Father's Day

From Bill Cosby to Brad Pitt, celebs talk fatherhood

June 16, 2013 at 7:52 AM ET

They may be superheroes, rock gods, raucous comedians or even the President of the United States in their day jobs, but when they get home, they're just dad.

President Barack Obama has two daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 12.
NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP - Getty Images

As President Obama put it during a Father’s Day luncheon at the White House on Friday, “It’s the best job I’ve got!” Celebrity fathers go through the ups and downs and the joys and frustrations just like regular dads who don’t have paparazzi following them around. In honor of Father’s Day, here are some famous fathers giving their take on the serious and lighter sides of fatherhood.

“This is my most important role. If I fail at this, I fail at everything.’’ - Mark Wahlberg.

“Even though your kids will consistently do the exact opposite of what you’re telling them to do, you have to keep loving them just as much.” – Bill Cosby

“Do I want to be a hero to my son? No. I would like to be a very real human being. That’s hard enough.” – Robert Downey Jr.

“It won’t take away your manhood, it will give it to you.” – Louis C.K.

"Fatherhood is the best thing I ever did. It changes your perspective. You can write a book, you can make a movie, you can paint a painting, but having kids is really the most extraordinary thing I have taken on." – Brad Pitt

"Every day I'm proud to be a dad. When you have kids, there's no such thing as quality time. There's just time. There's no, 'Ooh, this graduation's better than going to the mall.' It's all kind of equal. Changing her diaper and her winning a contest — it's all good." – Chris Rock

"When it comes to parenthood everyone thinks they will be terrible at it. We don't think we have it in us. Then you find out that you do, which truly is a miracle in life." – Daniel Day Lewis

Jay-Z is father to Blue Ivy, his daughter with singer Beyoncé.
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images
Jay-Z is father to Blue Ivy, his daughter with singer Beyoncé.

There’s also nothing like the joy and fear after becoming a dad for the first time:

"I've got incredible pride for my family. I've absolutely fallen into that cliché of a dad who could just happily talk about my daughter endlessly." – Christian Bale


“I thought I would be inspired to have all these new feelings to talk about, but I really just want to hang out with my daughter.” – Jay-Z

“If you could bottle up and distribute this feeling, I swear there'd be no more war. #fatherhood." – James Van Der Beek tweet

"Men should always change diapers. It's a very rewarding experience. It's mentally cleansing. It's like washing dishes, but imagine if the dishes were your kids, so you really love the dishes." – Chris Martin

“I want my son to wear a helmet 24 hours a day.” – Will Arnett

Part of being a dad is also dealing with exasperation, as anyone who drove their own parents up the wall occasionally while growing up knows:

“Having children is like living in a frat house - nobody sleeps, everything's broken, and there's a lot of throwing up." – Ray Romano

“If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right” - Bill Cosby

"There should be a children’s song 'If you’re happy and you know it, keep it to yourself and let your dad sleep.'" - Jim Gaffigan

"On the perfect Father's Day, there would be just dad, wearing his oldest surviving undershorts, free of pressure, maybe just sitting in front of the TV, watching the NBA finals. There would be no conversation, other than dad periodically observing that these players today could carry the ball across Montana and never get called for traveling. Of course, that's not all. You'd also make a restaurant reservation, and at the end of the day, you'd dress up and go out and have a nice dinner, during which you'd propose a toast to dad - who would be back home, in front of the TV, happily asleep in his veteran underwear."– Dave Barry

 "The Simpsons" has been on the air since 1989.
FOX
"The Simpsons" has been on the air since 1989.

Father’s Day is also an occasion for dads to reflect on their own fathers:

“I decided that I would do nothing that did not reflect positively on my father’s life.” – Sidney Poitier.

“The older I get, the smarter my father seems to get.’’ – Tim Russert

It all adds up to an appreciation for being a dad and having one to celebrate on Father's Day.

“I never thought of fatherhood as something that could affect a kid.” – Homer Simpson

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