Liev Schreiber has come to terms with the inevitable: his preteen kids officially don't find him cool
The 51-year-old Ray Donovan actor — who shares Alexander “Sasha” Pete, 11, and Samuel Kai, 10, with ex Naomi Watts — appeared on Wednesday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where he admitted that he’s given up on trying to impress his children.
“You’re never cool to your own kids,” Schreiber lamented. “I don’t know anybody who is cool to their own kids.”
DeGeneres didn’t believe him, with the comedian, 60, pointing out that he voiced characters in two of the year’s most acclaimed animated films (Isle of Dogs and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse). But despite joining their dad at the Isle of Dogs premiere back in March, Sasha and Samuel weren’t convinced.
“About four years ago, I kind of committed myself to getting — cause, you know, I don’t do stuff for kids, which you know. And about five years ago I told Naomi, I ‘really want to do stuff for the kids’ and I made a commitment to be in animated movies,” Schreiber explained. “I told my agents and I really went after them. And I got some really good animated movies. And my kids, their reaction to them is, ‘Yeah, but you’re just a voice.’ And I’m like, ‘ Yeah, but I’m one of the main characters!’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah, but you’re the bad guy.’ “
“It’s like … I’ve just accepted the fact that it’s impossible,” Schreiber added. “I’ll never be cool.”
It doesn’t help that both of Schreiber’s kids are nearly teenagers.
“I don’t want teenagers,” Schreiber said. “[They’re] right on the edge … they’re heading into that kind of no-go zone for me.”
He then joked that he might be able to parse his children off on someone else. “I have very attractive children, I’m sure I can find someone who can want them around 13,” he said.
Initially, DeGeneres offered to take Schreiber’s duo. But after hearing about their reaction to his films, she teased, “Yeah, I don’t want them now. They sound very difficult!”
To offer even more proof, Schreiber pointed to his recent hosting gig at Saturday Night Live, in which Sasha got to meet musical guest Lil Wayne and take a picture with him backstage. “I was actually in that picture and my son asked me to get out of it!” Schreiber said, as the photo of the rapper and his boy flashed on DeGeneres’ screen.
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Also during the Ellen interview, the talk show host praised Schreiber’s relationship with Watts.
The couple split up back in 2016 after 11 years together, and have remained on friendly terms. “I love that y’all have such a great relationship,” DeGeneres said. “This is such a great example for relationships that don’t work but you have kids and you are friends for the kids sake and I think that is really important.”
Schreiber was thankful for the praise. “Yeah, you got to,” he said.
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Both Schreiber and Watts have spoken out about their 2016 split multiple times, admitting that although it hasn’t been the easiest experience after the end of their partnership, their joint priority is their children.
“It’s always hard, you know? You build a life with someone and things change,” Schreiber said in a 2018 interview during Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist. “The way that we’ve looked at it is that we’ll always be partners with these kids.”
“It’s important to support each other,” he added. “I was making some jokes at breakfast about Mommy and their eyes light up when I talk about her. You can see how important it is to them that their parents care about each other.”
The Ellen DeGeneres Show airs weekdays in syndication (check local listings).