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Chris Pratt: My Premature Son ‘Restored My Faith in God’

07/30/2014 at 04:00 PM ET

For Chris Pratt and Anna Faris, starting a family was a no-brainer.

More accurately, it was (as things always are in their marriage) two brains acting as one.

“It started [for us] around the same time, and I don’t think one of us wanted it any more than the other,” says the Guardians of the Galaxy star, who talks with PEOPLE about fatherhood, marriage and his rise to fame in the magazine’s new issue. “She would say, ‘How do you feel about that?’ and I would say, ‘Damn, I’ve been kind of thinking about that too! I think that’d be cool. Let’s make that happen.'”

But when their son, Jack, was born nine weeks premature in August 2012, the couple felt a helplessness with which many parents are all too familiar.

“We were scared for a long time,” Pratt, 35, says of the month that his first-born spent in an intensive care unit. “We prayed a lot.”

He turned to his family and close friends for support. And even at the darkest of hours, he treasured every moment with his son.

“It restored my faith in God, not that it needed to be restored, but it really redefined it,” the actor says. “The baby was so beautiful to us, and I look back at the photos of him and it must have been jarring for other people to come in and see him, but to us he was so beautiful and perfect.”

Chris Pratt PEOPLE shoot
Jeff Lipsky

And now with Jack happy, healthy and approaching his second birthday, “he is such a fighter, he’s amazing,” Pratt says, laughing. “He’s so open and there’s no fear in him no matter what.”

With a smile, the proud dad adds, “He is so charming that my plan is to just let him take care of us as soon as he’s old enough.”

Faris, 37, who currently stars on the CBS comedy Mom, also explains her husband‘s appeal … in her own hilarious fashion. Sure, he’s funny and sweet, she says, but he’s often underestimated.

“It’s easy to assume he is sort of a golden retriever of a man, but he’s really smart,” she tells PEOPLE. “He’s a really loving father, he is an incredible husband. He doesn’t let fame seduce him. He’s still the same dude.”

For much more from the interview, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

– Reagan Alexander

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Showing 57 comments

LA Mama on

I get it. Our son was born at 32 weeks 3 days and was in the NICU for a month. I don’t wish that on any parent.

I have a bicornuate uterus and will more than likely have more premature babies if we decide to have more. It’s a hard decision knowing a future baby will go through what our son did. Am I selfish for even thinking of having more biological kids?

Mia on

And that’s why white tees and jeans were invented, to be worn on muscles of sexy men like Chris Pratt! Who knew the snarky guy from Everwood (and other cast members) would continue to be so successful. Happy for all of them.

Elizabeth on

I think he would have made a perfect Christian Grey!!

Amelia on

@La Mama, No you are not selfish for wanting to have more children. The fact that you’re asking shows how much care and love you already have for a child that you don’t even have yet. The decision you make will be what is best for your family. Good luck and good health to you and your family.

Kim on

I love him and Anna. I think they seem like really down to Earth people and I wish them and Jack all the best.

chicago on

God bless him and his family. I’m glad that things worked out for them.

Anonymous on

At first glance, I thought that was a pic of Chris Klein. I may need my eyes checked. Lol

Guam Mom on

My daughter born at 23 weeks spent 4 months in the NICU. Prayer kept my focus on the positive and her will helped her survive when the odds were against her.

@LA Mama look into a TAC (transabdominal cerclage). It has allowed my to have subsequent normal pregnancies and babies with no NICU time! Used with bicornate mommas.

Kelli on

Of course the NICU nurses didn’t have anything to do with his son’s survival. Sometimes I wonder why I do this job for such crappy pay.

Beckie on

I don’t know either of these actors, but I totally understand what he’s saying. My daughter was born at 30 wks. and we spent 4 months in NICU. We saw a lot in that time and know exactly where we could be. We give thanks every day for our healthy, funny, incredibly smart and beautiful child.

I also find it interesting that his son has no fear. My daughter doesn’t either. Most times, that’s a good thing; sometimes not so much.

Tiffany on

They seem to be a great family and Chris and Anna seem perfect for each other.

Beckie on

Oh Kelli—-Of COURSE, preemies and parents appreciate the nurses, doctors….everyone in the NICU! They are among the thanks we give. Without them, we wouldn’t have our daughter. My daughter will be 6 next month and we still keep in touch with her NICU (and her NICU mates.) We always hear how wonderful it is to see her progress because so many times, babies go home and they never know what happens.

There is no way I can ever express enough gratitude for everything and everyone in NICU. All I can offer is a simple thank you.

Amy on

Kelli- no where does he say the NICU staff had nothing to do with his son’s survival- he said the experience reaffirmed his faith. Instead of reading it as critical, consider that he thanks God that trained NICU staff cared for his son, that God gave people brains to do such nursing…

Just because he says his faith is reaffirmed because of his son’s survival, does not mean he is saying NICU staff do nothing. A lot of people who have some faith will turn to their faith during struggles, leaning on faith to give them strength, hope and encouragement. Turning to faith does not negate the gratitude they have for the medical staff.

