One week ago, Tuc Watkins came out as a gay single dad to twins on Marie Osmond's Hallmark Channel talk show, Marie.
Today, the One Life To Live star rang up ETonline to talk about the ensuing seven days, which he described with overflowing jubilation. He also revealed what fans of his recently resurrected series can look forward to in the coming weeks!
ETonline: One week ago, your episode of Marie aired. What has the response been like?
Tuc Watkins: I've had a Facebook account for a long time, but I've never had so many people want to be my friend [laughs]. It's all been really nice. My dad has a Google alert on my name and we've always had this deal where, if there's something nice, he's allowed to send it to me. He's my filter. So anything that might be negative gets filtered out by my dad, so I've gotten nothing but a wonderful response.
ETonline: Did going public become more important once you had children?
Watkins: Here's the deal, some actors are genuinely private people. When straight actors are private, it's perceived as having integrity. When gay actors are private, it's perceived as shame. It's a double standard, but I'm just so excited to be a dad, I really couldn't help but want to talk about that.
ETonline: Your kids are now four and a half months old. How has fatherhood been?
Watkins: I found the first three months to be really difficult. I understand why sleep deprivation is considered torture, but something happened at 3 months, once they started to sleep more and giggle. The conflux of those two items made the first three months sort of forgettable. I always thought I was a tough impenetrable person, but when my daughter smiles at me, I just completely melt into the floor.
ETonline: You've said you always knew you were a gay man and that you wanted to be a father. Why was now the right time to make your dreams a reality?
Watkins: I always knew I was going to be a dad, but I didn't know how I was going to be a dad. I didn't know how beyond the fact it would be a non-traditional route. And as I got older, there were things I could consider -- I could adopt or foster or use a surrogate. I did consider all those things, but surrogacy was really the right path for me. When my sister had a little girl 7 years ago, I thought that because I loved her so much that would "scratch the itch" and I could just be the fun uncle Tuc. But more than ever, seeing a little bit of myself in her just galvanized that I really did want to have a [biological] kid.
ETonline: And it seems like you enjoyed the surrogacy process.
Watkins: I had such a great experience, it's all I want to talk about. An amazing woman who lives in Texas was my surrogate, and with her husband and three kids, it's like we were all a team. I had such a great experience that it really is all I want to talk about to anyone who will listen.
ETonline: You also have a lot to celebrate in your professional life. What was your reaction to finding out OLTL was being resurrected online?
Watkins: I didn't believe it. I really thought they were gone for good because I knew Prospect Park had tried to bring them back [to no avail]. So we collectively moved on. Then, a couple months later I got a call asking if I wanted to be on OLTL again and I said, "Sure! Where? When?" I was really surprised but I think it's a happy accident that it took a year for this to work because the way Prospect Park has done it now is worth waiting for. I mean, in a nutshell, they really put some money into it. These aren't webisodes, they're TV episodes airing on the internet. And I have to say, I think the show works better in a half-hour format.
ETonline: From your perspective, is there any difference between making the show for ABC and making it for Hulu?
Watkins: There really isn't. At first, it felt different because the producers were new, the writers were new and the crew was new. The only people who weren't new were the actors. We were used to doing it a certain way, but it's been a pretty short learning curve. And I think the writing speaks to a younger demographic, so I think we're pleasing the core audience by continuing some of the original storylines, but I also think it speaks to a younger generation.
ETonline: What are you excited for the fans to see coming up with David's storyline?
Watkins: The love of David's life is Dorian Lord, hands down, but David often gets distracted. And he's about to run into a big distraction.
ETonline: How have you been at juggling work and parenting?
Watkins: Not very seamless [laughs]. My cousin is my nanny and I could not do this without him, and with his help, me and the kids are really getting through it happily. I've never been happier or felt luckier.
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