Last week, 40-year-old actor Jake Gyllenhaal appeared on Sirius XM’s The Howard Stern Show to promote his new Netflix movie, and, I guess, the fact that he is now an ambassador for Prada perfume. The part of the interview that got picked up by other outlets, however, was the part where Gyllenhaal talked about his plans for the future.
“All I want is to be a good husband and a father,” he revealed to Stern. “That really is what I want. And now that I have fulfilled a lot of things in my career that I feel comfortable with, I can safely say that. I don't know if I could have said that before.”
Huh, I thought, watching the little clip of the actor cooing to the radio host about his family-man desires. I feel like he has said that before. And you know what, I was right. Roll tape.
2008: Feeling Grown Up
Gyllenhaal first started to telegraph his desire for a family when he was 27. At the time, he was dating Reese Witherspoon (you remember). In an interview with Grazia Australia, he revealed that dating a woman with kids (and having a sister who also had kids) made him think about becoming an adult.
“I've learned so much from the kids in my life, and somehow they just become the center of your life and the way you look at things,” he said. “Obviously I exist in my girlfriend's world and my sister's world in a different way, but it's opened my heart and I feel much more grown up and want to be grown up as a result of it.”
2010: Important Thoughts
Two years later, Witherspoon dumped him, and Gyllenhaal’s thoughts turned toward finding a life partner. “It's okay,” he told GQ of his single life. “It goes in either direction. I think it's important for every man to find the right woman and every woman to find the right man.”
A few months later, the actor was photographed drinking maple lattes with Taylor Swift, which didn’t work out.
2012: Hopefully, Hopefully, Hopefully
In his early 30s, Gyllenhaal started to think more seriously about the trajectory of his life (while reportedly carrying on a “fling” with Minka Kelly). He told the LA Times where he hoped to be in his 60s:
“Hopefully alive. (Laughs.) Hopefully with a family, hopefully as a father, with a family I can be proud of, which will most likely be a mess of one.”
2015: No Other Purpose
At 34, Gyllenhaal was promoting his star turn in Southpaw, a film in which he played a boxer who was also a father. This seemed to flip a switch in our actor, who told every reporter on the press tour that he was dying to become a dad.
“I would love for it to not be fictional,” he told People of his role. (He meant the father part, not the boxing part.)
“I am not a father yet, but it is definitely a dream of mine, should I be lucky to have that to happen,” he said to ET’s Kevin Frazier.
In an interview with The Inquirer, he was more emphatic. “Nothing gets me more excited than thinking about being able to have a family and to be a father and husband,” he said. “There is no other purpose I can see in the world than that.”
But a couple months later, he told Howard Stern he was still single. “I believe in monogamy,” he added. “I believe in when you meet somebody who’s right, like, it will be right. You’ll stay there.”
2017: Becoming More of an Adult
In an interview with People to promote his movie about a Boston marathon bombing survivor, Gyllenhaal stated a familiar goal. “I want to continue becoming more of an adult than I already am,” he said. “Hopefully with a family of my own.”
2019: One Father Two Father Red Father Blue Father
At 38 years of age, Gyllenhaal once again played a father, this time in the Broadway play Sea Wall/ A Life. He told the Today show’s Willie Geist about it.
“It’s a show about faith and family and the mess and comedy of life, you know? It’s really actually about two fathers,” he explained. “And about, for my character, someone who’s just about to become a father. He goes back into his relationship with his own father and the passing of his father and how that makes him feel becoming a father. I’ve learned — you know, I am not a father. I do hope to be a father one day.”
I mean come on.
2020: The Act
In researching this post, I started to worry that maybe Gyllenhaal doesn’t know how babies are made, and that’s what’s been holding things up. But last year, he revealed to British Vogue that he does have some idea, and in fact he thinks it’s beautiful.
“The act of making love to make a child…the real thing is life,” he said, adding that starring (as a father) in Sunday In the Park With George on Broadway informed his feelings about the subject. “You get to the end of the show and that's what it's about. Children. Children and art.”
According to People, Gyllenhaal is currently dating a 25-year-old French model named Jeanne Cadieu. Will Gyllenhaal finally make his 13-year dream a reality with this woman? I hope I live to find out.