Hugh Grant: Yes, Fatherhood Is Life-Changing After All

04/27/2012 at 02:00 PM ET

Just last month, Hugh Grant didn’t seem entirely sure about whether fatherhood had changed him. Now, he’s willing to concede it has indeed.

“Everyone was right all these years, saying, ‘Hugh, why don’t you have some children? It changes your life,’ ” the actor, 51, and dad to 6-month-old daughter Tabitha, says in an interview Friday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

“Now that I have [a child], it is life changing,” he says. “I recommend it. Get some!”

Warner Brothers

Tabitha’s mother is Grant’s ex Tinglan Hong, who is Chinese. In Friday’s interview, Grant reveals that one of Tabitha’s other names is JÄ«ng Xǐ, which, he explains, has something to do with how she was conceived.

“I can’t pretend it wasn’t a little bit of a surprise,” Grant, who stars in the new film Pirates! Band of Misfits, says. “But it’s a very nice surprise. In fact, the baby’s name in Chinese, because the mother is Chinese, means ‘Happy Surprise.'”

— Tim Nudd

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting , Video

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Showing 55 comments

s on

Wow, I absolutely can’t stand him. Although I am sure the x got pregnant for the $, he needs to take it seriously

Carol on

So love him, my favorite actor…

Anonymous on

he pronounced his own daughters named incorrectly. completely incorrectly too!

Julia on

I absolutely love him and always have. I could care less about his personal life, all he has to do is entertain me. Hence, the actor thing.

“Anonymous” needs to relax. In case you haven’t noticed he’s British and probably has a problem speaking in gibberish.

Rhonda on

Congratulations to him and his girlfriend on being parents. I am sure his little girl is very cute.

marci on

hey “julia” / “jessie” – racist much? it’s a language that 1+ billion people on this planet speak, how is that gibberish?

Me on

Julia/Jessie (obviously using a fake name), you are a bitch.

Me on

Julia/Jessie (obviously using a fake name), you are a b*tch.

Jennifer on

Face it, he’s a sleeze bag.

Shannon on

“the baby”

“the mother”

What a strange way to refer to his daughter and his ex girlfriend.

Beebop on

He does seem rather standoffish about the whole ordeal but he could just be not comfortable speaking about his private life. It’s impossible to have a child and not have your life changed so I imagine it’s just nerves rather than him not feeling attached to his daughter. Her Chinese name is cute, although it sounds a bit like naming your child ‘Best Mistake!’ lol. As for “gibberish”, that is extremely offensive. He’s not fluent in Chinese I imagine so it would be possible for him to pronounce the name incorrectly but Chinese (and any language, for that matter) is not gibberish. Let’s get some respect please.

rhonda on

really the ex got pregnant for the money? seriously we live in an age where you can go buy a condom from the corner store and with his rep he has a years supply. If he was the crack head that chose not to wear one he’s just as much at fault as the mother of his daughter. Besides what difference does it make her dating him for money and him dating her for looks. Shallow people deserve what they get.

Me on

He obviously can’t accept it and this interview is painful to read…really he just makes himself look bad. I thought he was joking, but he’s not. (Btw, anybody else reminded of his character in “Nine Months?” Guess it wasn’t far off…)

Anon on

I think it’s a mixture of the cold and his accent that makes it sound like he’s saying her Chinese name wrong but when I listen closely I can hear it said correctly. He’s definitely one of my favourite actors but I wouldn’t be surprised if he just calls her tabitha. Come to think of it most British people i know that speak Chinese (there’s three of them) seem to mispronounce a lot of words but it’s just the accent.

Kathy on

Yuk! I have never liked his acting or him for that matter. He is sleezy.I feel bad for the child.

