Richard E. Grant felt “overwhelmed” when his daughter was born
The 63-year-old actor welcomed his daughter, Olivia, into the world in 1989 when his wife Joan Washington gave birth, and has said her birth felt like a miracle after the couple were “told not to try” to have children following a series of devastating miscarriages
12 August 2020
Richard - who is also step-father to Joan’s son Tom - recalled: “Before we had Olivia, Joan and I had had another baby girl who was born at 27 weeks and only lived for half an hour because her lungs were underdeveloped. Joan also had multiple miscarriages and we were told not to try again. But she was very determined and said: ‘I’ve seen how you are with Tom, I think fatherhood suits you. You’re very good at it.’
© 2020 Bang Showbiz, NZCity
“Olivia was born in 1989, by caesarean section. I remember a nurse bringing her to the door and it’s the first and only time I’ve experienced projectile water shooting out of my eyes. I felt overwhelmed, and that feeling has remained. She was born six weeks premature, weighed 4lb and had jaundice, so she had to go into an incubator. She looked like a little bird. When I finally got to pick her up, it felt like I could hold her in the palm of my hand.”
And Olivia - who now works with her father as a casting associate - believes her parents’ previous experience with loss made them “very present” for her upbringing.
She added: “Both of my parents are very present. Because of everything that happened with the baby they lost, they wanted to be there as much as they could. Dad would go away for two months at a time, but then be home for four months.”
The ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ star says he made a “conscious” decision to be an “emotionally open” father because his own parents were “formal and non-tactile”.
And Richard also recalls telling his daughter his only job as her father is “to be embarrassing”, which he thinks he has achieved “tenfold”.
In a joint interview with The Sunday Times magazine, he said: “Because of the era I grew up in, my parents were formal and non-tactile, so I’ve consciously done the opposite and am incredibly tactile and emotionally open. My mother’s adultery and then my father’s alcoholism all had to be hidden within the family and I think to live with secrecy like that is toxic.
“I’ve never pretended to know the answer to everything, whereas I can remember my father saying to me: ‘I’ll never let you down, I’ll always be able to sort things out.’ The reality is, you can’t. I told her when she became a teenager, ‘My chief job as your father is to be embarrassing,’ and I think I have fulfilled my obligation tenfold.”