Happy Father's Day to These Dashing Stars Who Became Dads After 50

From James Earl Jones to George Clooney, success took on a whole new meaning after 50 for these famous fellows once they added "father" to their resume

By Natalie Finn Jun 21, 2020 2:00 PMTags
Watch: Andy Cohen Says His 1st Father's Day Was "Great"

Sure, there may be some perks to having the freedom to do whatever at a moment's notice, particularly if you're a rich and famous actor or singer. Or maybe they just thought they weren't cut out to be dads.

But ask any one of these guys, and they wouldn't trade cuddle time and diaper duty for anything.

However, they may not have known that when they were younger, which is why gentlemen such as George Clooney and Jeff Goldblum waited a beat to take on the role of their lives.

No, not King Lear. Fatherhood!

"It's something I never thought I would be doing," Clooney acknowledged to reporters in 2017, when his twins, Alexander and Ella, were 3 months old. "All my friends are laughing at me and they think it's funny—I get it. Fair enough, I gave them a hard enough time."

Father's Day 2020: First-Time Dads

Those babies are 3 now, and George is among the distinguished crop of stars who didn't decide until after 50 (or 60) that fatherhood was, in fact, for them. Check out the dads who are truly savoring Father's Day with the wisdom that comes with having a few extra miles on the odometer:

James Earl Jones

The esteemed actor and voice of two of pop culture's most famous dads, Mufasa and Darth Vader, didn't become a faaaatherrrr himself until 1982, when he was 51 and welcomed son Flynn with his second wife, Cecilia.

Warren Beatty

He had a good run on his own, but Hollywood's most storied bachelor ended up having four kids with Annette Bening, their first arriving in January 1992, when Beatty was 55. He and Bening, his co-star in Bugsy, tied the knot that March.

David Letterman

The Late Show host was 56 when girlfriend (now wife) Regina Lasko gave birth to their son Harry, named after Dave's father, in November 2003.

"I could never imagine ever being a part of something that turned out this beautiful," he quipped to his audience in one of his more purely joyful monologues.

Hugh Grant

The Love Actually star was about 51 when he became a dad to daughter Tabitha in 2011 with Tinglan Hong after—as his rep called it—a "fleeting affair." 

"Everyone was right all these years, saying, 'Hugh, why don't you have some children? It changes your life," Grant said on Ellen when Tabitha was 6 months old. "Now that I have one, it is life changing. I recommend it. Get some!"

Admittedly, he added, Tabitha—whose name in Chinese, Jīng Xǐ, means "Happy Surprise—was "a little bit of a surprise. But it's a very nice surprise."

Grant took his own advice: He had two more children in quick succession, son John, with TV producer Anna Eberstein, and son Felix, with Hong, arriving within months of each other in 2012.

He and Eberstein stuck together after that, welcoming a daughter in 2015. Their third child together—and Grant's fifth—was born in 2018, after which they got married that May.

George Clooney

The Oscar winner celebrated his 56th birthday a month before welcoming twins Ella and Alexender with wife Amal Clooney. And so far, true to George's early vow to maintain his kids' privacy, these two have kept all of the family photos to themselves.

John Stamos

The Full House star was 54 when he and wife Caitlin McHugh welcomed their son Billy in April 2018.

"It's more beautiful than anyone told me it would be," Stamos shared with People a few days later. "I've been waiting a long time."

Bryan Adams

After his parents divorced, the "Summer of '69" rocker was estranged from his dad for 12 years. Adams sought him out in 1992, a reunion he described 10 years later to The Guardian as "nothing but embraces and tears." Asked if experiencing what it was like to grow up in a broken home was a reason he hadn't had his own family yet, he said, "Well, that's a very deep question. I don't know if I can answer that, I don't know."

Down the road a bit, the singer-activist-photographer was 51 when he welcomed his first child, a daughter named Mirabella Bunny, with Alicia Grimaldi in 2011; another daughter, Lula, followed in 2013. But he still didn't want to talk much about his private life, telling the Telegraph in 2015, "It's nobody's f--king business but my own."

Simon Cowell

The longtime bachelor and harshest critic on two continents, a man who had made children cry on TV, turned into one of the most doting celeb dads around in 2014, when son Eric was born on Valentine's Day. The America's Got Talent judge and record impresario was 54.

"I'm not brilliant with babies," Cowell admitted to Parade when girlfriend Lauren Silverman was still pregnant. "I never know what to do. But [once he's older] I think I'll be a good dad in terms of advice. And then I'll get to do all the things I want to do, like go to Disneyland or Universal Studios, teach him how to drive—I love all that."

