Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan
Before Michelle Monaghan went public with news that she's pregnant
with her first child, her Made of Honor
costar, Patrick Dempsey
was already aware of her condition.
"It was a big secret, and I wasn't allowed to tell anyone, but I knew Michelle was pregnant, and I am thrilled for her," Dempsey, 42, told PEOPLE on Friday – as he prepared to race this weekend in the Six Hours of the Glen Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York.
"She will be a great mom because she has a good head on her shoulders, a fine husband, and overall, she is a lovely woman," he said.
Dempsey, who with wife Jillian has 18-month-old twin sons (Darby and Sullivan), and a 6-year-old daughter (Talula), gave Monaghan, 32, some advice on being a first- time parent.
"I told Michelle she may not see it now, but her life will change profoundly after she delivers the baby," he recounts. "I told her being a parent is a feeling that she will not understand until she actually has the child."
Dempsey, who races as often as his acting schedule allows – he's due to report back to the set of Grey's Anatomy
June 25 – is looking forward to one day bringing his entire family to the racetrack with him.
"Jillian always tells me to be careful when I leave the house for a race," says Dempsey, who is competing for the first time at Watkins Glen International. "It is hard to leave the family on weekends because I love spending time with the kids, but I also love to race. I count the days until they can come with me, and we can all be here together."
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