"That's the principal relationship, and everything comes after that," Eddie Murphy told Vanity Fair of being a dad to his 10 children

By Jen Juneau
January 14, 2020 01:03 PM

Eddie Murphy has enjoyed a career resurgence lately thanks to the success of Dolemite Is My Name and a critically acclaimed return to Saturday Night Live. But his biggest accomplishment is his family.

The actor and father of 10 recently sat down for an in-depth interview with Vanity Fair to accompany his cover shoot for the magazine’s 26th Annual Hollywood Issue alongside Renée Zellweger and Jennifer Lopez, where he revealed he’s currently “in a period” where he feels like life is “raining blessings” on him.

“My oldest son is 30, and my youngest child was 10 months old, and I got a new grandchild. So that’s all going on while these movies came together,” said Murphy, 58.

“Things happen in cycles, and right now I’m in a cycle where there’s no higher blessing than having a child. There’s no sweeter blessing than seeing your grandchild,” he continued.

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Murphy and his fiancée Paige Butcher welcomed son Max Charles, their second child together, in November 2018. They are also parents to daughter Izzy Oona, 3½, while Murphy’s oldest son Eric, with Paulette McNeely, is 30. He’s also dad to son Christian, 29, with Tamara Hood, and daughter Angel Iris, 12, with Spice Girl Mel B.

The comedian’s five other children — daughters Bella Zahra, 18 this month, Zola Ivy, 20, Shayne Audra, 25, and Bria, 30, plus 27-year-old son Myles Mitchell — are with ex-wife Nicole Mitchell Murphy. He also shared that Myles welcomed a daughter; named Evie Isla, in early July.

From L to R: Eddie Murphy, Renée Zellweger and [ent-hotlink id="18445" href="https://people.com/tag/jennifer-lopez/" title="Jennifer Lopez"] for Vanity Fair
Ethan James Green/Vanity Fair

Murphy — who was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of actor/comedian/singer Rudy Ray Moore in Netflix‘s Dolemite Is My Name — hadn’t been seen onscreen much lately, appearing in just one film between 2012 and 2019. Now, he’s set to star in the upcoming sequel to Coming to America, aptly titled Coming 2 America.

“Maybe about eight years ago, I said it’s time to take a break and not really be pushing at movies like I used to,” he told Vanity Fair. “Getting it right with the director, and getting it right with the writers, and having everything work together — that takes a lot of effort, you know, and it’s strenuous. I had gotten to where I was just so burnt out on the process of making a movie that if I was a little boy I would start crying.”

From L to R: Eddie Murphy, Renée Zellweger and Jennifer Lopez cover Vanity Fair
Ethan James Green/Vanity Fair

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“My career, or what I am as an artist, that’s not at the center of my life. At the center of my life is my family and my kids,” Murphy continued. “That’s the principal relationship, and everything comes after that. I have 10 kids, and I’m present, and I’m part of their lives. You got to have some kind of balance with career and personal life.”

The actor also reflected on his decades-long career, recalling, “I started making movies when I was 20, and I auditioned for SNL when I was 18, so that’s 40 years ago. So I had a little crossroads where it was like, ‘It’s time to back off, and sit on the couch and just be Dad.’ “

“Now, I just want to do stuff where there’s an emotional hook, and it’s something that I’m really into, and not just doing it because, you know, somebody flashed a big dollar sign in front of you,” Murphy explained.

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