Louie Anderson on Forgiving His Alcoholic Father: 'My Dad Had a 10 Times Harder Life Than Mine'

Anderson grew up in a St. Paul housing project, one of 11 children of an alcoholic father

Louie Anderson is opening up about his difficult childhood — and how it’s shaped who he is today.

Sitting down with PEOPLE Now recently, the Baskets star said he only began to understand his father’s pain after his death.

“My dad had a 10 times harder life than mine,” said Anderson, 64, who grew up in a St. Paul housing project as one of 11 children of an alcoholic father.

Anderson went on to reveal that when his father was around 10 years old, he and his sister were taken out of their home and placed for adoption.

“[They were] split up and never saw each other for 50 years,” he said. “Because ‘put up for adoption’ meant that you were put up in front of a church congregation and families picked you and took you. Imagine being with your sister and having her go one place and you go another.”

“So I go, ‘Oh my God — I’m sorry, Dad,’ ” he continued. “Forgiveness was easy for me when I found that out. And I miss him. I love him. I miss the grumpy, coffee-sipping person that he was. One time my dad goes, ‘I hate that guy.’ I go, ‘You don’t even know him.’ He goes, ‘I don’t need to know someone to hate them, Louie.’ Thank God for my dad — I’m still doing the humor.”

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Over the years, Anderson has been candid about his upbringing and his parents, even dedicating his Emmy and Critics Choice award wins to his mother in 2016.

“To my mom, who raised 11 children, and my dad was mean to her,” he said at the Critics Choice Awards that year, where he won best supporting actor in a comedy series for his role on hit FX show starring Zach Galifianakis.

“No matter how tough it got for Laura Stella Anderson, she never lost her humanity,” he continued. “She had so much of it that it dribbled onto me — I didn’t want it, but I found it, and this part has helped me find it.”

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