Arsenio Hall Affirms Fatherhood: “It Makes You a Smarter, Less Selfish Person”

Time magazine recently published a controversial article entitled “The Childfree Life,” highlighting couples who say they’ve found fulfillment in their choice not to have children. The choice has allowed them to do more things that they want to do instead of making sacrifices required when raising kids.

Though it had no relation to that article, a much different point-of-view was presented during a recent interview Arsenio Hall did on “Access Hollywood” promoting his new talk show. Hall – joined by his longtime friend Earvin “Magic” Johnson – shared his thoughts on parenthood and why he became a father in 1999. Hall gave credit to Johnson, his wife Cookie, and their son E.J., who Hall used to babysit.

“Being a father changes a man. It explains life in a very interesting way, and it explains your purpose on this earth. I think it makes you a smarter, less selfish person. And what I needed a lot is to step outside of this body and be less concerned about me…You’ve heard parents say, ‘Take me. Don’t take my baby.’ I didn’t understand that. When you have that kind of love for someone on this planet, it changes who you are…”

“Can I tell you something I’ve never told anybody? I don’t even know if know if he [Johnson] knows this. I had the desire to have a child because of E.J. When Earvin was coaching – and this is more on Cookie than anybody – she used to let me take E.J. to games so he could watch Daddy coach. I would change diapers in the limo and come back to the game because Cookie let me babysit. I developed this thing of saying, ‘I don’t think I want to leave this earth without being a father.’

“But here is the moment. There’s a tunnel. Half-time is about to happen. I go into the tunnel so E.J. can see Earvin when Earvin comes down after the team. I’m holding E.J., and E.J. is looking…E.J. saw Earvin and started trying to get away from me and jump out of my arms. Earvin grabbed him ,kissed him on the lips, and handed him back to me…At that moment, I saw a kind of love that I’d never seen before. I was changing the diapers in the limo, but he couldn’t wait to get away from me to get to Daddy. At that moment, I wanted to have that kind of love in my life before I leave this planet.”

About Tony Rossi

After graduating from St. John's University in New York with degrees in Communications and English, Tony Rossi found a job at the Catholic media organization, The Christophers, that allowed him to indulge his interest in religion, media, and pop culture. He served as The Christophers' TV producer for 11 years, and is currently the host and producer of the organization's radio show/podcast Christopher Closeup, writer and editor of their syndicated Light One Candle column, and producer/scriptwriter of the annual Christopher Awards ceremony.


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