A few weeks after Eric was born, he told Extra, "I was born to be a dad..."I actually said to Lauren beforehand, 'What if I like the dogs more than him?' and she said, 'You're gonna be absolutely fine,' and then literally within seconds of him being born, I got it!"

Jeff Goldblum

"I never really particularly passionately wanted children," the idiosyncratic actor, single at the time, shrugged to London's Independent in April 2008.

Six years later, not long before marrying third wife Emilie Livingston, he told GQ.com he did not have babies on the brain. "But, you know, they are cute, aren't they?" he added, presumably with utmost Goldbluminess.

Less than a year later, on July 4, 2015, the couple welcomed son Charlie Ocean. Goldblum was 62. Another son, River Joe, arrived on April 7, 2017.

He told Parade in July 2016 that he simply "never seriously considered [having children] until Emilie. I'm at a different place now. I was enthusiastic to marry her and try to have a baby." To USA Today he admitted that he had to "wrap my head around" the idea of becoming a dad. But ultimately "things have shifted. I think there's a perspective, maybe, about acting and, you know, career things that gets shifted with home life being so full and nutritious, and nourishing and wholesome. It's really fun."

Steve Martin

The Father of the Bride star and full-on renaissance man was 67 when he and his second wife, Anne Springfield, welcomed daughter [insert name here]. (The couple have yet to publicly reveal her name, one of the celebrity world's greatest gifts being privileged anonymity.)

In his first appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman after becoming a dad, Martin plunked a baby monitor on Dave's desk. "The baby's back at the hotel and I'm a responsible dad," he deadpanned.

"Oh, it's fantastic—you have all the time in the world," Martin further quipped to Australia's Daily Telegraph in 2016 about being an older father. "You're all set and secure in life, and you're not building your career, so you have a lot of time."

But though he's only broadened his creative horizons in recent years, he insisted he really does have more time. "When I was younger, I was selfish and focused on my career. Now I'm just hanging around the house playing with her. It's great."

Chris Noth

The Sex and the City star was 53 when he and Tara Lynn Wilson welcomed son Orion in 2008—and he would go on to say that he simply wasn't ready beforehand (and having not met the right woman yet was part of it).

"I think a child changes the equation in your life," Noth told AskMen.com in 2014. "We value freedom a lot in society now. We live longer. The idea of being in your 30s settling down and having a family, I just think people realize they don't have to do that right away. There's still time."

He added, "Also, I had some pretty big relationships in my life. I'm glad I didn't get married. I've been in love maybe four times before that. If I had gotten married, I'd be paying four different alimonies."

He and Tara, his wife since 2012, welcomed another son, Keats, in February 2020.

Elton John

The iconic singer-songwriter was 63 when he and now-husband David Furnish (48 at the time) welcomed their first son, Zachary, via surrogate on Christmas Day in 2010. Lady Gaga is one of his godmothers, not too shabby.

About a month after Zachary was born, John told Pop Sugar about his decision to have children: "I've had an incredible life. I experienced great joys and great sadness, great highs, great lows, I pulled myself together, I got sober, I got my self respect back, and I tried to make up for lost time by doing good things for other people. But the only thing missing from my life that I hadn't experienced was having a child. And, David and I thought about this and decided to have one and so I think as much as I can teach my child many great things, he's gonna teach me 1,000 times more about myself—what I need to do, how I need to look at things. I've never lived that life before."

Their second son, Elijah, was born in 2013, after which the doting dads said their family had been completed "in a most precious and perfect way."

Andy Cohen

The Watch What Happens Live host became a first-time dad at 50 when son Benjamin was born via surrogate in February 2019.

"Family means everything to me and having one of my own is something I've wanted in my heart for my entire life," he said on his show, revealing that, if all went accordingly, he was going to be a father in six weeks' time. "And while it has taken me longer than most to get there, I cannot wait for what I envision will be my most rewarding chapter yet."


Anderson Cooper

The longtime CNN newsman and 53-year-old first-time dad reported on his own blessed event in April, announcing the arrival of his son Wyatt Morgan Cooper via surrogate.

"As a gay kid, I never thought it would be possible to have a child, and I'm grateful for all those who have paved the way, and for the doctors and nurses and everyone involved in my son's birth," Cooper shared. He later said that his ex-partner Benjamin Maisani, whom he amicably split from in 2018 after nine years together, would be a co-parent to Wyatt.

To everyone who's celebrating, have a happy Father's Day.