Martin has played the role of a dad on the silver screen but never found the time to be one in real life until he met the love of his life.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on April 11, 2020. It has since been updated.
Many people have a neat set of goals for themselves and milestones to meet by a certain age. But not everyone follows the plan as each of us has different emotional needs at various stages of our lives. Many let life takes its course and chooses to go with the flow. Ace comedian Steve Martin, 74, who has played a father on-screen many times, got a chance to become a real-life father at 67. Now, that might scare a lot of people but not him. While many people get ready to play with their grandchildren in their 60s, the Cheaper by the Dozen actor took a leap of faith with his journalist wife journalist Anne Stringfield, 48, and went ahead with it. He finds fatherhood a "fantastic" role and was more than ready for it.
Stringfield and the Father of the Bride actor welcomed their first and only child, daughter Mary Martin, in 2012, and he wouldn't have it any other way. "Oh, it’s fantastic—you have all the time in the world. You’re all set and secure in life, and you’re not building your career, so you have a lot of time," he told Australia’s Daily Telegraph. "When I was younger, I was selfish and focused on my career," he says. "Now I’m just hanging around the house playing with [my daughter]. It’s great."
But, how did Martin's journey with Stringfield begin? The 48-year-old mother-of-one had been a fact-checker and covered celebrity profiles, and it is through her work the couple met. She and Martin spoke over the phone for almost a year before they met. And even though they have almost 30 years between them, they fell in love. They dated for three years before getting married in 2007. In true Martin's style, he shared the news of his engagement as a surprise for his friends, according to Rare.
"She makes it all possible. She has one of the most important qualities a person can have, and that’s kindness," he said rather sweetly about her, according to People. He had invited his friends, including Tom Hanks, Eugene Levy, Carl Reiner, and Diane Keaton, for a party without telling them that he was going to get married that day, according to USAToday30. Five years later, they welcomed their first child together and he credits his great life to his wife.
"It’s going great because I have a wonderful wife and mother," the Pink Panther star told David Letterman on his show a few months after his baby arrived, according to CloserWeekly. He also joked that he named his daughter "Conquistador." "We’ve thought about the name quite a bit. Conquistador. What do you think?" he asked Letterman. "I didn’t want to go with one of those Hollywood weird names. Conquistador is a statement."
He never stops gushing about becoming a father and puts the idea of fatherhood into perspective for AARP magazine. "I think if I’d had a child earlier, I would have been a lousy father because I would have misplaced my attention on my career,” the iconic star said. "I am very forthcoming with her, and it’s great. She’s giving me way more than I’m giving her."
The 74-year-old is aware that his age is something he needs to be mindful of and takes care of himself for the sake of his family. "I do exercise, but gently," he told AARP Magazine. "I go on a treadmill and listen to a novel or watch television. I lift weights, but I just do my chest and arms." He added, "I do it for myself but I do it for them, as well." The Parenthood actor describes his life as "very, very happy." He went on to elaborate, "I mean, it's actually the perfect shape of a life. Except for the hard parts in the beginning—the disharmony, panic, pain, with occasional moments of great affection and comedy success." He said that it took him a while to differentiate fame from success. Since then, "it's been a gentle uphill slope to a real, real happiness." Now that's the kind of life one should seek to create!
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photos by Michael Buckner