Mekhi Phifer: 'I'll Sleep When I'm Dead'

The ER actor says juggling movie stardom and fatherhood keeps him focused

Photo: CelebrityPhoto

He’s just welcomed a new son with his fiancée, Oni Souratha, is premiering a new movie, and filming his full-time role on ER, but Mekhi Phifer shows no signs of slowing down.

“I figure I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” the 32-year-old Phifer joked to PEOPLE at the premiere of his latest film, This Christmas.

And even though he admits that juggling two kids in Hollywood is “tough,” he explained that the experience has definitely helped him to grow. “It does make you a little bit more focused … let’s you know you’re a little bit more mature, a little bit older and you got things that are important,” he said. “I just think you just learn a little bit more about yourself, you know just having a kid and putting a lot of energy into it.”

Good thing he has plenty energy and experience. “This is the second time I’m doing it,” said Phifer who has a son, 8-year-old Omikaye, from a previous relationship. “I think you’re just a little bit more skilled and you know what it is that you want to do, and you kind of been down that road before.”

But how’s Souratha handling all the new responsibilities of a first child? “She’s learning a lot,” he replied. “She’s a wonderful, successful housewife and mother, so she deals with a lot of the at night and in the morning when the baby is crying cause, you know, daddy has got to go to work. But I’m there to change diapers and do everything else!”

The hands-on dad also dissected the meaning behind his second-born’s name: “Mekhi means sort of one who loves water and the relationship with water and how water is important to life … It’s a sense of being needed and purpose – you know, we have a purpose on this earth and we’re here to fill that. His middle name is Thira, which is my fiancée’s dad’s name, and he passed away, so we give him some love and let his name pass on.”

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