By Stacy Jenel Smith
Celebrity watchers who've been following the saga of Brad Pitt over the past few years might well be feeling a tug on the heartstrings to think that the great American matinee idol is finally getting to celebrate Father's Day as a dad this year - and how.
Five years ago, then-wife Jennifer Aniston was telling Vanity Fair that Pitt "definitely wants seven" children - and that "he loves the idea of a huge family." Pitt talked about his desire for fatherhood himself. When the couple split, Aniston's supposed reluctance to hurry into pregnancy was blamed in many quarters, rightly or wrongly.
Now that's just a memory. His and Angelina Jolie's new baby daughter, Shiloh, is all over the news -- and Brad's been photographed in full doting daddy mode with Jolie's two adoptive children for months. Here is Brad, sporting matching hairdos with four-year-old Cambodia-born son Maddox. Here is Brad protectively carrying Ethiopia-born one-year-old daughter Zahara through an airport. You'll recall he filed to legally adopt the two in December.
This Father's Day also marks a first for that other great American matinee idol, Tom Cruise - who's relishing fatherhood anew with daughter Suri, to whom fiance Katie Holmes gave birth April 18. If we're to believe reports on the radio and elsewhere, Cruise has already determined that Suri is gifted, and has surrounded her with educational and sensory-enhancing toys and music including the full line of Baby Einstein DVDs.
Sure, some call Tom a control freak and have for years, but others couch his ways in more upbeat terms. For instance: "Tom does everything 150 per cent, and fatherhood he does 300 per cent," his buddy, Kirstie Alley, told People.
Cruise has experience in the daddy realm, with his two children from his marriage to Nicole Kidman
: Isabella, 13, and Connor, 11, whom Cruise and Kidman adopted as infants.
This year, like no other in recent memory, is prime time for movie star dads. Besides Brad and Tom, we also have recent Oscar nominee Heath Ledger. He's been taking time off of late to play "Mr. Mom" with his and Michelle Williams' daughter, Matilda Rose Ledger, who was born in October. "We don't want to be working at the same time, and I'm really in tune with fatherhood right now - so I'm going to do that," he was quoted as saying.
Adam Sandler became a Big Daddy for real in May, when wife Jackie gave birth to daughter Sadie. He commented awhile ago that "I do what that lifestyle. I do want children. I study dads more." And, he went on, "I admire my father more than I ever did." To the funnyman who has "Click" hitting screens this summer, it is a big deal indeed that his parents opted to always make him and his brother and sister their priority, even foregoing opportunities for no-kids-allowed vacations.
Mark Wahlberg and Model Rhea Durham welcomed their son Michael in March. They already have a daughter, two-year-old Ella Rae. The tough guy actor made his feelings about fatherhood clear when he told the Chicago Sun-Times' Cindy Pearlman: "The birth of my baby changed everything for me. Being a father has changed me in every possible way. It just puts it all into perspective. The enormity of the responsibility is just overwhelming at times. Honestly, I don't know how my mother raised nine kids."
Shades of Russell Crowe. Just last year, he, too, explained that fatherhood (of toddler son Charlie) had made a new man of him: "From the moment he arrived, my perspective just changed, my priorities changed," the pugnacious Oscar winner told "E.T." I'm very involved in being a dad.
"My days, if they start in the morning with a cuddle from my son, are just so much more glorious than they were prior to that."
And fathers across the land would no doubt say "Hear-hear." Have a burning showbiz question?
Ask those in-the-know, Marilyn and Stacy, and get the real skinny daily in their "Ask BeckSmith
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