Marky on

First you negative posters go off on the fact he doesn’t pronounce a Chinese name flawlessly (which I;m sure all “non-Chinese” speaking people would be able to do), then you are all up in arms about him referring to his daughter as “the baby” (which sooo many people do every day!), and her mother as “the mother”. Last I heard, Tabitha’s mother is a person he had a very short relationship with, so she is not his wife, his girlfriend, or some other term similar. My son has a child from a similar relationship, and his son’s mother is always called by her first name, which Hugh did (Jin-Jin), or as _______’s mother. If you speak Chinese well enough to feel comfortable doing it in an interview on TV, help yourself, but you are reaching to criticize someone who sees his child nearly every day, and obviously loves her. Remember also, he was talking to a close friend, and joking with her; Hugh is not a loser jerk who isn’t involved in his child’s life, or spending time with her.

Jess on

My nephews are half Korean they have Korean middle names that I cannot pronounce. It doesn’t mean I love them any less. I adore them I simply have a hard time with the dialect and honestly they think it’s quite funny when I try to say their middle names cuz it makes me sound silly. So what he can’t pronounce her middle name correctly I imagine he loves her just the same. I like the meaning of her name as well she will know when she gets older that she wasn’t planned but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t wanted.

guest on

You women are so stupid. I just watched the interview, and there is nothing standoffish or awkward about the way he’s talking about his daughter. WTF.

Me on

Marky, I don’t think people are mad that he pronounced it wrong, just that 1 rude person said Chinese was “gibberish.” Although honestly, with his gf being Chinese, you’d expect him to know a bit more? Overall in this interview he seems very much in shock with being a father, which I’m sure he is. He shouldn’t have done the interview at all considering that he hasn’t come to terms with it, he’s making himself look bad. I think his reactions are pretty normal but at 51 he should be a bit more mature…

Anonymous on

I don’t get the hate for Hugh Grant. He comes across as a bit stand-offish but that’s part of his charm, imo.

I rather thought the interview was hilarious. I laughed so hard–I guess I see why Asian names aren’t very popular in the western world now. And if that’s how we butcher them, they’re better off that way!

As for the “gibberish” comment, oh please. I can guarantee English sounds pretty awful to some ears but fortunately, most of those people have enough class not to make those kinds of comments.

Me on

Guest – you’re an idiot. Obviously you have no clue.

Maxmittens on

His attitude about having a child, about having brought a human being into this world who will look to him for guidance and love, is so casual and strange. I hope her mother is loving and nurturing, because she’s going to need it from one of her parents.

janebug on

Hey Jessie, you and Julia think EXACTLY alike. I think she’s the only one to agree with you though. The Chinese probably think we all talk “Gibberish” by the way. It’s always a challange to speak a non-native tongue.

Carrie on

I’m pretty sure he is saying “Xiao Xi,” which would mean “Little Happiness.”

meghan on

Geez, the judgement of some of you people. He’s probably spent more time with his daughter in six months than my father spent with me my entire childhood and it’s not good enough for you harpies. God forbid he make the best of an awkward situation.

Emily on

I don’t understand the way people get so up in arms about Hugh. He’s a bit of a bachelor, a bit of a cad, but he’s charming and witty and is an intelligent man (take the way he dealt with the media scandal last year or the year before).

In response to the posters who are critiquing his pronunciation of his daughter’s name – may I point out that some names are just difficult to pronounce, no matter how many times you think you’ve got it right. I have a South African friend whose Afrikaans name pronunciation is so unique to my ears (and the ears of many around us) that every time we go to say the name, it is said slightly differently, because we are translating an entirely different language in our minds. It is to be expected and I don’t think it’s something to criticise him for.

I agree with the commenters who point out that it is an ex-girlfriend, not a current girlfriend or wife. It is common for some people to refer to their children/their mothers in that way, especially in interviews where he may wish to be more guarded. I think it’s also just his manner and how he speaks – I couldn’t see what the fuss was about.

I love Hugh Grant, and not in a come-hither way; I just think he’s refreshing and candid and quite entertaining with his dry sense of humour. I think, given the circumstances (a fairly quick, now-ended relationship that has produced a baby) he is doing a wonderful thing – embracing his little girl at this stage of his largely bachelor life, acknowledging her as his own, being a part of her world and allowing her to be a part of his, which would involve an enormous adjustment for him. I admire him for that and for his honesty and candour during the experience.

