Kevin Zegers Defends Decision To Tell His Young Kids About Alcoholism

By Paul Gaita 01/29/19

Kevin Zegers later explained his decision to inform his kids about his alcoholism recovery.

Kevin Zegers

Kevin Zegers won praise for his response to criticism of a post on his Instagram page in which his young children acknowledge that their father is an "alcoholic."

Zegers, 34, an award-winning actor whose credits include Transamerica, Fear the Walking Dead and most recently, Dirty John, is currently in recovery for alcohol dependency, which in his response he described as a "part of my life."

He defended his decision to inform his children about his condition as an effort teach the girls "some empathy and understanding about addiction."

In the video, posted on January 22, Zegers' wife, talent agent Jamie Feld, is heard asking the couple's twin three-year-old daughters, "What is Daddy?" Both answer, "An alcoholic." She then asks them where Zegers is at that moment, and then tells them that he is at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Zegers himself added the caption, "Learning 'em young. #aameeting."  

While response from some of Zegers' followers was positive, others considered the couple's transparency as giving the children information that may be beyond their understanding.

On January 23, Zegers posted a response, which began simply with, "Being in recovery is a part of my life. Being an 'alcoholic' doesn't mean that I drink."

Zegers went on to explain that his decision to inform his daughters about his "condition" was inspired by their own questions about where he was at their bedtime. "Instead of lying to them, or projecting an archaic stigma, we choose to tell them the truth. 'Daddy's at a meeting,'" he wrote.

In addition to imparting "empathy and understanding" about addiction on his children, Zegers also hoped that they would come to understand that in spite of his dependency, he has "chosen to live a clean and sober life that involves much more than drinking" for the past eight years.

He also noted that his decision to make the video public was an attempt to directly address people like those who posted negative or questioning comments, whom he described as "want[ing] to shame people with addiction and mental health issues back into the shadows. My choice is to crack the window open so others can see what's possible on the other side."

Zegers has been frank about his alcohol dependency in the past. In a 2013 interview, Zegers said that while he never drank while working on a film or television show, he did find that his career had leveled off after the critical success of Transamerica in 2006, because he either refused or "messed up, either intentionally or unintentionally" film projects that followed because of his struggles with alcohol.

"But once I actually got sober, things started falling back into the order they were before," he noted.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.