Post Interview: CTV’s Kevin Newman has advice for fathers
The Toronto news anchor co-wrote a memoir, All Out, with his son who talks about coming out of the closet and how his journey parallels his celebrity dad’s own identity issues
Although he’s currently living with his wife in Rosedale, Kevin Newman’s career has earned him countless trips around the world and as many awards. But while he was becoming the co-host of Good Morning America, his son, Alex, was struggling to figure out how he would come out to his family. A decade later, they retrace their steps in the hopes of reinventing their relationship.
What was Alex’s reaction when you first approached him to be involved in this?
He was all for it. He welcomed the opportunity to explore our relationship as well. The book actually began as a book our whole family was going to write. But as time went on, it became clear that the tension in the family was mostly between Alex and myself.… With teenagers coming out, it’s often fear of the father that is the dominant emotion. And so we felt that the public interest would be best served if we explored our relationship over time — that other kids might find comfort and open up and have their own conversations.
All Out seeks to answer if a man with a demanding job can be a good father, too. What have you learned about juggling career and family?
I think I struggled with that and continue to struggle with that to this day. I think it’s a never-ending question. If you read the book, you’ll discover I never feel like I accomplished that.… In the end, if you are successful and you strive to be successful, you have to be more aware of the price you pay.
What did you learn about your relationship with Alex?
It wasn’t as honest as I thought. I mean, we’ve always been close. But as it happens with many families, until you have some sit-down probing, you don’t realize the impacts that things have had or you underestimate them. And that was certainly the case for me.
Looking back, what would you have done differently as a father?
I think as a father, anyway, I always wanted to try to be heroic for my children, and as a result, they never assumed that bad things were going on in my life. And I think, in retrospect now, it’s not a bad thing to show your children vulnerability because it teaches them how to overcome it.
Although there was some distance between you and your son growing up, you’ve said you went through a lot of the same things. How so?
His experience as a teenager and mine as an anchor turned out to be somewhat similar in that people were trying to shape us into things that we weren’t. And so at different times in our lives, it turns out — and almost concurrent in time — we were each having our own identity crisis for two very different reasons.… Learning to be your true self is something that doesn’t have an age boundary.
What did you miss about Toronto?
Downtown Toronto is a miracle. I’ve been away for 20 years travelling the world and came back only two years ago, and the third generation of new Canadians that are here now, the young people ... I mean, the thing that always strikes me is, when I'm sitting having a beer on Queen St., is the groups of young people of heritage from around the world. Downtown Toronto, everybody lives together.
When you’re not writing books, what are some of your favourite hangout spots in the city?
I’m a pub guy.… I like Soho House. I like the Rebel House.
What advice do you have for fathers looking to improve their relationship with their child?
Don’t write a book. Just have a conversation with your son or daughter. Get to it without the book.
All Out will be available on Oct. 6.