Ty Burrell, who plays bumbling dad Phil Dunphy on Modern Family and will be lending his voice to the upcoming DreamWorks Animation film Mr. Peabody & Sherman, confesses that he's an "overly loving dad." The father of two adopted daughters (ages 1 and 3) with wife Holly admits he's a guy who likes to give hugs. A lot of them.
At a press conference for Mr. Peabody & Sherman, a film about a time-traveling genius dog and his adopted boy (coming to theaters March 7, 2014), Burrell shared his take on parenthood and what he's in denial about when it comes to his girls.
How are you
most and least like Mr. Peabody?
"We adopted, so I very much
feel—and felt from the minute I read the script—a very strong connection to
somebody developing a really strong bond with an adopted child. ... Peabody’s sort of trying to learn how to be a sensitive being.
My fault is being overly sensitive, and overly expressive and overly
loving, where my kids are running from me. I’m like, 'One more hug before I
leave, just one more, I’ve got one more.'"
How has being a
parent changed how you approach your roles?
"The Modern Family thing has been so funny
because I wasn’t a dad when we got started, and I really relate much more to
the Mitch and Cam storyline in the show because that is the age of my kids, so
I’m just falling off the couch at that episode where [Lily] bumps her head, or
locking [Lily] in the car. That’s my world—I am in complete denial about my girls
If you had your own
time machine, who would you want to meet?
"It wouldn’t be very far. I’d like to go back and meet Buster
Are you a dog lover in real life?
"I am a huge dog lover. At the moment, we're traveling a lot, and I have two young girls, and we are not allowed to have a dog. By that, I'm saying my wife is not allowing us to have a dog because of
the travel. But in a few years ... we've negotiated that we'll have a dog again in a few years."
Do you feel like you have a handle on the whole parenthood thing?
"I feel like I'm one step behind constantly. But I feel like just when I kind of feel like, 'Oh, I think I’ve got the answer'—not the answer, but I think I know how I
want to handle that situation—she's decided to go back to Pull-Ups and just
decided she doesn't want to be potty-trained."