StacyR on

What’s a golden retriever of a man?

Diane on

My son was born at 28 weeks; he spent almost 2 months in the NICU. He is now almost 7. I will say that my son also has no fear. I think that it is because they came into this world fighting to live and just kept it going.

Grandma on

Chris Pratt’s transformation is amazing. Even though he wasn’t significantly overweight to begin with, he looks like a completely different person, and SUPER HOT!

I remember him being on The Tonight Show once and he was talking about how he had met Anna and he was saying how he couldn’t believe that she was willing to go out with him and then marry him because he thought she was hot and he was kind of pudgy and geeky. It’s heartwarming to see he is still down to earth and appears to be a devoted family man. Love when Hollywood isn’t afraid to show their love for God too!

Jayne R. on

I had the pleasure of getting to briefly meet Chris before his interview on Jimmy Kimmel. He was super nice and down-to-earth. Anna was lovely, too. They are a great couple. I wish them all the best.

Janet on

Sweet Kelli, It isn’t about you. I too work in a NICU and have for over 30 years. The families I’ve met and have had the privilege to care for their child are forever in my heart. Never in all those years have I ever thought that the families should be glad they were in the NICU. I LOVE my job and LOVE being a NICU nurse.

People, thanks for sharing this story.

Janie on

My child was 10 weeks early so I can understand the contestant praying part. :)

Jessica on

What a great dad! God bless their little family.

Marie on

I had my son at 30 wks. /3 days & a month in the NICU. This was due to Pre-eclampsia & beginning of HELLP. He is a spitfie & so very smart.

I went on to carry girl/girl twins to 34 wks. with 2 weeks in the NICU.

Every day was scary, but I count my blessings all the time.

Maria on

Jeez Kelli
why does anyone deliver your mail for such crappy pay? Or bag your groceries for such crappy pay? I guess it is their choice, Honey, and it sounds like you’d be better off in another profession. Can’t be any good for the babies or their families to have nurses with attitudes like yours.

Anonymous on

I don’t know who either of them are”BUT” I greatly enjoyed reading this article. So happy that this little one made it through & that it helped ‘redefine” dad’s faith in God. It just shows us again that prayer does work & that our God is an “AWESOME” God.
May dad’s faith in God
continue to grow ( mom’s too). May this child do many great things with his life & be a blessing to his parents & others. God Bless… : – )

Amber on

My 24 weeker spent 4 months in the NICU and we prayed daily for her, the doctors and all the nurses. We still go every birthday to visit them, she is 4 now and spirited, fearless, fiesty and one of the biggest blessings in our family. We went on to have 3 more healthy over due babies… go figure!

K.T. on

I don’t know either one of them, but I greatly enjoyed reading this article. I’m so happy that the little one made it through. I’m also happy to know that it “redefined” dad’s faith in God. It just shows us once again that prayer does work… I pray that dad’s faith in God continues to grow (mom’s as well) I also pray that the little one grows up to do great things with his life & is a blessing to his parents & others… God Bless. : – )

Manuel on

Call me crazy but shouldn’t it say “restored my faith in science”? Because let’s face it GROWN UPS, that’s what saved his son’s life.

PA on

He seems to have a great family. Good for him!

Kathy on

FINALLY!!! – A wonderful story with a positive message and outcome. All glory to God! So happy their son, and all of your children that have faced this adversity are all thriving and doing well. It’s a true testament to the work of God.

Kelli, you sound tired and worn out. Understandable with the work you do but of course these babies need you and others like you. His testament to the Lord doesn’t negate anything about what nurses do, and Manuel, well, you are entitled to your opinion, but faith is what saved their child and them during a critical time in their lives. Your lack of faith doesn’t change that.

charlotte on

Love this family!

aJ on

Just so beautiful and really moving. God can move moutains, you just have to trust Him. Hope for nothing but happiness and love for this family!

Aeol on

Manuel – I’ll never understand why people take it so personally that OTHER people express their faith. What’s so wrong with believing in faith AND science? I have a niece who was stillborn and a good friend who just had a stillborn baby, four days after I had my healthy baby girl. We’re not asking, “why didn’t science save them? Why didn’t God save them?” But rather, “science can’t make everything better. And God doesn’t make everything perfect. But we rely on the comfort of faith and hope even when things are bleak.” Terrible things happen in this world. Children die by the handful every minute due to war and poverty. It’s no use asking “why did God let this happen,” but rather, why are there people in this world who value war over peace? Why do Americans complain about the price of Starbucks and happy meals increasing when there are children who are starving? Ask yourself what good you actually did I day, before questioning someone else’s faith.

lmack69 on

I love their marriage. They are constantly saying the nicest, most genuine things about each other. I really hope these two make it. Its so nice to see a kind, God-loving couple in Hollywood.

livia08 on

Love them as a couple and this is the first time I’ve heard them actually speak out about this, though I knew it through tabs and such. All good health to them all

Mellie on

Don’t know either of these celebrities, but the story line got me. It’s nice to hear a father celebrity talk about how much his son and marriage mean to him. Also that he is a believer, and that his belief is even stronger after the turmoil they went through after his son was born. Keep that faith strong. You’ll have many years ahead of you where you’ll need it as your little one grows up and life changes. Glad he’s doing so well and that life is good.

