October 04, 2016 04:45 PM

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Of all the roles Benedict Cumberbatch has taken on, “Dad” might be his best one yet.

The actor, 40, opened up to Vanity Fair about his life as a newlywed to Sophie Hunter and new dad to his 16-month-old son Christopher “Kit” Carlton. In the November issue, Cumberbatch talks about what it’s like to have a family of his own.

“Having a baby — it’s massive,” he says. “And on a very unexpected level. Suddenly I understood my parents much more profoundly than I ever had before.”

Cumberbatch also talks about how welcoming Kit allowed him to better prepare for his role as Hamlet at London’s Barbican Centre.

“I was expecting, with Hamlet, that it might be a hindrance to be a father, because it’s all about being a son,” he says. “But it’s the opposite. You understand much more about being a son, becoming a father.”

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Cumberbatch and Hunter, 38, met nearly 20 years ago, but didn’t immediately start dating. They eventually married on Valentine’s Day last year, and welcomed Kit just four months later in June. The award-winning actor says a lot of conspiracy theorists believe his new family is all for show.

“There are people who believe that my wife is a P.R. stunt and my child is a P.R. stunt,” he says. “I think really it’s to do with the idea that the ‘Internet’s boyfriend’ can’t actually belong to anyone else but the Internet. It’s impossible he belongs to anyone but me. And that’s what stalking is. That’s what obsessive, deluded, really scary behavior is.”

Jason Bell exclusively for Vanity Fair

Tilda Swinton, who costars with Cumberbatch in the upcoming film Doctor Strange, spoke about the new dad and husband with admiration.

“My fondest impression of him is as a new husband besotted by his girl, and a new father enchanted by his boy,” she says.

“I think he knows that he wants — and has — a life first and foremost, that his life suits and nourishes him and that it makes the world go round.”

— Blake Bakkila

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