Harrison Ford Says It’s Hard to Be Successful and a Good Father

Five decades as the world’s favorite action heroes really does a number on your personal life.

Harrison Ford attends the "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" press conference at the 76th annual Cannes film festival
Ford has five kids who range in age from 56 to 22
Getty Images

Unlike the yolks of his poached eggs, Harrison Ford’s recent Esquire profile is dripping with juicy soundbites. Key takeaways include the actor’s love of flying planes, his intolerance for overcooked breakfast and his rage at hypothetical battles between two of the most iconic characters in his reel. Ever wondered who would win in a fight between Han Solo and Indiana Jones? “Me, asshole! I don’t want to fucking make shit up like that. I mean, what are you asking me that crap for?” But alongside the chest-beating and the protein perfectionism, Ford also offers readers a glimpse into his role as father to his five kids — something he feels he might have done differently if his life had gone in another direction.

To Esquire editor Ryan D’Agostino, he admitted that if he’d been a less successful actor, he probably would have been “a better parent.” Ford — who’s played some of the most celebrated characters in American cinema since the early ‘70s — seems like he would be kind of a scary dad, but a dad you would do anything to make proud nonetheless. At 80 years old, his fuse doesn’t seem particularly long, and his patience (don’t you dare fucking ask him about a fight between President James Marshall and Jack Trainer!) somewhat eroded. 

Ford’s wife, Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart, hovers on the periphery of the profile like a helicopter mom at a playground. Despite a reputation for being close-lipped, lately Ford has been using interviews to shed some light on his personal life — and not always to his wife’s liking. D’Agostino notes that, after a few minor PR fumbles in recent articles about her husband, Flockhart prepped Ford for this interview, cautioning him against cursing and talking too much about his airplane hangar, out of fear that he would sound “like a rich guy with planes.” Ford apparently took none of this advice.

Flockhart was likely wary about what would come out of her husband’s mouth because of his February interview with The Hollywood Reporter — the “I know who the fuck I am” interview — which also went viral. For Esquire, Ford clarified what he had meant. “I accept my flaws and my failures — I don’t accept them, I own them,” he told D’Agostino. “And certainly, the more constant gardener is the better parent, and I’ve been out of town, up my own ass, for most of my life.”

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But Ford, whose five kids range in age from 56 to 22, has had plenty of time to make tweaks to his parenting style, something he once said actually gave him an edge as a parent. “My older children have taught me a lot,” he told The Independent in 2010. “My first child was born when I was 25; I reckon I’m a little better at [parenting] now.”

Despite what he’s implied about being an absent father, he doesn’t appear to be a stranger to his youngest. This week he and Flockhart were seen celebrating 22-year-old Liam’s graduation from Amherst College in western Massachusetts.

In that same Independent interview, Ford talked about raising Liam, his then nine-year-old adopted son. “I’ve got five kids in total, so it’s not my first rodeo,” he said. “Yeah, obviously, I’m getting older but I don’t relate to it very much. It doesn’t interest me as something to dwell on. I have a nine-year-old kid at home. I feel like the father of a nine-year-old.”

Like so many aging white male stars making headlines this month, Ford has a multi-decade age gap with Flockhart. She’s made comments about it in the past, saying it really doesn’t factor into their relationship much at all, and that, when Ford wakes up in the morning, he “looks like a little boy.” (Gross.) Yes, Calista. A little boy with a very particular egg palate.

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