Ryan Reynolds Says "I Love That I Have Anxiety" Because It Helps Him as a Dad

"When I see my kids experiencing some of that...I know how to address it in a way that is compassionate."

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively with their, children attend the ceremony honoring actor Ryan Reynolds with a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame held on December 15, 2016 in Hollywood, California.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Actor Ryan Reynolds is opening up about his mental health struggles and why he thinks they're actually a blessing in disguise, especially when it comes to parenting.

In a recent interview with fellow thespian Hugh Jackman for People's latest cover story, the Deadpool star was asked if he believes his "anxiety struggles" are made better or worse now that he's a parent. In response, Reynolds explained that his anxiety helps him be a more compassionate, more present and more understanding parent.

"I think it makes it better because your focus is less on yourself and more on your kids," Reynolds explained, adding that he knows Jackman "knows that too."

"Now I love that I have anxiety, I love that I've had anxiety," Reynolds continued. "Because when I see my kids experiencing some of that, which is probably genetic, I know how to address it in a way that is compassionate, that actually allows them to feel seen. I know that I can't just fix it. And I can communicate all that stuff to them and with them. I'm always grateful for it."

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Reynolds shares four children with his wife and fellow actor Blake Lively—Betty, Ines, James, and the couple's newest addition whose name has yet to be revealed to the public.

During a recent appearance on TODAY, the proud dad described what it was like to recently parent his four children solo while his wife was away.

“No one died, which was nice,” he said at the time. "And four kids, it’s just a zoo! Like, you just surrender, right? You just surrender 24/7."

One 2022 Harvard study found that an estimated 20% of mothers and 15% of fathers report feeling anxiety—and anxiety among parents and caregivers was made worse by COVID-19. According to one 2021 study, 34% of U.S. parents said they experienced "elevated anxiety symptoms" as a result of the pandemic.

Jackman, who is the proud father of two, shared his own experience with anxiety and how it impacts him as a parent.

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"I used to be a little bit old-school. I thought: 'Don’t burden them if you are anxious,'" he explained. "Say you’ve got an opening night, or you’re hosting the Oscars—for three weeks before, I go a little distant. And then someone said to me: 'But your kids don’t know that you’ve got the Oscars. Maybe they’re thinking you’re mad with them (or) they’ve done something.'

"I had to make an uncomfortable phone call yesterday, and I actually just said to my son: 'I’ve got to make this uncomfortable phone call. I’m a bit nervous about it. If I seem a bit off, that’s why,'" he continued. "And he goes: 'Oh.' And then he said, 'How did the call go, Dad?' I said, 'I feel so much better.'”

Reynolds reportedly nodded in agreement, before replying: "And he feels apart of your world."

Danielle Campoamor
Weekend Editor

Danielle Campoamor is Marie Claire's weekend editor covering all things news, celebrity, politics, culture, live events, and more. In addition, she is an award-winning freelance writer and former NBC journalist with over a decade of digital media experience covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mortality, gun violence, climate change, politics, celebrity news, culture, online trends, wellness, gender-based violence and other feminist issues. You can find her work in The New York Times, Washington Post, TIME, New York Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, TODAY, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Prism, Newsweek, Slate, HuffPost and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two feral sons. When she is not writing, editing or doom scrolling she enjoys reading, cooking, debating current events and politics, traveling to Seattle to see her dear friends and losing Pokémon battles against her ruthless offspring. You can find her on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and all the places.