have a jet on the side.’”

Julia, meanwhile, is preparing for college and a possible career in the arts. “She is very close with my wife, which I am thrilled with,” Ralph reports. “Mother-daughter closeness is very good, especially launching into those years.” He adds,

“It’s roots and wings — that’s my theory. You give your kids the roots and the foundation, and you have to give your kids wings — the ability to fly. It’s tough to do that. You want to keep holding down to the roots. That’s my dilemma.”

Julia and Daniel are Ralph’s children with Phyllis Fierro, his wife of 22 years.

Source: OK!

– Missy

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Showing 20 comments

Cece on

It’s hard to believe Ralph Macchio is 48 and has a 14 and 17 year old!!!! He still looks very youthful and boyish. I think he may have been a little older than the character he played in “The Karate Kid.”

Anna on

Does anyone one know what he did for all the year he didn’t act? Did he have a regular job?

nis on

Do it for Johnny!

Cece on

Anna, I can help answer your question a little. I guess the Karate kid was what made Ralph Macchio a “star” – and he was in all the teen idol magazines in the 1980s. He was in the 1986 film, Crossroads and in 1992, Macchio starred opposite Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei in the movie, “My Cousin Vinny.”
In the mid-1990s, he did cameo- or supporting roles. In 2005, Macchio played himself in the HBO series, Entourage. In October 2008, was in a few episodes of the ABC Network television series, “Ugly Betty.” I’m sure I left out a lot! Sounds like family means a lot to him, and that’s wonderful.

Janet on

My first crush as a young child during those Karate Kid years! I know I’m not the only one who tried that kick move on a fire hydrant! (fans of him will know what I’m referring to!)

g!na on

Anna, Ralph Macchio has been acting all along! From The outsiders to My cousin Vinny to Beer league to Ugly Betty! check his Imdb.

Kate on

I can’t believe he called his kid Daniel!!! Surely he was sick of the Daniel-san jokes?

JM on

cece, i think he was 23 when he was in the karate kid.

Jessicad on

I remember hearing how old he was when he did karate kid and thinking he didn’t look his age at all, he still doesn’t!

Chris on

He still has that baby face and seems like a nice guy. :) I loved, loved, loved, the Karate Kid. I even watched The Next Karate Kid with Hilary Swank but it just wasn’t the same without Ralph.

Cece on

JM, you’re right about him being in his 20′s for the Karate Kid, but he was still in the teen magazines! And I forgot the great movie, “The Outsiders” – I think he did in 1983.

Jordasche Bledsoe on

Wow. He sounds like a terrific father!

Shelly on

OMGosh, I love love LOVE Ralph Macchio. My bedroom walls were covered with his posters! I’m quite offended he married someone else as I always wanted to be his wife! LOL Sounds like he has a very happy home life. That’s awesome.

Hilda on

Wow the boy still gots it! I think he’s awesome. Married for 22 yrs w/2 teens, great for him. I was really hoping he would be the instructor in the new Karate Kid movie. How neat that would have been! Oh well, wax on, wax off! lol

eternalcanadian on

Kudos to Ralph for being married 22 years in Hollywood. With the recent narsty spate of celebrity infidelity it is nice to read stories like this.

FLMom on

How utterly refreshing! He sounds like he is rock-solid when it comes to marriage and family. And how cute that he named his son Daniel, his character in Karate Kid! Roots and wings…have said it myself. And, Ralph, none of us parents ever really figure it all out, but KUDOS to you for making “trying” your top priority!

jessicawilliams on

48??? That HAS to be a misprnt!

Dobben on

My first post to CBB and it’s about Ralph. He absolutely doesn’t look his age. Gosh, he’s handsome. And he sounds like a wonderful father and husband. Married 22 years…

Dobben on

Hey Jessica, No kidding!

Just checked. His birthday is born November 4, 1961. So he recently turned 48. Unbelievable.

mermaids614 on

Awwww! Ralph is so cute still! He is FINALLY starting to age just a little bit! It’s weird seeing him looking all “grown”. Love him!

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