'I'm much happier than I have ever been' – Jonathan Rhys Meyers on the joy of fatherhood

'I'm much happier than I have ever been' – Jonathan Rhys Meyers on the joy of fatherhood

Jonathan Rhys Meyers says he is the happiest he has ever been now he has a family.

‘The Tudors’ star said he has had a new perspective on life since his son Wolf was born in 2016. “I’m much happier than I have ever been,” he told the Irish Independent as he helped celebrate 25 years of Barretstown, the charity that helps sick children and their families.

“Once you have your first child, you become the past. We’re all busy giving out to ourselves and driving ourselves forward. A child gives you a new perspective on life.”

Rhys Meyers got his start in the acting industry aged just 16. He doesn’t believe he was too young starting out compared with some child stars, but reckons the acting world is a grown-up industry and not one he would be pushing his son into.

“It was just the way it was, I was 15 when I did my first commercial, and 16 almost 17 when I was in my first film,” he said. “It was young, but not too young – I have just worked with a girl who was seven years old. Very talented, but seven.

“It is a grown-up world – and I do love working with kids, kids bring something special – but I wouldn’t encourage my son to be an actor. Of course, I’d tell him ‘do whatever you want to do’, but I wouldn’t push it, even though he has been in a short film with me.”

Awards season is in full swing and there have been plenty of nominations for Irish talent in the industry. ‘The Favourite’ racked up 10 Oscar nominations, short film ‘Detainment’ got a nod, and ‘Late Afternoon’ is also in the running for an Academy Award – although there was a miss for Saoirse Ronan, who lost out on an Oscar nomination for ‘Mary Queen of Scots’. However, Rhys Meyers – himself a Golden Globe winner – reckoned the time for the Carlow actress to pick up a golden statue would come soon and, when it happened, it would be on numerous occasions.

“I mean, Saoirse is so young, and she has been nominated three times for the Oscars, and she isn’t even 25,” he said. “I’m sure she will win an Academy Award, I’m sure she will get a slew of them.”

He said winning awards wasn’t something actors should focus on, but it did open up opportunities for rising stars.

“It comes with the territory and means a lot when it happens. As soon as you get nominated, it changes how much you will be paid on your next job,” he said. “It opens doors.”

Rhys Meyers and fellow actor Aidan Gillen were on hand yesterday to launch Barretstown’s new Press Play campaign. It aims to raise an additional €5m over the next five years to ensure that Barretstown can expand its programmes to serve more children who suffer from serious illness and their families.

“As a parent, you can feel helpless, and Barretstown gives them an outlet, a chance at restarting your family,” he said.

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