Q: Bruce, how does it feel to be a father the fourth time around?
WILLIS: I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I’m changing diapers like a champ. I was happy before she was born, and now I’m even happier. I’m in a good state of mind these days and I have been for some years now. I’ve learnt that my life revolves around my family and friends. When I’m not working, my days are devoted to the women in my life. I don’t need anything more than that.
With Mabel, I’m glad I’ve stayed in good shape over the years. I still have a lot of energy left so I can get up early in the morning and take care of her for a while and let Emma relax. What I’ve also discovered is how much love I feel for our baby. I think I’m even more open and more giving as a father now. I pay more attention now because I value it more and I’m less caught up with my career.
Q: You seem very calm?
WILLIS: I feel very relaxed. I don’t have much to get upset about in life. I sometimes worry about my daughters but I try to tell them how to avoid the bad guys out there. Your kids need your love and attention and being able to devote myself to them is very fulfilling. As I get older, spending time with my daughters makes things much easier. You learn to put your ego aside.
Q: You’ve acknowledged in recent years that you’ve undergone some changes in personal philosophy.
WILLIS: I want to get through the anxiety of making a mistake as fast as I possibly can. If I make a mistake or do something rude or hurt someone’s feelings or if I do anything that I consider a mistake, I want to try to correct that and make it okay as fast as I possibly can. It may just be me. I have a lot of anxiety about making mistakes.
There are things that I did as a brash kid … Over the years I learnt from my daughters how it was more important to listen than to speak. I’ve discovered through experience that I should hold back sometimes and be more reflective and save myself a lot of aggravation. You learn more by listening and observing. That’s something being with my daughters has taught me. It’s much better to stay quiet and listen and observe others. I’m also more aware of how fast time moves now and that makes me all the more appreciative of everything around me.
Q: In your 20s, you’ve often said you had the time of your life?
WILLIS: I probably had as much fun as any guy could have who is single and likes to party with good friends. I met so many interesting people in New York and before I started getting acting jobs, I was perfectly happy with my life as a bartender. I was making good money for a working-class kid from New Jersey and, honestly, I felt like I had the world at my feet. Even when I started making big films and earning more money than you could ever dream of, it didn’t make me feel any happier or more satisfied than what I had before. It put things in perspective for me.
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