ET’s Kevin Frazier was with the 36-year-old actress on our set in Studio City, Calif., where she revealed her biological father, who was in the Navy, hasn’t been a part of her life since she was 8 years old following her parents’ divorce.
“I was the youngest child and I felt like, ‘OK, this is great, but I never felt like we really bonded, and then, when my parents got the divorce, it was like, we just didn’t have a relationship,” Metz tells ET. “There was a lot of resentment toward him about leaving and how do you leave your children. We never know people’s full [stories] and I don’t obviously know everything that he was going through.”
“And now, while I don’t have a relationship with him, as a human being, I have empathy for him because there’s a reason why he did what he did,” she adds.
Metz says her quick rise to fame has brought her father back around again, causing her and those in her inner circle -- like her mother (“She was everything to us,” the actress says) -- to question his motives.
“She was in the trenches with me and she was there when I was crying, when I wanted to move back home and didn't think I could hack doing this anymore after American Horror Story[: Freak Show],” Metz says of her mom. “And now he comes on the scene and he's like, ‘Congratulations.’ While that's great and I accept that, what are your intentions and what are your motives? But I also know that everybody deserves a second chance.”
Though it’s been decades since Metz’s father left the family, she’s “trying to” give him another shot.
“He lives in Florida, so we saw each other over the break and he's been remarried for 20 years. I'm trying to, but I also know that if we don't have one, that's OK too,” she admits.
“Maybe eventually we might, but it is a little strange when I'm like, ‘Thank you, thank you,’ but where you been?” Metz says.
But there is a new man taking center stage in Metz’s life. The actress has been dating Josh Stancil, who works as a cameraman on This Is Us; the couple made their first public appearance together at a Screen Actors Guild Awards party last weekend. Though they’ve been going strong for the past five months, Metz still isn’t used to the attention being paid to her love life.
“I don't know if I should be offended or not because I'm like is it because I'm a big girl and you're like, who's her boyfriend? Is he cute? Is he this? Is he that? Is he overweight? Is he tall?” Metz says. “I know there's genuine interest and maybe it's my fault because it's been a secret but not intentional.”
When asked how her beau, whom she’s “grateful” for being “so loving and so supportive,” will handle the madness, Metz was truthful. “I don’t know how he’s going to handle it. I don’t know if he’s ready,” she continues. “I wasn’t sure I was ready and then you’re on the train and it’s moving.”
There is one thing that’s an absolute relationship deal-breaker for Metz, which happens to be the same for her on-screen character Kate: dishonesty.
“I feel like real honesty and real trust is real intimacy, so that is definitely a deal breaker,” she says.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.