- Actor Dan Bucatinsky grew up never thinking he'd have a chance to be a dad
- Parenting has its own unique set of challenges as two dads figure out roles
- Bucatinsky, who is gay, was surprised and thrilled to find his "mommyness"
- Playing gay father on "Scandal" gives him a chance to be role model for new generation
Dan Bucatinsky is a gay dad in real life, and he also plays one on TV. The 47-year-old actor, producer and author recently won the Outstanding Actor in a Guest Role Emmy award for his work on ABC's mega-hit "Scandal." Along with Lisa Kudrow, Bucatinsky co-produces the TLC show "Who Do You Think You Are?" in which celebrities trace their family roots.
Off-screen, he and his husband, writer and director Don Roos are parents to two young children, Eliza and Jonah. Bucatinsky wrote about their road to becoming a family in his memoir, "Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?: Confessions of a Gay Dad."
CNN spoke with Bucatinsky about the challenges and commonalities same-sex parents find in a world where the definition of "family" is evolving. An edited transcript is below.
CNN: When you were growing up and coming to terms with being gay, did it ever cross your mind that you might someday be a father?
Dan Bucatinsky: It wasn't something that I dared to aspire to. I lived a lot of years in denial. I spent a lot of my teen years promising myself that if it turned out to be true, that I would kill myself. I'm really glad that I didn't fulfill that promise.
Even early in my 20s when I came out of the closet, I wasn't really thinking about marriage. I focused on my career, and I didn't have a clear picture of my future as being in a relationship, having kids and having a domestic life. By 27, I was settling down, and it became clearer to me that it was something I was subconsciously craving.
I was so envious of the gay men I'd meet who wore wedding rings. I remember feeling some kind of pang in my mid-to-late 20s. Maybe it was too painful to really picture. I felt like it wasn't in my cards. I met Don when I was 27, and we didn't have kids until I was 40. For 12 years we talked about it, but not seriously, until the last five years. I didn't believe it was possible, so now, when I think about it, it's just surreal.
CNN: When you talk to young, gay men about parenthood now, do their expectations differ from that?