Mario Lopez Says ‘Hardest Part’ of Fatherhood Is Leaving for Work
Between swimming every day in their new pool and heading to local parks in Los Angeles with biking and jogging strollers, the doting father spends his free time introducing his kids, daughter Gia Francesca, 3½, and son Dominic, 10 months, to the great outdoors.
“We just got our pool finished so when Gia is not in Montessori school or at ballet classes, I get her to go swimming with her little brother, who has learned to swim before walking,” Lopez told PEOPLE Saturday, while hosting a party aboard the Lady Windridge yacht in Miami Beach to promote Bonefish Grill‘s new menu.
He adds, “We all love summer because we can be outside and get a lot of exercise while having fun.”
Gia is also learning how to speak Spanish, play the piano, do gymnastics and enjoy theme parks.
“When we have time on weekends, I take Gia to Universal,” he says. “She loves the Despicable Me Water Park Playground and Minion Mayhem. She is very active and has a great time experiencing new things.”
Lopez, 40, believes robust outdoor activity and healthy eating should be a fitness priority for children and adults, which is why he starts each day by having breakfast with his wife Courtney and both children.
“I have to admit that I smother my kids — it is the best part of being a dad,” Lopez says of his parenting skills.
And while he’s busy with his radio and TV schedules, he balances it all with his daddy duties by making sure he is home for dinner, baths and plenty of play time before the kids go to bed.
“No matter what drama I deal with at work, when I get home and hear them scream, ‘Daddy!’ I forget whatever it was I was stressed about,” he explains.
When Lopez — whose candid new book, Just Between Us, is out on Sept. 30, (in it he talks about who said no, who his dad locked in the trunk of the car, and how many nude scenes he has done) — has to be out of town for a day or two, he talks to the children on the phone and on Skype.
But if the business trip requires more than three days away, he arranges to take the children along.
“The hardest part of my new life as a dad is leaving for work in the morning,” Lopez says. “These kids have totally changed my life. They are simply fantastic!”
– Linda Marx