Brendan Fraser’s oldest kid, Griffin, 20, was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, the actor said in an interview with Howard Stern.
Brendan Fraser is speaking up on what it’s like to be a parent of an autistic child.
During a recent interview with Howard Stern for his SiriusXM radio show, The Whale actor, 54, discussed his experiences raising son Griffin, 20, and making an effort to reach out to people with autism at public events.
“There are people who, for whatever reason, are delighted to meet your acquaintance, even for a few moments. And I find that very rewarding and reassuring, and there are individuals who, from across a convention room hall, I can tell straight away, ‘He’s on the spectrum,’” the actor revealed.
“You are aware that someone requires more affection and time because they are autistic or have Aspergers, and this is their world. Here is where they should be,” he goes on.
“Regardless of the frenzy surrounding the celebrity bulls—-, I always stop the train to have a moment with them.”
Fraser added dramatically, “Since my oldest son is autistic, I understand how important it is to their families and them. It means a lot to feel like you can satisfy someone simply by turning up.”
Stern added that many parents of autistic children he’s spoken to over the years are concerned about how their child will be cared for if both parents die.
“What else can we do but give ourselves a break and bumble our way through it together, doing what works and doing what works until it doesn’t work anymore, and then finding something new,” Fraser explained.
He described some difficulties parents confront while fighting for their autistic children. “You will have to go up against school boards. Certainly, you will encounter strange people along the way who have an entirely different agenda than the aim of sending a child to a special needs school.”
“You’re going to meet a lot of extremely colorful people, and how you handle that comes down to how confident you are that everything will be fine,” Fraser said. “You have to believe it despite everything.”
Fraser then recounted how difficult it was for him to comprehend his son’s illness when they initially learned of it.
“I was stunned to learn of my child’s condition when he was 22 or 24 months old. ‘I want to know how to solve this,’ was my initial thought. What is the treatment? ‘What exactly does this mean?’ “He stated.
“You’ve just been hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat. What do you mean? This is not how things are meant to play out, “He went on. “You start blaming yourself and thinking,’ my genealogy or ‘I took cannabis in college,’ and you start blaming yourself over the reasons why.”
“It’s like trying to get a straight answer out of an f——— leprechaun,” he remarked, describing how difficult it is for specialists to believe that autism happens “for reasons unknown.”
“You rapidly realize that I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Fraser said. “This kid is the happiest onboard of everyone I know and is related to me as my son. I’m curious about what he finds so hilarious that he can’t stop laughing all day. He enjoys going for automobile rides. It makes no difference where you take him.”
“He’d sit on a big plane and take enormous commuter flights from here to Philly all day because that’s what brings him delight,” he explained.
When asked if Griffin’s illness led to his marital problems with ex-wife Afton Smith, with whom he shares kids Leland, 16, and Holden, 18, Fraser said, “I prioritized my professional life over my personal life. That’s my opinion.”
“But when it comes to Griffin, all bets are off. Who cares about our quarrels with one another? That is irrelevant “He made a point of mentioning it. “It’s under a white flag, and we’re doing everything we can to save this youngster and his brother. It is all I could devote to in a meaningful way.”