Mark McGrath on Raising Twins, Filming 'Celebrity Apprentice' and Sugar Ray's New Single
In addition to headlining the two-day event held in Las Vegas Dec. 2-3, hosting the VH1 series "Don't Forget the Lyrics," releasing "Down With Whatever," the new single from his band, Sugar Ray, and starring in the fourth season of "Celebrity Apprentice," set to air next year, McGrath, 42, also is the proud father of 7-month-old twins, Lydon Edward and Hartley Grace with Carin Kingsland, his long-time fiancée.
ParentDish recently checked in with McGrath to find out why his children made him do a complete 180.
ParentDish: From one new parent to another, let me begin by saying congratulations.
Mark McGrath: Oh, my God, thank you. This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. It is just such a blessing.
PD: Fatherhood is treating you well?
MM: You know, the last couple of years I have been at a crossroads in my life and, once these kids came into my life, I now know what I am going to do with the rest of my life. My job now is to be the best parent I can be because that is all that matters.
PD: Sounds like you're a changed man.
MM: Wow, I love connecting with them. I mean, when they laugh there is just nothing better. Being with them is the greatest moment of my life and really answers the question, "Why am I here?" I mean, I was rocking the world in my 20s and 30s and I was only responsible for me. I guess I was selfish in that way, plus, I had people doing everything for me because of who I was. Now in my 40s, I'm not only ready for this, but my kids make me feel younger.
PD: Is Hartley allowed to date when she gets older?
MM: She is my little girl and I will try to protect her from the evils of this world and shield her from a bad moment. She is the apple of my eye and, no, she can't date -- at least until she is 21 (laughs).
PD: Who taught you how to change two diapers at once?
MM: It actually came natural to me. You know, Carin had a heavy duty C-section, so it was me changing diapers for the first two days. I can now change the babies in record time. In the dark, blindfolded, I got this system down cold.
PD: Can you do it in under 30 seconds?
MM: Oh, yeah. I am a pro (laughs).
PD: I read that getting pregnant wasn't easy for you guys.
MM: I tried my hardest the conventional way, but that didn't work out for us. We did the IVF thing. It was intense and expensive, but we did it in one shot and, boom, here they are.
PD: How do you divide and conquer two little ones at once?
MM: Well, we are both home now and the twins are my entertainment. Plus, we have help because twins are a heavy load. So to have the extra hands around is great.
PD: Are they crawling yet?
MM: No, but they have got the mechanics down. They are up on all fours and rocking back and forth. We are ready to watch them take off and chase after them.
PD: Aside from your role as dad, you also host "Don't Forget the Lyrics!," airing weekdays on VH1.
MM: Think of it as karaoke on steroids with consequences. Basically, you pick a genre of music, sing along to the words you see on the screen and then when the words disappear you have to finish the song. The winner is awarded $50,000.
PD: Have any contestants tried singing a song by Sugar Ray?
MM: Absolutely. But the funny thing is, when they go to pick a song, and if one of the choices is Sugar Ray and they don't pick it, I am like, "Dude, I am standing right here."
PD: Recently, you were a celebrity judge for the Rock On with Marathon Energy Bar, a rock 'n' roll-themed competition featuring amateur stars playing the popular video game Rock Band.
MM: Yes, we were giving people the chance to let out their inner rock star and the winner of the contest gets to jam with me and my band for a day.
PD: Speaking of Sugar Ray, are you guys getting back together?
MM: We really never broke up. That has been the perception because I took a job as the host of "Extra." Actually, we play up to 40 shows a year and just released a single on our website you can now download.
PD: And you're set to star on the latest season of "Celebrity Apprentice."
MM: That was so much fun to meet Mr. Trump. I think my time on the show was the hardest I have ever worked. I mean, we put in 16 hour days, calling anyone and everyone from our Rolodexes and asking for favors, all to try and make the impossible possible. I will say, it was one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences of my life.
PD: Who is a force to reckon with on this installment?
MM: The cast is strong. Star Jones is a lawyer, Marlee Matlin is really smart, Meat Loaf is incredible, Jose Canseco was smart and look out for David Cassidy. Gary Busey has his moments of being a maniac.
PD: The holidays are now upon us. Will this year be extra special for you because it will be Lydon and Hartley's first Christmas?
MM: It is a bittersweet time because my dad passed away in the summer, but I see his spirit in the twins so that is amazing. This time of year is all about the kids and their joy. What is also a joy for me is we just moved into a new house, so I am excited to get settled, plant roots and start decorating the place in Christmas with my family.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.