Hugh Grant opens up about fatherhood, likes his daughter 'very much'
Hugh Grant has generally avoided interviews following a very public battle with British media over phone-hacking, but the actor recently got candid about his new daughter, Tabitha.
The 51-year-old welcomed his daughter in September with a 32-year-old Chinese woman named Tinglan Hong, with whom the actor had a "fleeting affair," the actor's spokesperson told OnTheRedCarpet.com in a statement.
"Lots of people warned me about that; they said never let anyone know, but the baby period is not that exciting. But I am excited, actually," Grant told the UK's The Guardian. "I thought, well, I'll bluff through - but very little bluffing has been required. I like my daughter very much. Fantastic. Has she changed my life? I'm not sure. Not yet. Not massively, no. But I'm absolutely thrilled to have had her, I really am. And I feel a better person."
Though Tabitha's arrival was unplanned, Grant's rep told OnTheRedCarpet.com at the time of the birth that the actor and the baby's mother are on "very friendly terms." Grant also defended her against the media and told the Guardian that thanks to a court injunction, he can now visit his daughter without the "pandemonium of a press pack."
"Had we not got the injunction, I'm sure she'd be in China by now. She is a good person, a nice person; funny, clever, great mother," Grant said of Hong. "And she's been very badly treated by the media."
Grant chose his daughter's English name, Tabitha, while her mother chose a Chinese name. The actor also intends to pass on some respectable qualities to his daughter.
"Good manners and not being selfish. It's just unattractive in a child, I don't like it. And discipline - I do think discipline's important. I'm very glad that I had quite a strict mother who was big on discipline," Grant said of his rearing priorities. "My other worry... is not giving your children money. I see nothing but [expletive]-ups among my trust-fund friends. It's like 99 percent [expletive]-ups. So I would not want to do that to my children."
Despite Grant's admitted reservations about fatherhood, the actor told the paper that he has turned into a bit of a softy with his new daughter. "There probably is some truth that one of our main functions on the planet is to reproduce, because it feels like more of an achievement than it should do. Which is nonsense, really," Grant continued. "But yesterday I took my daughter to see my father, who's in hospital, and all the nurses were cooing over her. And I felt, well, pride."
Grant is known for his roles in films like "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Notting Hill" and "About a Boy."
He has had past relationships with actress Elizabeth Hurley and socialite and writer Jemima Khan. He and Hurley dated for about 13 years and even weathered through a much-publicized sex scandal - he was arrested in 1995 for soliciting a prostitute. He and the actress broke up in 2000. Grant dated Khan between 2004 and 2007.
Grant's love life and scandal have often dominated tabloid headlines. Earlier this year, he helped spearhead a legal battle against one such publication, the UK newspaper News of the World, which was the focus of a celebrity phone hacking scandal. The tabloid shut down in July.
The actor also accused the UK's Daily Mail of hacking his phone, which the paper's editor Paul Dacre adamantly denies.
Grant is slated to portray six different villains in his upcoming film "Cloud Atlas," which also stars Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Halle Berry and Susan Sarandon. He is also set to reprise his role as Daniel Cleaver in "Bridget Jone's Diary 3," opposite Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth.