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James Padraig and Colin Farrell | Colin Farrell | Source: Getty Images
James Padraig and Colin Farrell | Colin Farrell | Source: Getty Images

Colin Farrell Was Told Son James Padraig May Never Walk – He Gave up Drugs to Fight for Him

Jana Stevens
Feb 07, 2023
12:30 P.M.

When James Padraig Farrell was born, doctors advised his parents that he was unlikely ever to walk. Colin Farrell's son took his first steps four years later. The actor's proudest moments are those he experiences with his child.

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Colin Farrell's life improved when he had James Padraig Farrell with model Kim Bordenave. The term "hell-raiser" stuck to the talented Irishman at the beginning of his career with his serial womanizing of A-list celebrities and addictions.

"The Banshees of Inisherin" leading man and model dated for two years in the dawn of the 2000s. The former couple has joint custody, and he consulted her before going public in 2007 with the news of their son's Angelman Syndrome diagnosis.

Colin Farrell, sister Claudine (R,) and model Kim Bordenave at the 75th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater on March 23, 2003 in Hollywood, California | Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Colin Farrell, sister Claudine (R,) and model Kim Bordenave at the 75th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater on March 23, 2003 in Hollywood, California | Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

James Padraig Was Born with a Rare Form of Cerebral Palsy

While working with the Special Olympics, Colin Farrell felt he was betraying his son by not talking about his condition, worried that his silence could be "misconstrued as shame."

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James was born with a neuro-genetic disorder known as Angelman Syndrome, which occurs when the 15th chromosome is arrested, affecting fine motor functions.

At nine months, the boy started getting seizures, one of the disorder's symptoms, which is also characterized by developmental delays, speech impediment, sleep disturbances, and jerky movements. The actor says, "the little fella" is a celebration:

“He's nothing but a gift. He's, as far as I'm concerned, exactly the way he should be.”

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Angelman Syndrome is often misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy. Colin credits Bordenave's proactive action with getting early intervention for their son, who he sometimes calls Jimmy. The actor says he is only reminded that their child is different when he sees them with children his age.

Doctors told the parents that their son might never walk. There is no cure for Angelman Syndrome. The actor "nearly broke in half" when James took his first steps at four and considered his son reaching milestones like his first works around six, being able to feed himself, and getting the seizures under control as his success as well.

The Irishman approached fatherhood very differently when his child was born. He was suffering from substance addictions and refused his family's help. He admits to his bad attitude, saying, "I literally said, 'I'm not changing! I'm gonna be his friend!' Like a [expletive] 28-year-old drug-addicted drunk friend is exactly what my six-week-old son needs."

Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes on location for "In Bruges" on February 14, 2006 in Bruges, Belgium | Source: Jacques Moineau/FilmMagic

Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes on location for "In Bruges" on February 14, 2006 in Bruges, Belgium | Source: Jacques Moineau/FilmMagic

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Colin Changed His Life to Become a Better Father to James

Colin's drug and alcohol-fueled lifestyle didn't change when he became a father, but when James was three years old, he finally changed his life. He revealed, "I'm different to what I was yesterday, and life is quieter now for me than it was a few years ago. I'm cool with that. I love my kids."

A few weeks before Colin's son turned four, the boy remarkably took his first steps. Colin mentioned that although a child's first steps are extraordinary for all parents, it is even more special for him. He began speaking publicly about James's challenges and triumphs after attending the 2007 Special Olympics in Shanghai.

Colin Farrell arrives with his son James to celebrate his brother's recent marriage in Dublin, Ireland on December 27 2009. | Source: Philip Massey/FilmMagic

Colin Farrell arrives with his son James to celebrate his brother's recent marriage in Dublin, Ireland on December 27 2009. | Source: Philip Massey/FilmMagic

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Colin Describes James as a Phenomenal Child

Colin revealed that his son's health had improved drastically, including his seizures lessening. He added that he rarely sees his condition anymore and is keenly aware of his personality. "We have the seizures under control. He helps us in a way to be better people. He's so much fun to be around. I am crazy about him. His health is good," he said.

Colin also shared how James's progress had inspired him over the years. Whereas many people could take activities such as feeding themselves and walking for granted, they were harder for James to learn. But now, Colin's son can do all these and more.

Colin welcomed his second child, Henry, with actress Alicja Bachleda-Curús in 2009. Although Colin and Alicja broke up in 2010, the pair have a courteous co-parenting relationship. Colin is crazy about Henry, even during the less sweet moments when he criticizes his father's fashion choices, especially the short shorts Colin was caught wearing by the paparazzi in the past.

Colin Farrell visits "The Late Show with David Letterman" in New York City on July 24 2004. | Source: James Devaney/Getty Images

Colin Farrell visits "The Late Show with David Letterman" in New York City on July 24 2004. | Source: James Devaney/Getty Images

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How Colin Is Raising His Children

In 2021, Colin applied to be a co-conservator with Kim for their son James who is nonverbal and has fine motor challenges. The conservatorship would allow the parents to manage the personal needs, including medical decisions, of someone unable to care for themselves.

Colin explained his children don't know he is a movie star and he would try to keep it that way despite his worldwide fame. "They think I do silly voices and make decent chicken fingers for them," he said. He added that he led a straightforward life which allowed him to be there for his children. Fatherhood changed Colin entirely and he admits parenting is much harder than acting:

"My kids are my masters. They bring up a lot of fear and self-judgment in me. Having kids is the most important thing in my life. This whole acting business is nothing in comparison."

Colin Farrell attends the world premiere of "The Batman" on March 01, 2022 in New York City. | Source: Cindy Ord/WireImage

Colin Farrell attends the world premiere of "The Batman" on March 01, 2022 in New York City. | Source: Cindy Ord/WireImage

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Colin Farrell Is No Longer the Bad Boy He Used to Be

Colin is far from the hard-partying man he was infamous for in his 20s. Speaking at a virtual event at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, he confessed sobriety was scary after decades of drinking and partying the way he did. But he powered through the initial discomfort and self-judgment.

In 2018, after filming three movies back-to-back, Colin decided to book himself into rehab because he felt urges to return to narcotics. He said that it was a preventative measure before he got into a bad place again. Colin Farrell currently continues to act while focusing on his children.

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