“Council Of Dads” Star Clive Standen Shares His Best Parenting Advice: “Savor Every Second”

Clive StandenPhoto Credit: Maarten de Boer/NBCUniversal

Clive Standen doesn’t just star as a dad on NBC’s Council of Dads—he has real-life experience as one, too. The 38-year-old Irish star of projects like Taken, Doctor Who, Everest and Vikings had the first of his three children at 22. And after living through a pandemic, he finds his COD character, Anthony Lavelle, all too relatable (the show, which is in the midst of its first season, revolves around a loving father of five who has his entire life’s plan thrown into upheaval by an unexpected health scare. He calls on a few of his most trusted friends to step in as back-up dads to help guide and support his growing family – just in case he ever can’t be there to do it himself. Together, he and his pals discover that there’s more to being a father than anyone could ever do alone). We chatted with Standen, our former “Man of Style,” about fatherhood, his series and why COVID-19 has given him an even deeper appreciation for the people that he loves.
Clive Standen Photo Credit: Jeff Lipsky/NBC

How are you—and where in the world are you—right now?

I’m in Los Angeles right now with the fam and generally doing ok. Like most of us I assume I have good days and bad days but I’m learning to just go with the flow and give in to just being in the present with my kids.

How did you spend your quarantine? Did you learn any new skills, tried yoga, had some inner reflection? What have you learned?

Yoga… You’re having a laugh… I have three kids at three completely different ages at three different schools. Homeschooling three kids of three different ages at three different schools is quite a feat. I have my work cut out moonlighting as three teachers in one body. By the time I’m done with them I’m whacked. I’m only joking… I really love it. I’ve been away working quite a lot and not spending as much time as I’d like with my family, so as much as the lock down is taxing with the three kids stuck indoors, it has actually been lovely. I get to spend my whole day with them and learn and play without the distractions of auditions and preparation for a role etc. It’s just quality time and I’m really grateful for the time with them. Am I thinking about the future and if and when I can go back to work and provide, yes of course. But right now I’m trying to remind myself that worrying doesn’t help and we’ll cross that bridge when it comes to be a reality. I’m trying to just be present with the family until I’m needed to go to battle stations!

Your role on “Council of Dads” is very appropriate for the time we’re living through. Perhaps you could correlate what you’re going through to what Anthony is going through?

What’s lovely about Council of Dads is it’s the essence of what family really is. It’s about who shows up and it’s only limited by your capacity to love. Even though we are stuck indoors and isolated, the friends and family that have reached out to me and the people I have found myself reaching out to has really put into prospective how important it is to have good friends around you and that it really does take a village at times. It’s easy to get into a mindset that we have to suffer in silence. That we need to be superhuman and grin and bare the weight of these hardships on our own but there really is no shame in saying I need help, and when you do it is surprising how many people show up and are there to catch you.

Clive StandenPhoto Credit: Joe Mast/NBC

What can we expect from the upcoming season?

It’s quite the journey for Robin, the kids and the dads in season 1. The show is really about healing and how we move on and learn to live with our grief. The first couple of episodes are sad, yes, as we need to know what has been lost before we can work towards the light and start to heal and find the joy in life again. It’s a special show and by the end of season 1, the Perry family and the Council of Dads grow so much and it’s a real whirlwind of events. There is so much left to come. We know by now that Anthony himself holds a big secret and I can say he is going to have to face up to his past at some point and the fall out of that is going to be tough for everyone involved.

You have three children… Do you also have a group of male friends to fall back on? Are they in Ireland/England/the US?

I am lucky to have friends in all three of those places and to add Toronto to the list too as we spent over two years there. I have a really international council of dads in my life. Some of which I couldn’t have gotten through this lockdown without. It’s a funny thing for me as I traveled around so much when I was younger and had my first child at 22, so making new adult male friends is harder as you get older with the trials and tribulations of work and family. But I’m lucky to have some good guys who I’ve met since relocating to LA that I have really bonded with and know that they have my back and will continue to when the going gets tough.

Will you be making a cameo appearance or more on the next season of “Vikings”?

I simply can’t say anything… I’d get an axe to the chest if I did!

Clive Standen
Clive Standen (middle) in “Council of Dads”

Photo Credit: Quantrell Colbert/NBC

Has the coronavirus affected your career in any way? Were there roles that you were up for where the production has been halted, etc?

Of course nobody knows when we’ll be up and running in the film and television industry. There are so many things to figure out and everything that was in my diary has gone away for now, but I refuse to complain. Like I said, worrying gets you nowhere. I’m well aware there are countless others who have lost a lot more than an acting role so you won’t find me winging. I’m just going to knuckle down and try and make something from nothing like I always have.

COVID-19 aside, what does the rest of your year look like?

You tell me… I’m taking each month as it comes. The summer holidays for the kids is the first to figure out… trying to give them something that resembles a break from school that keeps their spirits up and hopefully some time out of the house. Right now I’m trying to think outside of the box and get them out of the house where they can be safe but still let off some steam and adventure… and do the hobbies and sports that they love.

And finally, what to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

Time with my children… they are growing up so quickly. If the lock down has taught me anything, it’s to SLOW DOWN and listen. When my daughter or my sons come to me for advice knowing full well I’d move mountains for them if needed. Or the total focus on my child’s words as they tell me about their day or what’s on their mind and they say, “I love you, Dad.” That is the essence of the most important and most powerful luxury this life has to offer. Savor every second, my friends. That is a luxury we will truly miss when it’s gone.

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