Me on

Meghan – so we should all go by your standards? Yeah, let’s give guys free passes. Great mentality

barbarac102 on

I adore Hugh and Ellen is very funny and likable. I thought the interview funny, period. To be honest, having a baby is one of the most precious God given gifts and I happen to believe in marriage first, not a round of applause whenever Hollywood people have babies out of wedlock. It is just my opinion and having children is not to be taken lightly. I do think Hugh a good actor and charming, but like so many in the world, think nothing of having children, divorcing or never marrying and it getting too many people’s approval. This is just my opinion, think as you will.

Julia on

I love posting stupid remarks just to see what kind of responses from others I will get. You people get so P.O. about the most ridiculous things. Thanks for the laugh. Hope all you angry people can relax and have a nice weekend

Marue on

Uh, “Me”… Are you alright?

ASA on

He’s hilarious. I love him. And for god’s sake, I’m sure he knows how to pronounce his own child’s name. Asian names are not always pronounced phonetically when transcribed into English. He sounds like a great dad.

meghan on

Me, of course not. Obviously you should be the one judging the behavior of total strangers.

silvershamrockd on

Shannon – he probably refers to them as “the baby” and “the mother” to protect them, as they were targets of the UK media phone tapping scandal. He referred to them as such when I saw him give his court testimony on CSPAN.

Marky on

I’ve watched that interview several times, and I think it’s just off the mark to think he is uncomfortable being a father, or isn’t crazy about his baby girl. There’s nothing in his interview that is disrespectful to the mother of his daughter, he clearly says he sees them nearly every day. Those of you who, for instance are divorced, know full well your children don’t see their father nearly every day. Hugh and his baby’s mother must be getting along just fine, to be seeing each other that often and to be communicating well. Wish I could say the same for my son and his son’s mother. I think Hugh has a quirky sense of humor that some of you need to realize may be a little different from yours, but is witty and clever and I’d bet he makes a great dad.

SuziQ on

I guess I didn’t watch the same interview as some of you who commented. I thought he was charming and funny…as always. Don’t hate…go see a Hugh Grant movie…”Music and Lyrics” is hilarious! You might just be pleasantly surprised. I was!

Jen on

I refer to my younger daughter as “the baby” sometimes and both of my daughters as “the girls” or “the kids” sometimes.

I obviously don’t love them!

Anonymous on

silvershamrockd- Hugh’s daughter and her mother were involved in a phone scandal? No wonder he seems to be a bit guarded when it comes to talking about them!

barbarac102- I would rather people be married before having children, too (I also don’t believe in sleeping with someone before marriage, but I know I’m rather unique that way!), but from what Hugh said in this interview, it sounds like he’s doing the best he can to do deal with a situation he wasn’t anticipating (he clearly said the baby was a surprise) and may very well have been taking steps to prevent against.

rhonda- Exactly! It irritates me to no end when people claim that a woman basically forced a man to have a child with her. Men aren’t stupid (at least most men aren’t. Obviously there are men out there who aren’t the brightest bulbs in the pack, just as there are some not-very-intelligant women out there), and they know just as well as women do how babies are made.

Unless a man can trust his partner 100 percent to take birth control pills (and be truthful about saying she is), then he needs to wear a condom if he doesn’t want a baby. Bottomline: It takes two to tango, and both partners are equally responsible when a baby is concieved!

Anyway, I don’t think Hugh deserves all the bashing he’s getting. At least he seems to care about his daughter and see her quite frequently. He also, at least in my opinion, seems to be handling the situation in a very mature way. That’s a lot more that can be said about most male celebs in situations like that (Eddie Murphy would be one example. Not only did he refuse to see Angel at first, but he wouldn’t even admit that there was so much as a possibility that she was his until the court-ordered DNA test results came in!)!

Anonymous on

Being a sarcastic brit has made him millions. I believe he is lovely and hilarious and I am sure he loves his daughter and is a great father.

linda on

I think he is funny. I thought the interview was funny too. I dont get why it bugged everyone so much.

Mon on

I thought the interview was really funny 😉
I saw nothing wrong with it at all.

