Daniel Day-Lewis: 'I'm a Hands-On Parent'

02/04/2008 at 12:00 PM EST

Daniel Day-Lewis: 'I'm a Hands-On Parent'
Daniel Day-Lewis
Danny Moloshok/Reuters/Landov
He may already have an Oscar for My Left Foot, and is the frontrunner to pick up another for There Will Be Blood, but as far as Daniel Day-Lewis's 9-year-old son Ronan is concerned, dad works in construction – not movies.

"I lead a very quiet life when I'm not working," the SAG Award winner star, who practices his carpentry during his often long down time between movies, told England's Daily Mail magazine Weekend.

But disputing his reputation as a hermit, Day-Lewis, 50, says, "I'm not in hiding behind closed doors. How can you be a recluse in a house full of children?"

In addition to Ronan, Day-Lewis is father to 5-year-old Cashel, and the family lives in a remote, 18th-century house in rural Ireland. Mother is Day-Lewis's wife Rebecca, 45, whom he met while making 1996's The Crucible, which was written by her father, Arthur Miller. (Day-Lewis also has a 12-year-old son, Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis, from a former relationship with actress Isabel Adjani.)

Pragmatic Parenting

"My life is enriched in every single way by my boys," says the actor. "I'm quite a hands-on parent."

Illustrating the sort of father he is, Day-Lewis says, "I, like my parents before me, am endlessly saying, 'When I was a kid' – and who cares about that? They don't care. It's their experience, that's the important thing."

Still, he admits, "You recognize characteristics of your own parents in yourself that you swore as a kid you'd never be like. And yet you are."

And their mother, Rebecca? "She is the most normal, down-to-earth person you could ever meet," he says. "We agree entirely about how to raise our children, and we enjoy each other's company."

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