The 'great family guy'
Billy Connolly ... "My children and I are pals and allies."
Ia m a kind of Victorian father. I haven't caught up with the mood of the age yet, although I look and speak as though I have. I still care about all my children [he has four girls and a boy], and worry about my girls and always make sure they are on the right lines. When we're crossing the road, I go, ''Righto, here we go!'' as if they're six years of age. Amy, who is 24, has her own apartment. But the other night she was going out from our house and she said, ''See you later,'' and I said, ''Oh, when will you be back?'' She said, ''I'm going to my apartment.'' I said, ''Yes, but when will you be back?'' She said, ''I won't be back, I've got an apartment.'' I went, ''Oh, yeah.''
Pamela [Stephenson] is a much better parent than I am because she knows what's right and wrong, being a psychologist. She knows a great deal more about behaviour than I do. I panic and get worried about the girls and think, ''Ahhh, something is wrong, she's out too late!'' Pamela just says, ''Oh, at this stage she should be doing that.'' But I think I'm also a product of my generation. As a family, we are all very loving. We still kiss each other. Jamie's 42 and he still kisses me goodnight. We've just got back from fishing in Mexico. We were staying in two rooms in a fishing lodge, and at night we would have a cigar and at the end of the evening, we'd say, ''OK, you going to bed? Goodnight, give us a kiss.''
It's very difficult bringing up the girls without spoiling them because you sound like an old bore when you start saying, ''Oh, I had to finish every brussel sprout on the plate when I was a boy.'' It's true though: I used to go to the movies and put my sprouts in my pocket and pretend I had eaten them. I've stayed away from that kind of behaviour towards them, but obviously we have lived well on my earnings and I try my best to show them the value of things. But you can't be too strict with them, because you just sound like a whinge-bag. Anyway, spoiling them is buying them things in place of love, and they've never been in that position.
Pamela Stephenson and husband Billy Connolly with their daughter Scarlett Layla. Photo: Supplied
I'm a great family guy, I'm all for keeping them all together and it's getting sad now because the girls have got boyfriends and they don't want to come home for Christmas. All that kind of stuff is sad, but you just have to get used to it and grow up a wee bit.
My children and I are pals and allies, they're lovely. We all get on great. But I never carry photographs of my wife and kids because they make me sad. I'm not one of those guys who gets to the hotel room and puts the framed pictures up. I really can't do it. Photos make you miss them more.
Always tell the kids the truth. When they ask where they come from, don't give them that gooseberry bush nonsense, just tell them - they'll appreciate it much more. If they say, ''Did you take drugs?'', say yes if you did, because they'll find you out. And if you say, ''I tried marijuana and I hated it, it was horrible,'' and then they try it and it isn't horrible, they'll think you were lying about marijuana and wonder whether you were lying about heroin and could try that as well. I am totally open with my children.
All my kids are quite funny. They all really enjoy making me laugh. Scarlett works in an art gallery in Soho in New York, Cara is making documentary films, and Amy is studying to be an undertaker. Amy was working as a dress designer in Los Angeles and she got fed up with it. She saw an advertisement for an intern in a cemetery and she loved it the second she did it. It's the truth! She loves it.
Pamela saved me without being ruthless with me when I was drinking and smoking, by saying: ''Look, if you don't give up the way you're living, you're gonna die. And I don't want to be there watching it when it happens.'' I haven't had a drink for 28 years. With Pam, I discovered that you could not get away with anything. When I married her, I had to own up to everything, which no one had ever asked me to do before. I learnt to be honest with myself, which was great.
The character I play in Brave - the dad - does a lot of shouting and thumping around and the mother does the heavy work. I've found that in my own life, I do a lot of ''this must be done and that must be done'' but most of ''it'' is done by Pamela. My marriage to her has lasted because she knows how to do things. She knows much more than I do about technical stuff and how to do practical things, who to phone when you need to get something done in the house. I know bugger all. I swim along, dreaming through life and she allows me to do that. She has taken on the male role and I have taken on what people used to think was the female role.
It's brilliant being a grandfather. My grandchildren - Walter is 12 and Barbara is 10 - are the best. When you have children in the first place and you can see the genetics, you see who they look like and it changes all the time. One day your son looks like your wife, one day he looks like you. It's the same with grandchildren. Cara burst out laughing the other day. I said, ''What's wrong?'' She said, ''Look at your feet.'' I was standing next to Walter and I looked down and realised that our feet are identical. You'd think they'd just been moulded in a shop. With grandchildren, you understand that the generations go on and on and on.
Brave is out on DVD