Ingo Rademacher’s Most Cherished Role Is Father To His Two Sons
Earlier this year, when working parents across the country were forced to make an abrupt adjustment to a new lifestyle brought about by stay-at-home orders — one punctuated by constant family togetherness and homeschooling — it was more or less business as usual for Ingo Rademacher and his family.
The GH star and his wife of 10 years, Ehiku, you see, were already homeschooling their two sons, Pohaku, 8, and Peanut, 12 next month (“an almost-teenager now — a whole new world!”), and togetherness was already a way of life. And, as luck would have it, in mid-February, the family had closed on a condo in their favored vacation spot, Mammoth Lakes, a five-hour drive from L.A. Save for the long hours spent renovating its out- dated kitchen and bathrooms (“What a project that was!”), the actor says, “We didn’t really feel the quarantine at all because we were just doing what we would normally up there,” including cross- country skiing and daily runs. “It was definitely a good place to be stuck!”
Talking to Rademacher, it’s clear that he’s pas- sionate about what he calls a “hands-on” approach to parenting. He has many happy memories of his own father (“We were constantly making things — I’d be like, ‘Okay, Dad. I want you to make me a sword, and I need a bow and arrow….’ ”), but notes, “Dad was busy a lot of the time…. My sister actually suffered more under my dad not really being there for her emotionally, but to me, it wasn’t an issue at all because, you know, boys are all, ‘Whatever, it’s all good!’ ”
Still, when it came to raising his own family, Rademacher was determined to forge a different path, and from the get-go, he and Ehiku have kept their kids close. “I’ve had friends, good friends, say, ‘Well, you can’t really take them out to dinner, they’re too young,’ ” the actor notes. “We’ve been taking our kids out to dinner since they were babies! I mean, it sucks when you have to bounce them and your wife has to eat and then you switch. I remember those days — they were horrible! But that’s just the way it was. And a lot of people leave their kids at home when they go on vacation. We’ve never done that. We’ve never wanted to do that, even. I don’t want to be away from them because I know when they grow up and they’re out of the house, they’re out of the house! They’re going to have their own lives and their own families. I’m stoked that I’m able to spend this much time with them, having the job that I have.”
Rademacher is quick to point out that his performance as a father is a work in progress — and he gives
himself high marks for improved patience. When his boys acted out, “I’d get really frustrated,” he recalls. “I guess everybody does; you get mad at your kid sometimes. But the last two years, I’ve completely stopped that. [I realized], my frustration is the problem. He’s just being a kid.” In lieu of yelling, “I talk to
them like adults. I sit them down and I say, ‘I’m disappointed that I asked you to do this and you still haven’t done it. I’m not going to yell at you for it, but I might take away your PlayStation for a few days.’ And when I do get upset, I apologize to my kids. I say, ‘Look, you know, that was wrong, I’m sorry.’ I go, ‘Be better than Dad. I didn’t have a dad like me when I grew up.’ Those things kind of work better than getting upset and yelling and turning into The Hulk! I’ve stopped that, and I’m so glad that I did. My relationship with my two boys is so much better now. It’s the best! I get ‘I love you, Dad,’ all day long from both of them.” It’s a reality Rademacher could only have hoped for when Peanut was born. “He was born at home in Malibu in our house there. When I got to hold him for the first time and I talked, he was on my chest and then he looked up at me and opened his eyes because he knew my voice. He was literally not even 10 minutes old. I was like, ‘Whoa, what a moment! I cannot wait to have a conversation with this kid.’ And then it goes so fast. All of a sudden, three, four years go by. I don’t even know what happened with the second one — that just flew by! But I think that’s the thing that you wish for the most when you have a baby. You’re like, ‘I can’t wait to talk to this person.’ And now I have incredible conversations with both of my kids.”
Raising a family is all the more gratifying for Rademacher because he’s doing it alongside Ehiku. “It’s the best,” he beams. “We do the parenting together and running the household together. A lot of the time my wife is like, ‘You make the final decision. If you want to do it, let’s do it.’ And then the other way around, it goes like that as well where I’m like, ‘You know, I just don’t want to make the decision. What do you want to do? Do you want to go on this trip?’ We weigh out the options and discuss it. That’s the way you have to approach everything, I think, in life. The whole Neanderthal ver- sion of, like, ‘The man is in charge’ and all that bullcrap, we don’t really do that. It’s a partnership.”
When his boys look back on their childhood, “I hope they remember all of the adventures that we had, the bonding moments, the conversations, that their dad was focused on them,” Rademacher muses. “I mean, I do get busy and dis- tracted with other things, for sure, and sometimes they call me out on it. I think one of the hardest things you have to learn as a parent is to really listen to your kids. The most important thing is to let them talk and listen to them. At the end of the day, isn’t that what life’s about?”
Just The Facts
Birthday: April 22. “We all get to skip this year, by the way I get to turn 49 again next year.”
We Are Family: Married wife Ehiku on October 3, 2009; their sons are Peanut, born July 11, 2008, and Pohaku, born May 13, 2012.
On Homeschooling: “It’s not my favorite thing to do. I like doing the music stuff with them better. The latest thing since quarantine has been guitar lessons every day on YouTube. They’ve been doing awesome!”
On The Move: Rademacher takes his sons running “between four and five miles every day with he dog. [Peanut] is going to be a faster runner than me soon. In the last six months he grew out of everything. He grew out of his mountain bike in, like, two months. He’s stealing my wife’s size 9 women’s running shoes now!”
Contact List: Since GH halted production, the actor has been texting with “Mo [Benard, Sonny], Steve [Burton, Jason], Laura [Wright, Carly] and Kelly [Monaco, Sam], and some texting on Instagram with others.”
Ask Ingo Rademacher to rate his GH alter ego, Jax, as a parent, and his first reaction is to let out a hearty laugh and call Jax out on his absenteeism. “The fact that he was gone for so long and [parented by Skype], that was kind of brutal!” he says. “How do you really explain that? I don’t know. To leave your daughter behind? None of that is realistic.”
High on the actor’s wish list when he gets back to work is to see Jax more involved in Josslyn’s life in general. “It’s amazing to work with Eden [McCoy, Josslyn] when we have really good, emotional stuff like we did at the beginning with Oscar dying and all that.
I hope that we get into it more when we get back. For the last two-and-a-half months, I haven’t been part of that storyline, just being involved with Carly and the relationship with Josslyn and Sonny. I was busy making out [laughs]! But I love playing that stuff. I love working with Laura Wright [Carly] because we’ve had that history for so long. We’re like a married couple when we get together. We just know exactly who the character is and how the character is going to react. Those years of that chemistry, it shows in the scenes, and I love that. Even if they’re not together, just having that, you know, ‘I have to deal with her and with Sonny because of my daughter,’ it makes for a very interesting story. I hope that we can work Jax into all of those stories when we get back.”