SarahJane77 on

After having 2 preemies, one with a NICU stay, and one with an extra 3 days in the hospital, I can relate! I think this might be the first time they released how early he was and how long he spent in the NICU.

Chris Pratt is a really great man. Did anyone else read the article that he kept parts of his costume from Guardians of the Galaxy so if it does well (meaning people would be super excited to see his character) he can wear it to Children’s Hospitals? He just comes across as a guy who would genuinely do that.

STL on

Even when he had the weight on him, I adored him. But now, Lord have mercy!!!

mel on

My baby was born at 24 week and spent 5 months in the NICU. After one of his three surgeries I loved how the surgeon told me his Intestine miraculously healed. There isnt anything harder than seeing your son suffer, but it sure makes a difference when we turn to God to find peace.

Seriously on

Chris Pratt is simply adorable. I love a man that can gush with love for his kids. Really like this sweet family.

Jen on

He gets it. So relieved to see a Hollywood person who is not afraid to proclaim the truth. Much luck and blessings to him and his family.

KingKing on

I love reading stories like this where faith in God is “redefined”. If you have eyes to see and ears to hear God’s there. A huge thank you to those nurses, Dr’s and hospital staff that helped save many babies. Beautiful story.

Lala on

So glad his son made it, and it helped to strengthen his faith in God. I love reading all the comments supporting that. Yes, doctors and nurses are a great help, and the science behind it. My husband works in the OR, and you wouldn’t believe how many doctors insist on praying before a surgery. Prayers that their hands will be guided, prayers that everything will go well, and prayers for understanding if they don’t. Many people have faith, because they have had prayers answered. Prayers that seemed farfetched — or moments that have been beyond mere coincidence. They have felt the warmth of God in their hearts, and the peace he brings in their minds. Just because another person hasn’t had that experience, doesn’t mean it’s your job to discredit them. People need something to believe in, and relay on, especially in their darkest moments.

Leigh on

God is so good.

Kellie on

Our Alayna was due on Valentine’s Day. Turns out she was born on Thanksgiving and came home on Valentine’s Day, healthy and thriving. We saw way too many babies who were there and then suddenly gone during those months, so I totally understand what he is saying. We get to see a living miracle every time we look at her, now a treasured 9 year old who shows no signs of the struggle she endured. These little one are such special gifts from God.

Amanda on

I remember being due with my son, also named Jack – well we were both due in November and Anna went early and of course it was reported he was born in August, my own hormones and fears of having a premie kicked into high gear. My son was actually born 4 weeks early and I remember the same feelings. So happy to hear that Jack is doing great these days. Both Jacks sound to me like they could tear it up! Bless them all!

KellyGreen on

I totally and completely understand everything he is saying. I, too, had a NICU baby, my first (6.5 weeks premature). He’s a rambunctious almost-3-year-old now, but I can’t even tell you how many times I prayed to a God I hadn’t talked to in forever.

Jessica on

GOD IS SCIENCE. Chew on that.

Ctgal on

What a great article. Thanks for sharing People!

D on

God has a plan for your life Chris and for your family!! Wonderful to hear God restored your faith! We may not physically see Him now, but He’s there and always will be! Just call on Him!

fanofboarwalkempire on

Just love Chris and appreciate his sharing with us the struggles that they went through before getting Jack home. God is great!

Mary on

Great to see he share his story about his struggle!

Amy on

Great story, and some really great comments. I can also relate as my daughter was a preemie who spent a month in the NICU. The first year was rough, but I’m so thankful everytime I look at my now 5 year old, smart, beautiful girl, who is so full of energy and spirit. I wish them and all parents the best.

Andrea on

Love him! Love her! So happy for their healthy boy and all their success!

Bee on

And what of the babies who don’t make it? Was God on a break those times, but spared this baby? Is it all “part of his plan” to kill babies? Some God.

Italy on

What a beautiful story! God Bless this sweet family!!! :)

Van on

This is a moving story, happy to see they are all good in the end!

MULDOON38 on

My younger son was born at 24 weeks weighing 1.75 lbs. He spent exactly 6 months in NICU with 4 major surgeries before his release. He was a 2 percenter. He had a 2% chance to live past 6 weeks; he had a 2% chance of living without severe and pernicious birth defects; and he had a 2% chance to have a full and rewarding life. That was just over 14 yrs ago. He’s a bubba now without noticeable defect other than he can and does eat me out of house and home at a moment’s notice and could probably take Hulk Hogan down without too much trouble. I firmly believe it was prayer to God by me, my wife, and a worldwide ring of family and friends looking over him and us. And, interestingly, his story is not really the miracle to be told. Mr and Mrs. Pratt, hug your son tight and rejoice in every day. It only gets better.

omegaman on

I think he must have a screw-loose.

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