Chris O'Donnell Takes Daughter for Night Out — He Slowed Down Hollywood Career to Raise His 5 Kids
Four of Chris O'Donnell's five children worked with him on "NCIS: Los Angeles."
He had to choose between his career and family after he met his wife.
O'Donnell is a hands-on dad who did not hire a nanny to care for his children.
While many people know that Chris O'Donnell's youngest daughter starred with him on the show "NCIS: Los Angeles," not many know that she was only one of four children who did so. Three of his other children all made appearances at some point. However, he might not have had children if not for his wife.
O'Donnell has revealed that meeting the mother of his children changed his life entirely, and he admires her talent for motherhood. The couple is exceptionally hands-on with their children and doesn't rely on others to care for them.
Maeve Frances O'Donnell and Chris O'Donnell at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards held at Microsoft Theater on September 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images
Recently, O'Donnell showed his love for his children by taking his youngest daughter, Maeve, on a special outing. He was the presenter at the 74th annual Emmy Awards and took his daughter as his date.
Maeve, 14, and her father walked the red carpet together before the awards ceremony began. O'Donnell chose a classic black suit to wear, while Maeve chose a more colorful slip dress, which she paired with a white handbag and a string of pearls around her neck.
This is not the first time the father-daughter duo has charmed audiences together. On the milestone 150th episode of "NCIS: Los Angeles" in 2015, Maeve had one line on the show, which O'Donnell revealed she practiced repeatedly.
The actor added that when Maeve arrived on the set to film the show, she had the jitters, saying:
"She was a little nervous when she got there, but then she arrived at my trailer and they put a big star with her name on the board. She warmed up when she got in the makeup trailer, and they started to let her play with the makeup brushes and do her hair."
Maeve immediately caught the public's attention when the episode aired, and her father revealed that he was proud of his daughter for stepping up to the plate. He admitted that she was professional on set despite being young and nervous.
O'Donnell and his wife, Caroline Fentress, share five children. Lily Anne is 23, Christopher Jr. is 21, Charles is 19, and Finley is 16. Maeve is 14 this year. Along with Maeve, Lily, Charles, and Finley also starred alongside their father on the famous show.
O'Donnell believed it would be good for them to have the experience, but it didn't mean they wouldn't have to work hard for future roles. He admitted that he didn't know whether or not his children would work in the television and film industry but said that if they did, there would be no handouts, and they would have to earn their roles.
While O' Donnell has made his kids the center of his world and has a happy family, it almost didn't happen for him. Many years ago, he had to make a difficult choice between being a massive Hollywood star and a family man.
O’Donnell Chose to Be a Family Man
The actor revealed to Redbook that he knew when he got into the industry that he could live the playboy lifestyle that many of his other colleagues enjoyed, which he recognized was not bad.
Actor Chris O'Donnell and wife Caroline Fentress attend the "Batman & Robin" Westwood premiere on June 12, 1997 at Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, California | Source: Getty Images
However, his other option was to settle down and have a traditional family, which he was used to because of how he grew up. He was more comfortable with this option, and it is what he chose to do.
O’Donnell met his wife because he lived in the same apartment building as her brother. He recalled that one night, she visited him, and they kissed. Although he knew she was special, he didn't see her again for three years.
However, three years later, he and Andrew were sitting in a bar when O’Donnell asked his friend to phone Fentress. They began dating shortly after that and got married three years later, but only because O'Donnell put the breaks on his career.
He mentioned to Redbook when he was filming "Batman" that his career was crazy, and he was getting a lot of offers. He admitted:
"I was being offered these huge films, and it would've taken my career to a different level, and I decided to put on the brakes. I knew if I continued on that track, I probably wouldn't have gotten married."
Although O' Donnell was quite young when he decided to be a family man rather than a massive film star, he mentioned that it worked because he and his wife have excellent communication skills.
He also said it is essential to "marry the right person" as he and Fentress both know they must consistently work at their marriage. They are also the kind of family that has backyard barbecues and hosts football games in their home filled with people.
While O'Donnell has a successful career on-screen, his wife has a much more mainstream job as an elementary school teacher. However, Fentress has also guest-starred alongside her husband on "NCIS."
The couple often spoke about how they made their marriage work for a long time and said it was because they shared the same values. They also never go to bed angry at one another.
Chris O'Donnell with his wife and children attend the ceremony to unveil O'Donnell's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 5, 2015 in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images
Their happy family home is filled with five children but not one nanny. Because of this, fans wondered how O’Donnell and his wife found time for themselves in the chaos of their day-to-day lives.
O'Donnell revealed that his time with Fentress starts after 8 p.m. when all their children are in bed. He also shared:
"Friday night, we had dinner at this nice tapas restaurant; we were drinking sangria and came home at 12:15 a.m. We'll also do weekends away occasionally, just the two of us, which I think is important."
The actor credits his wife for their happy home saying she is an excellent mother to their children who uses her common sense to raise them. He also mentioned how thoughtful his wife was.
O’Donnell’s Approach to Fatherhood
O'Donnell loves being a father and has said that he takes a lot of inspiration from his own father. He mentioned that being a good father means leading by example, which his father did for him.
He also said that Fentress helped him to regulate his moods when he came home from a bad day at work as she is laid-back and does not allow him to take out his bad days on his family. However, he also knows how to have fun.
When asked what Fentress thought his best trait as a dad was, she revealed her favorite thing about him:
"He's the fun one in the family. He's a lot less strict than I am."
The couple is currently happy with five children (even though Maeve wasn't planned) and has no plans of having more. O'Donnell also revealed that the children's cousins live in the same neighborhood and they spend a lot of time together.