Anonymous on

i love him

lena on

I think he’s a great actor and comedian. I also think he truly loves his daughter and is a good dad and is totally different in his private life.

Jen on

She wasn’t his “ex” she was basically a one night stand, they were never in a relationship, guess he forgot to wear a condom and she had a monthly paychck for life in mind. Guys, learn to wear condoms to protect yourselves from women doing this to you.

Lesley on

I LOVE Hugh Grant. He is the hottest celebrity alive!

kjc on

I just watched that interview, and I don’t know what everyone’s deal is. He was quite funny, and said very nice, very real stuff about his baby and her mother. I like him, good job Hugh!

Lysdexia on

LOL Petty people, wow! Hugh seemed as relaxed as one could be in the whole interview. He did not seem standoffish to me nor rude or whatever the rude comments were all about. 😦 mannnn! Say to yourself, “today I am going to be nicer”, try it out and you wouldn’t believe the nice things that can happen 🙂 Congrats to Hugh on becoming a father 😀

Angela on

He didn’t even know how old she was during his Today Show interview earlier this week. He said she was seven or eight months old.

the local explorer on

Awww, Hugh obviously loves his daughter. I did not get a bad vibe from him at all. And he said nice things about “the mother” too. I think it’s just hard to imagine him on the floor playing with a child but who are we to know.

jaci on

he’s a brilliant comedian. i have a feeling he knows he’s not husband material but i also cant imagine him leaving any family member high and dry. he’ll be a good dad in the way he knows how.

cjj on

eh?? what’s not to like about Hugh?? he’s a funny guy!

SweetSophie on

I am Chinese, and happen to think Hugh is hilarious and brilliant. 🙂

In the clip, he is clearly saying “Xiao Xi”, not the baby’s given name “Jing Xi”. Despite Ellen’s teasing, his pronunciation is actually quite on the mark considering his British accent! LOL

Chinese parents commonly refer to their children as “Little _____” (fill in the blank with the second Chinese character of the child’s given name). This is seen as a term of endearment, similar to how a Western parent might refer to a child named Katherine as “Little Kate” or “Katie”. So it’s actually very sweet that his daughter has been nicknamed “Little Happiness”!

Hugh also refers to the mother, Ting Lan, as “Ting Ting”. When you double up part of a Chinese name like that, it is considered an affectionate nickname. (So baby “Jing Xi” could also be nicknamed “Xi Xi” if the parents didn’t call her “Xiao Xi”.) It actually indicates that Hugh has a very good relationship with his daughter’s mother.

Hugh’s humor has always been dry and he’s infamous for hating the press and doing movie publicity. He had to get a restraining order to protect his daughter and her mother against the paparazzi, so it’s no surprise that he’s guarded when he talks about them. I actually thought he seemed “softer” and more relaxed in this interview than most! This guy attended Oxford on scholarship and graduated with honors in English Literature…I suspect he’ll enjoy fatherhood increasingly as Tabitha grows more verbal and playful. Not everyone is good with infants! 😉

Suze on

Thanks SweetSophie for that insightful and thoughtful post 🙂

To the poster who said that he doesn’t even know his child’s age – my very dedicated, very committed husband and father to my children would struggle sometimes to say exactly how old his kids are. He even forgot how old I was once (he shaved several years off, bless him 😉 ). Give him a break. It’s an interview, he isn’t obliged to pull out the baby book and tell us how many teeth the baby has cut and precisely how well she commando crawls.

Terri on

I love the name Tabitha.

Jillian on

He didn’t even know how old she was during his Today Show interview earlier this week. He said she was seven or eight months old.

She was born in early October, so if that’s what she said she’s almost 7 months. So, the article is wrong not Hugh 🙂

Nit picking all over, oh my gosh!

Curious how many watched the interview. So many just read which it, it is not the same. Not to mention they don’t always include everything, which is a pet peeve. I watched it while on Ellen and rewatched here. Never heard him say her name wrong. I call my baby, the baby. Actually we all do. Then we have the girls and the boys and daddy. I guess I am a snob.


tulisa on

hugh grant is a funny guy i have always liked him it sounds great that he is about to settle down, Well done hugh