Photo Credit: Matt Carr/Getty Image
He’s best known for playing sexy rogues in films like the dark 2006 drama Closer (which earned him an Oscar nod), but Clive Owen is heading into family-friendly territory with his new film, The Boys Are Back. Starring as a widower struggling to deal with his grief and learn to parent on his own gave the real-life father (who’s been married for 14 years to wife Sarah-Jane Fenton) an opportunity to share his work with his daughters Hannah, 12, and Eve, 10. iVillage spoke with the 45-year-old British actor about how his girls take full advantage of his celebrity and the secret to the success of his 14-year-long marriage.
How did you relate to your character, Joe Warr?
Joe's theory of parenting is a little out there, although I could understand some of it. He and his little boy have kind of been thrust into this situation. They're both sort of grieving and have to find a way through this. And he has a very sort of radical approach to parenting. The idea that he says, "As parents we're very quick to say no to our children and we need to be more open and available to them," I can relate to that.
Many of your films, such as Sin City 2 and Duplicity, have been too mature for your kids. Did your daughters get to watch The Boys Are Back?
Yes, they feel very attached to this one. They're very thrilled because they not only got to see it, but they came on set and met everybody. They feel very close to this film, which is lovely.
When Joe's wife dies, he struggles to handle all of the housework. How do you split the chores with your wife?
I'm very hands-on when I'm around. We split it between us, and I have no problems doing the housework when I'm at home. We're pretty good, really. It's all very even.
You've filmed steamy love scenes with some of the hottest women in Hollywood. Does your wife ever get jealous?
We've been together a very long time. In the early days, maybe. But she was an actress, so she's very aware of what is required and what those scenes are really like. Maybe if she didn’t actually go on the set and see how you construct those scenes, she might feel jealous. But when you're sitting in a room and you can see all the crew members and see how often awkward [the scenes] are, then no, she doesn't get jealous.
How do you feel about being called a sex symbol?
I don't really think too much about that. I don't really consider myself one. There are far worse things to be called, but I don't really take it that seriously.
You've been married for 14 years, which is an eternity for Hollywood standards. What's your secret?
I've had a brilliant time all the way through. I value it and appreciate it and put a lot of time into it. If I've been away for a certain amount of time, then I'll put it back into the family and stay at home for a while. I took the whole summer off and did nothing but hang with the family.
Is your 12-year-old daughter a Twilight fan?
She is. She loves the movie and she's already looking forward to the next one.
Do your daughters recognize that you're a celebrity?
More so now than they used to. They're definitely getting to the age where they're beginning to. It manifests itself in getting tickets to things like Twilight. They use it now.
What's the hardest thing about raising girls?
Maybe I'm entering the hardest part now as they enter their teens. This is the scary bit. It's been pretty great so far. But now that they're entering into their teens…
Are they starting to date or talk about boys at all?
They're not yet, but they're heading that way. I can feel it.
You're the only man in a house of three females. Do you ever feel outnumbered?
Every day. I am outnumbered. It's a fact -- I am. But, I'm very, very happy being outnumbered. I have no problems with it whatsoever. I enjoy it. I see nothing wrong with being in a house full of women.
What do you miss about home when you're filming?
Just hanging out with them. It's difficult because [my daughters] are in school now, and I can't just take them with me when I make films. I used to be able to do that. Now that they're very settled in school, it's not easy to just pull them out. I just generally miss them.
What would you do if you had one extra hour in the day?
Just hang with the girls.
Do you like Clive Owen more as a sexy bad boy, or a caring father? Chime in below!