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Colin Farrell: Watching My Son Succeed Inspires Me

10/25/2013 at 11:30 AM ET

Colin Farrell Ackerman Institute D Dipasupil/Filmmagic

Actor Colin Farrell has a new favorite family activity with sons James, 10, and Henry, 4.

“I’m trying to introduce Disney into my diet and introduce it into [their] diet for the first time,” Farrell, 37, told PEOPLE at the Ackerman Institute for the Family’s Moving Families Forward Gala in New York City on Monday.

“We’ve gone old school — Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Lady and the Tramp.”

And while the films have been a hit, the boys aren’t willing to watch just anything. “I put on Cinderella and the two of them were like … ‘No,’” says Farrell with a laugh.

This comes as a small victory for James, who suffers from Angelman Syndrome, a rare neuro-genetic disorder which can impair speech, movement and balance.

“I remember the days when he couldn’t watch 10 minutes of a film because he couldn’t sit easy, but now he can,” explains the proud father, who delights in each and every one of James’ milestones.

Having previously cited his oldest son — and wanting to be a good father — as part of the reason why he finally went to rehab for drug and alcohol abuse in 2005, Farrell shares he continues to find inspiration in him today.

“Things like walking and talking and eating and feeding himself, all those things that so many of us naturally take for granted because they come so easily, to James, they come somewhat harder,” he says. “Everything he’s achieved in his life has come through the presence and the kind of will that is hard work. He’s a lot to be inspired by.”

With James and Henry not spending much time together — the boys see each other a handful of nights a month — the doting dad admits the two are still adjusting.

“They have two different moms so their crossover time isn’t a lot … so they’re figuring it out,” Farrell says. “They’re good together. They’re funny together. They’re finally getting used to the idea that the other one isn’t leaving anytime soon, that they’re both here to stay.”

– Haiwen Lu

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Showing 16 comments

Guest on

Good for him. He really got his life together and seems like a wonderful, doting father to his sons.

Anonymous on

Good for him! Nice to see a celebrity ( or anyone for that matter) step up to the responsibility of parenthood . He is doing himself , his children and society a huge favor by being there for his kids. Children NEED their daddy .

blessedwithboys on

I hope the moms can work together so the brothers can grabbed more time with one another. My son’s step mom lets her two little boys come hang out here so they can have extra time with their big brother.

Tara on

All parents who have a child with AS are amazing, I work with them and it’s a very challenging ( but rewarding) work. However your article doesn’t give Colin enough credit of what he lives with day in and day out. AS is a neuro-genetic disorder characterized by severe intellectual and developmental disability, sleep disturbance, seizures, jerky movements (especially hand-flapping), frequent laughter or smiling, and usually a happy demeanor. Colin has my upmost respect for taking care of both his boys.

lola on

People please take care when having kids. Having babies with different people does happen, but it sure does make life a little more difficult for the kids. They miss eachother during “their crossover time” I wish the best for this family.

Cassie on

Two kids from two different moms….what a charmer he is!

ginger on

It seems.Colin has turned over a new leaf. He seems to be caring more for his children than what hot girl’s pants he can get into or pill to pop.

TN girl on

I have ALWAYS loved Colin.

guest on

Good for him! It seems like he is a wonderful father to his sons, I hope everything works out for the best for that family.

Guest on

Colin only has his sons with him part time. It’s easier to take care of kids when there are nannies and his family members helping out too; so take “the good father” image with a grain of salt.

Also the second son was born because Colin lied and made promises to the girl to get her to have the baby.

I’m glad he stepped up and has always been a good provider but that’s what he SHOULD do.

Nancy on

You adorable Irishman you. Keep lovin’ on them boys Colin . . and on yourself. Looks good on you. ;)

Anonymous on

Guest- How do you know Colin lied to Henry’s mother? Do you know either of them personally?

We also don’t know if he has nannies, btw.

artichokeheart13 on

Not everyone has grown up watching Disney movies. And there are children out there who are limited as to what kind of and how much television they are allowed to watch on a regular basis. I think it is wonderful that he is making the effort to find things the boys can watch together or that the three of them can watch as a family. =)

Anonymous on

what a nice story. boy he really grew up.
good for him and his boys

Nic on

Did you read the article? His eldest child has a disorder, he wasn’t able to sit still for long enough to watch a movie until now. So he was probably watching nothing. As far as him having kids, what’s it to you? His kids are six years apart, that tells me he does know how to use birth control. As long as he is taking care of the boys, he can have as many kids as he wants!

chrissy0315 on

So Awesome… our kids are our saving grace- no doubt about it! It’s a great reminder that each day we have the power to start again and be the very best loving, giving, parent, person that we can. Great inspiring story! WTG James! Spending more time with Henry and dad will for sure help him develop a wonderful bond- I would hope the moms work together to see that happen. Prayers to you all!

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