Wearing the Daddy Badge

Celebrities vie for father of the year

Colin Farrell, the handsome Irish actor tied to a string of high-profile romances, confesses he hasn’t had time to date in four years.

The reason? He’s a working dad, and he prioritizes those duties first and foremost.

Then there’s Jeremy Renner, best known of late for his super-heroic exploits as Hawkeye in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The actor recently joked that being a father “screwed” his career because he wants to spend so much time with his two-year-old daughter.

“Daddy is my best role to date,” says Jeremy Renner.

Or consider Russell Crowe, the actor behind “Gladiator,” “Noah” and other big-budget fare.

Crowe may have made headlines in recent years for his temper, but now he’s extolling the virtues of parenthood as an explanation for why he’s a kinder, gentler person.

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“Father Knows Best” is but a memory, but the popular culture is embracing fatherhood as a role many men beat their chests over.

Of course, 99 percent of fathers in America don’t get the press Farrell, Renner or Crowe receive. They toil in relative obscurity, changing diapers, reading bedtime stories, cleaning the messy kitchen table after meals and kissing boo-boos without incident or notice. None of those gestures will ever be captured by reporters or shared on social media. Dads don’t expect, or demand, huzzahs from their peers. They just want to be the best parents possible. Period.

“Once you’re a parent, everything that you do in life happens from the prism of being a parent,” Crowe says.

Still, there’s a cultural shift happening in Hollywood and beyond. Famous fathers are stepping up, proudly, more than before. It’s cool today to be an involved parent, to extol the virtues of fatherhood and brag about tasks once dismissively labeled as women’s work.

Can we definitively say that Farrell, Renner and Crowe are Father of the Year candidates? Of course not. But when pressed by entertainment journalists, these guys shared the kind of life details that often have little to do with the product they’re plugging. Either those thoughts were hovering in their minds before the Q&A, or they knew potential ticket buyers would be impressed to hear how much fatherhood means to them.

To paraphrase one magazine’s addictive photo feature: “They’re Just Like Us.”

Popular culture too often shares messages that make parents shrug their shoulders, like the sad exploits of Honey Boo Boo or how Kim Kardashian first became a household name. So let’s go ahead and do it: Let’s salute the celebrities who extol the beauty, the work and the duty of fatherhood.

It not only makes really good business sense. It sends the right message.​

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