Patrick Dempsey is opening up about raising kids in Hollywood.
In an interview with People published Friday, the "Grey's Anatomy" star revealed he's trying his best to keep his three children grounded despite his career in the limelight. He explained it can be "very challenging having your children grow up in Hollywood and to be in that environment."
"I just read something about how important it is when you have children, the environment that they’re in will be the most important thing for them and their development," he said. "So, trying to keep that a good calm, loving, safe environment for them."
People's newest Sexiest Man Alive shares three children with wife Jillian Fink — daughter Talulah, 21, and twin sons Sullivan and Darby, 16. Despite having had a front-row seat to their father's success in Hollywood, Dempsey explained the three of them "want to have their own identity, separate from me and that shadow."
He added each child is different and that "they all have unique qualities, and they have their own goals." He said it's he and Fink's job as parents to "just try to model [their] behavior, and hopefully they’ll pick up on that."
"They’re all athletic, they like to move. They are all very disciplined on that, and you just try to instill the right values," he said. "Hopefully, they have the right manners, and when they come back in and other parents go, 'Oh your children are very polite,' you’re like, 'That’s nice to hear.' And you know they are grounded."
With his sons now 16, the "Bridget Jones's Baby" star joked, "They keep me very active" and he "need[s] to stay in shape to keep up with them," saying "the older you get, the more work you have to put in."
Not only does he feel he has to put in more work as he gets older, he also has to put in more work as a parent as his children grow older and become teenagers. He admits it's "harder" to raise teenagers than it is to raise young children because parents have to learn when to let them handle things on their own and when it's OK to step in.
"Because you need to be around, but they don’t want you around because they’re fighting for their independence, which they should," he explained. "They need to find out how they interact in the world. They need to learn those boundaries. They need to make mistakes. And you need to be there for them and allow them to learn from that."
Dempsey was announced as People's Sexiest Man Alive during Tuesday night's episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live!." During the episode, he sat down for an interview, telling Kimmel his family didn't believe him when he told them he had been selected for the honor, saying they asked him, "No, seriously, who is it?"
Their reaction wasn't a shock to him though. He told People he expected his family to "just make fun of me and pick on me and figure out every reason why I shouldn’t be." He doesn't mind the jokes from his family though, saying, "They keep me young."
While his family was surprised he was chosen for the title this year, it should not have come as a surprise. His character on "Grey's Anatomy" was known as McDreamy, and he has been featured on the pages of the magazine's Sexiest Man Alive issue before, just not on the cover.
"I’m glad it’s happening at this point in my life," he told the magazine. "It’s nice to have the recognition, it's fun. If you can use this for something positive, it's good. And certainly my ego takes a nice little bump."