The "WandaVision" star shares that his father went back into the closet after a 20 year relationship with a man -- and that's taught him to urge his children to "live authentically as they person they are."
Paul Bettany's android superhero may not be a father (yet) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the 49-year-old "WandaVision" star has three children with wife Jennifer Connelly ranging in age from 9 to 23, and he says that they changed everything for him.
"Marriage and children changed my life," he told People on Friday. "It really altered who I was and what I saw as my goals."
Another thing that informed his approach to fatherhood was his experiences with his own father, actor Thane, who had divorced his mother and shared a subsequent 20 year relationship with a man.
The tragedy for Bettany, though, is what happened later in his father's life after having finally lived in his truth for so long.
"The terrible thing for my father is that, in the end, he went back in the closet, which was awful to watch, really," Bettany said. "And that really speaks to the power of his Catholicism, which sort of led him to a place of shame and inability to mourn his partner in a real way."
Because of watching his father step away from his true self out of shame, Bettany knew this isn't what he wanted for his own children, or anyone for that matter. There's a pain that's hard to quantify inside of anyone who feels they must hide themselves like that.
"I really want my children, and I want everybody, to just live authentically as the person they are," Bettany said. "However hard that is, it's absolutely better than pretending to be something other than you are."
And the message didn't stop there, as he also emphasizes in his own life and with his children the importance of "not being judgmental." If there was less judgment in the world, then people like his father wouldn't feel compelled to hide in shame for simply wanting to be who they are.
Bettany stars alongside Elizabeth Olsen in the MCU's first streaming series, "WandaVision," where neither is quite sure what is real and what is not as they navigate a strange world of sitcom tropes through the decades.
Dropping Fridays on Disney+, "WandaVision" heads into the 1970s this week. The first two episodes (and decades) of this comedy mystery are streaming now.