Tyler Hilton's new music video drops just in time for Father's Day, and he opens up to PEOPLE about how much it meant to have his newborn daughter involved

By Jen Juneau
June 17, 2020 01:00 PM
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Since the December birth of his daughter Winnie, life — and art — have come full circle for Tyler Hilton.

In an exclusive conversation with PEOPLE surrounding the Wednesday premiere of his new music video for "When I See You, I See Home (Wedding Version)," the 36-year-old actor and singer opens up about what inspired him to include footage not only from his 2015 wedding to wife Megan Park, but his 5-month-old baby girl.

"The home that I speak about, being Megan, actually wasn't even a person at all — it was a family," says Hilton, 36. "And without realizing it, she and I were a two-person family. And then I see Winnie as part of our picture and I realize I had no idea how incomplete we were until she comes along."

And though he wrote the song's lyrics during the couple's engagement period, "Now, [with] 'When I See You, I See Home,' I'm not just thinking about Megan — I'm thinking about my family, which is even weird to say," he shares. "I have this family now."

The majority of the video, released just in time for Father's Day, takes fans through the pair's wedding day — footage that was put together by Hilton's friend Ryan Forsythe, a video director. Forsythe was also the one who showed up at their home to get video of Winnie to include near the end, which was an adventure for her parents.

"We kinda hoped she would be really natural in front of the camera. She's the sweetest baby, never cries, but as soon as [Ryan] comes over, she's going crazy. She's crying, she's throwing up, she's pooping everywhere — I've never even seen this. ... We were like, 'Well, I guess she's not gonna be a performer,' " Hilton says, laughing.

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Tyler Hilton and Megan Park with daughter Winnie
Steve Cowell
Tyler Hilton and Megan Park
The Nickersons

However, Forsythe, a close friend of the new parents, "hung out all day" and "ended up getting these snippets of [Winnie] being so cute and it ended up being great. But turns out her first foray into onscreen performing was a little tougher than we thought. She was definitely the most difficult person on the set that day," the star says, joking, "I think she'll be a performer, but she'll be one of those nightmares on set, like a total diva."

The Walk the Line actor says he and Park — a director, actress and singer — are social distancing in her native Canada amid the coronavirus pandemic with their daughter, who was born on Dec. 20, and Park's mother. And in a lot of ways, it's not that much different from the short-term plans they had to lay low following Winnie's arrival.

"The only downside is people keep telling us some of the fun parts about having a toddler is getting together with other parents with toddlers and getting the kids together — there's none of that," he says of their specific situation. "We haven't gone to the grocery store or anything, 'cause my mother-in-law is immunocompromised ... we drove my RV up here from L.A. with the baby and once we got here, we haven't left."

For Father's Day, Hilton shares, he's excited to "just be a dad: change a diaper, wipe something off her face, throw her in the air and watch her laugh" — but he thinks his wife may have something up her sleeve: "The other day, Megan told me to stay outside for a little bit longer, 'cause I think she was working on a little something with Winnie, which is pretty cute. So I think they might have something planned."

Winnie (whose full first name is Winnifred) was a name her parents both just liked, and saw signs everywhere for after first considering it — like a store called Winnie's Country Store, which was close to where Hilton was staying while filming Lifetime's A Christmas Wish in Louisiana with his former One Tree Hill costar Hilarie Burton.

Tyler Hilton and Megan Park
The Nickersons

RELATED VIDEO: Hilarie Burton and Tyler Hilton Talk Reuniting on the Screen — and Build Gingerbread Houses!

And Winnie is hitting milestones left and right, loving Dad's music, attempting to crawl and reaching out for objects — and also starting to "recognize" her parents and their place in her life.

"Now every time I walk into the room, she smiles, 'cause she knows I'm the dad. And if she's doing something crazy, like with her grandma, she'll look over at me like, 'Is this okay?' " Hilton says. "Recently, she was a blob who didn't know what anything was, and now she's checking in with me being like, 'Is this okay?' It's just crazy. She's definitely aware and alert."

The new father is busy with work and his baby girl at the moment, but "can't imagine just having Winnie" in his immediate family. As he jokes to PEOPLE, laughing, "I think [Megan and I] right now are in the phase where we want to have maybe 10 kids and maybe just retire and never work again, so I don't know. You'll probably have to check in with us every couple months [to see if it] changes."

Aside from his plans to release a new album in spring of next year — his first since 2019's City on Fire, which features a cover of the late Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" as its first track release — Hilton is currently focused on putting songs together for a children's album he plans to release to benefit his charity T.H. Books for Kids, which raises money for children's libraries and hospitals.

Tyler Hilton and Megan Park
The Nickersons
Tyler Hilton and Megan Park
The Nickersons

Additionally, Hilton holds an hour-long virtual event every Tuesday called Coffee with Tyler, where he connects with just six fans for a more intimate conversation about how they are faring during the COVID-19 crisis. He has spoken to people from all parts of the globe, from teachers to front-line healthcare workers and fellow parents who are just trying to keep it all together while social distancing with their families.

"It's crazy hearing everyone's experiences during this whole quarantine. I try to keep the group small so we can actually talk," he tells PEOPLE. "Since they're on Zoom, I'm talking to people from France, London, Sydney, not to mention from all over the states and Canada, so it's people in so many different areas telling me so many different things that I either couldn't hear on the news or wouldn't get, but very personal little things."

And his favorite part of fatherhood so far? Simply getting to know his new addition for who she is. "There's the idea of being a dad, which I'd always had my whole life," Hilton says, "but I didn't take into account meeting this little girl, Winnie. So my favorite part of being a dad is that I get to hang out with this little kid named Winnie, who's so cute — her whole vibe is so cool."

"And I think being dad to anybody would be great, but it's made doubly so because I couldn't have even imagined getting to be the dad of someone so cool," he adds. "Who she is has been the biggest surprise of all."

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