|Tristan Gregory/Camera Press/Retna|
When Hugh Grant welcomed a daughter last September, he thought he would have to put his skills as an actor to good use — but has found that there’s no need to.
“Lots of people warned me … [that] the baby period is not that exciting. But I am excited, actually. I thought, well, I’ll bluff through — but very little bluffing has been required,” the actor, 51, tells The Guardian of Tabitha, his baby girl with Tinglan Hong.
“I like my daughter very much. Fantastic. Has she changed my life? I’m not sure. Not yet. Not massively, no. But I’m absolutely thrilled to have had her, I really am. And I feel a better person.”
Although the two are not together, Grant remains protective of Hong. “She is a good person, a nice person; funny, clever, great mother,” he says. “And she’s been very badly treated by the media.”
They worked together to come up with a name for their daughter — Grant chose her English first name while Hong picked her Chinese middle name. That seems to be the extent of his foray into the language, although “I do know some disgusting Chinese words,” Grant says. “They’re not entirely appropriate for baby rearing.”
He did get his first experience with being a proud papa, however, when he took Tabitha to visit his elderly, ill father.
“There probably is some truth that one of our main functions on the planet is to reproduce, because it feels like more of an achievement than it should,” he notes. “Which is nonsense, really. But yesterday I took my daughter to see my father, who’s in hospital, and all the nurses were cooing over her. And I felt, well, pride.”
When it comes to teaching his little girl, Grant has a few specific lessons in mind, three of which he plans to be “incredibly strict” on.
“Good manners and not being selfish. It’s just unattractive in a child, I don’t like it. And discipline — I do think discipline’s important,” he says. “I’m very glad that I had quite a strict mother who was big on discipline.”
It seems as though Tabitha will be expected to earn her own way as well, as Grant pinpoints entitled children as a problem he’s experienced first-hand.
“My other worry … is not giving your children money. I see nothing but f—ups among my trust-fund friends. It’s like 99 percent f—ups. So I would not want to do that to my children.”
– Sarah Michaud