Stephen Colbert only wants to be known as Dad to his daughter and sons
Stephen Colbert's children — Madeleine, Peter and John — keep him on his toes.
As The Daily Show alum's career rose from writer to creator and host, he was raising a family with his wife Evelyn McGee-Colbert behind the scenes in Montclair, New Jersey. While Stephen didn't allow his kids to watch his work on TV, he brought his sense of humor home, albeit toned down.
In the 2011 biography, And Nothing But the Truthiness: The Rise (and Further Rise) of Stephen Colbert, he revealed that he did "silly" things to get his daughter and sons to laugh, like falling and speaking to inanimate objects. The TV personality also encouraged them to practice their wit with him.
“For a solid year, Madeleine and I made up jokes on the spot before she went to bed," The Late Show star said in the book.
In 2018, Stephen told Rolling Stone that the best part of being a parent is feeling "hopeful" for the next generation.
"As my father-in-law says, 'I have no worries about the future, having seen these children.' And I feel the same way," he said. "I am extremely hopeful there is a large group of young people who are better than I am. Better than the generation that came before them. It gives me hope."
Here's everything to know about Stephen Colbert's children: Madeleine, Peter and John.
Stephen and Evelyn's daughter Madeleine was born around 1995.
Madeleine has the distinction of having a celebrity as her former babysitter: Jennifer Garner. Stephen met Garner when they guest starred in an episode of Spin City in 1996. At the wrap party for that week's episode, Garner offered to watch Madeleine while Evelyn attended Italian classes.
In the years since, Madeleine graduated from Yale and held several positions as a journalist at different publications, where she goes by the name Madeleine Carlisle.
According to her LinkedIn, Madeleine is currently an associate producer at 60 Minutes, putting her under the same network umbrella as her dad. Although she hasn't gotten a chance to work with him, Madeleine was credited as his makeup artist for an episode of The Late Show when Stephen filmed at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a 2014 interview with BuzzFeed, Stephen shared that his favorite memories with Madeleine were conversing with her when she was learning to talk. As she grew, she also demonstrated that she was wise beyond her years, particularly during a family disagreement.
Stephen explained that after his youngest child, John, was born, his wife went out for the night while he stayed to watch the kids — and within five minutes of her leaving, everyone was upset, leading him to raise his voice.
"My daughter said, 'Why are you yelling at us?' and I said, 'I'm trying to discipline you!' And then she looked up at me with her tear-stained eyes and said, 'This is how you teach children, by making them cry,' " he recalled.
Stephen continued, "It was such a clenching reminder — she won not only the argument, but she won life with that statement. I just burst out laughing, and I think they were so surprised that I burst out laughing, that they did too."
Stephen and Evelyn welcomed their second child, Peter, around 1998.
In the 2011 biography, And Nothing But the Truthiness, the SNL alum revealed his kids were allowed to watch half an hour of TV per day during the week and more on weekends when he and his wife slept in. Despite having a set schedule, Stephen still had to add a caveat to their viewing because of Peter's funny behavior.
"I've instituted a new rule that when commercials come on, my daughter has to press the mute button," he said. "Otherwise, Peter falls into a trance: I want that. I want that. I hear, and I obey."
As for whether Stephen let his children watch The Colbert Report, it was a hard no for an important reason.
“I want them to know me as Dad,” he said in the biography. “While I’m insincere on the show, my character is very sincere. I look like their dad, I sound like their dad, I shout more than their dad, but I say things I don’t mean, and a child isn’t going to know that’s a character."
Stephen continued, "Then they’re going to think I don’t mean it when I say I’m proud of them or I love them, and I’m going to tuck them into bed one night and say I love you, and they’ll say, that’s very good, Dad, that’s very dry.”
Though Peter wasn't immersed in his dad's TV work, he still took an interest in the entertainment industry. After he appeared alongside Stephen and his younger brother John in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as hooded Laketown spies in 2013, Peter went on to work behind the scenes for several projects.
Five years later, he wrote and directed the short At the Crossroads Down Yonder, and the following year, he served as co-executive producer and director of the comedy series Where's Noah?.
Most recently, Peter worked in the sound department for the short film Those Who Move Mountains in 2020, and his next project will feature him in front of the camera: He's slated to star in the short film The Virgin, which is currently in post-production.
Born in 2002, John is Stephen and Evelyn's youngest child. In 2014, Stephen joked that John was his only kid who got along with him at the time.
"The 12-year-old still seems to like me," he told BuzzFeed. "That's nice! I think all three of them like me, but I've got two teenagers, and a 12-year-old. He's within months of being a teenager. Then it's all over. Then my wife and I might as well live alone."
Aside from his cameo with his dad and brother in The Desolation of Smaug, John has kept himself busy in film.
He's appeared in several shorts, most famously as a teenager named Hugo, whose best friend and confidante is a cardboard cutout of Danny DeVito in Cardboard by Your Name (a play on words for the 2017 romantic drama Call Me By Your Name).
Like his siblings, John keeps a low profile online, but viewers spotted him in an episode of The Late Show in April 2020 when Stephen was shooting segments at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to Buzzfeed, Stephen also reflected on what he had learned about parenthood.
"No one tells you anything about being a parent," he told the outlet. “You just can't explain what it's like to be a parent until you are a parent. It's like, poetry might get at it, but it's such an experience.”
The Strangers with Candy star added, “I didn't know what to expect. But I think the most surprising thing is that … even the hard parts are just beautiful.”
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.