From Hollywood’s Bad Boy to a 100% Devoted Dad: How Colin Farrell’s Son With Disabilities Gave Meaning to His Life

year ago

Life can be very unpredictable, and just one unexpected situation is sometimes enough to completely transform us. This is especially true for Irish actor Colin Farrell, age 46, who became a completely new person after his oldest son was born with special needs. After years of posing as a Hollywood bad boy who didn’t really care much about anything, Farrell’s firstborn taught him what unconditional love means, and that parenthood is about caring for someone more than you care for yourself.

Bright Side admired the inspiring journey of fatherhood that Colin Farrell had to take. Here is the story of a man who transformed himself after learning the meaning of true love, the kind that gives without expecting anything in return.

Fame and a bad boy image

Nebinger Frederic/ABACA/EAST NEWS

With his dashing good looks, undeniable charisma, and amazing acting skills, it seems that becoming famous was written in the stars for Colin Farrell. At almost 20, he started his acting career by appearing in various TV series. And a few years later, the young man had already made a big name for himself in Hollywood and landed important roles, like playing opposite Tom Cruise in Minority Report and Al Pacino in The Recruit. He also portrayed Alexander the Great, the main role in the movie, Alexander, with Angelina Jolie playing his mother.


Aside from his ever-growing Hollywood career, Farrell’s personal life made equally big headlines. The actor became one of the industry’s biggest bad boys, known for his intense lifestyle and love for going out and having fun. He was also romantically linked to numerous actresses, singers, and fashion models, such as Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Elizabeth Taylor who was 44 years older than him.

Becoming a dad NEWS

In 2003, at the age of 27, the actor became a dad for the very first time after welcoming a son with his then-girlfriend, model Kim Bordenave, who was 31 at the time. The actor revealed that he always imagined that he’d be ’’the cool dad,’’ admitting, “When my first son was born, I said, ’It’s not gonna change me.’” Yet, he quickly understood that becoming a parent would completely transform him. He noted, ’’[Fatherhood] changes you, but you have to decide to let it change you.’’

In 2009, Farrell welcomed his second son, Henry, whom he had with his girlfriend, actress Alicja Bachleda. The couple split in 2010.

His son with disabilities saved his life.

When his son was 4 years old, Farrell made the decision, after consulting with James’ mom, to announce that his baby boy had Angelman syndrome. He revealed, ’’I wanted to talk publicly about the pride and joy I had in our son.’’ The syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes delayed development, problems with speech and balance, intellectual disability, and sometimes, seizures.

James’ birth and special needs didn’t just change Farrell’s perspective on life, but they also gave him purpose and transformed the former bad boy into an entirely new person. The hands-on dad noted, ’’What my first son James did was allow me to care for something in this world when I couldn’t care for myself.’’ He added, ’’James saved my life.’’

Seeing his son’s first steps

The proud papa revealed that he ’’almost broke in half’’ when James took his first steps at the age of 4. He explained that every little milestone is a big celebration for them, noting, ’’We share in the smallest victories; the first words at age 6 or 7, being able to feed oneself at 19, and getting the seizures under control.’’

The actor has also been very involved in charity work for years now and had been supporting a foundation for Angelman syndrome in order to bring help to other parents who are in the same situation. He acknowledged, ’’When you’re the parent of a child with special needs, it’s important to feel that you’re not alone.’’

Continuing to be a hands-on dad

Courtesy Everett Collection/EAST NEWS

Today, James is 19 years old, yet he is still in full need of his parents’ support. As a matter of fact, when their son was 17, the actor and his ex-girlfriend, Bordenave, filed a petition to be co-conservators of the teenager. It was noted in the petition that James is “nonverbal and has issues with his fine motor skills, making him unable to properly care for his own physical health and well-being.” This meant that the teenager needed assistance in preparing food, eating, bathing, and clothing himself.


Just like any loving parent, Farrell is fully devoted to his son and admits that his boy has ’’enriched his life.’’ Despite the challenges that come with his son’s disability, James’ condition helped his father open his eyes to the true meaning of life and what it means to love unconditionally. And that in itself is the biggest gift life can give someone.

What do you think of Colin Farrell’s journey through fatherhood? Do you agree that having a child can totally transform us?


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