How the Dramatic Ups and Downs of Fame Have Made Michael Phelps a Better Father

Who is Michael Phelps, exactly? In the pool, he’s the world’s most decorated Olympian. At home, he’s a dedicated father and husband to his son, Boomer, and wife, Nicole Johnson. On social media, he’s building a lasting, impactful brand. He’s also a philanthropist, a great white shark racer, an Under Armour muse, and, truthfully, a million other things. Now, after spending nearly two decades in the spotlight and picking up more gold medals than most athletes would know what to do with, the legendary swimmer finally has a chance to embrace every side of himself.

The first item on his to-do list? Watching Game of Thrones. Second? Save the water. All of it. All of the water.

Michael will now go from making his mark on the world one stroke at a time to saving the planet one drop at a time. For anyone else, the task might be too daunting, too massive to even comprehend. But this is Michael Phelps — a name that is, at this point, practically synonymous with water — and by partnering with Colgate’s Save Water campaign, #everydropcounts, the laser-like focus that helped him take home medal after medal will now be put toward protecting the earth’s most important resource. If anyone can make a difference, it’s him. POPSUGAR recently sat down with Michael to discuss everything from why the Save Water campaign is so important to him to the new perspective he’s gleaned from living life in the public eye. He might be retiring from swimming, but the world hasn’t seen the last from him. Far from it.

POPSUGAR: Of all the campaigns that you could have signed up for — and I’m sure you get offers all the time — why was the Save Water initiative so important to you?

Michael Phelps: I mean, if you look at me, basically my whole entire life I’ve been around water. So when you look at a stat like, «If you leave the faucet running for two minutes while you brush your teeth you waste four gallons of water,» to me that’s mind-blowing. There are so many people that don’t even have access to clean water, and people leave their faucets running. For me it was something that fit with things that I believe in. If you look at all the sponsors that I work with, all the companies that I’m a part of, that’s the only thing that I want. I don’t want something that’s forced. Especially now being a father, trying to teach your kids the right thing to do. . . it was just the perfect fit for me and for my family. It’s been fun, being able to just get everybody involved in something that could help change our world. Especially trying to reach our younger generation, like 4 years old to 14 years old, trying to get them really aware of conserving water, because every tiny drop counts.

PS: That love of water and helping people is also tied into the Michael Phelps Foundation and your water safety program. What has been the most meaningful interaction with some of the children you’ve helped through that program?

MP: I’ve been able to get to know a bunch of little kids through the foundation. A little boy from Tennessee [who] lost his father, he goes to the Boys & Girls Club, and his mom didn’t want him to go in the water. She was afraid, so he went through one year of trying to learn how to swim, didn’t make it. Second year, he came back, didn’t learn. Third year, he came back, finally learned. And ever since that, he was able to go through those steps and through the foundation’s process, he was able to learn to swim, be more responsible, better behaved, everything came together. With the foundation, it’s not only learning how to swim. It’s tools that you’re able to use throughout your whole entire life. It’s going to help you grow and make better decisions, be active, be healthy, and also be water-safe. It’s things that kids can take on literally for the rest of their lives and learn and grow from those experiences.

PS: Do you plan on expanding its reach?

MP: We’re in the process of adding a mental health side of it. One of the things that I went through that I hated was the eight basic emotions, or six basic emotions. Why am I upset, why am I angry . . . all of these different things and basically being able to realize why you’re feeling that way and just recognizing it. That’s a huge thing that allows you to grow as an individual. I can wake up on an overcast day on the East Coast and feel depressed because I don’t see the sun. So I recognize that, and then have to find other ways to not feel that way, which would then cause me to go into a spiral. It’s been really cool to watch kids never give up. That’s the reason why I’m here today, because I went through big ups and really really big downs, but those are what made me who I am today, and I’m really proud of it.

PS: After working with both the Save Water campaign and also your foundation, what are a few things you’ve learned that you’d like to pass down to Boomer?

MP: Obviously for water safety, you want to learn just to be comfortable in the water; that’s the main goal. I think the second that you start freaking out and feeling uncomfortable, it’s not going to go well. He’s in the water a lot. I just posted on his Instagram actually, before you got here, having pool time with him. So, he loves being in the water. He’s happy, splashing all over the place. If he swims, great, that’s his choice. If he doesn’t, I’m not going to push it. Also, just being able to teach the small things, like don’t leave the water running, turn off the faucet, the shower. . . . I’ve almost started saying «brush your teeth in the shower»; you’re knocking out two birds with one stone. There are so many little tricks that we use to try to conserve as much water as we can. I think those are some of the things that we’ll pass along to Boomer. We’ll probably learn more along the way as well.

«There are so many little tricks that we use to try to conserve as much water as we can. I think those are some of the things that we’ll pass along to Boomer.»

PS: Have you and your wife, Nicole, found yourselves especially surprised by anything as you tackle parenthood together?

MP: For me, I run out of patience here and there. You don’t really know what you’re doing. I ask Nicole, «What do I do?» and she’s like, «I don’t know.» I think it’s just going through the process together, doing things day by day that are going to help Boomer grow up into hopefully a very nice young man. It’s both of us. Every day is different and every day brings something more exciting, like being able to see his personality come out more and more. When I FaceTime him on the road he wants to grab it! He’s always licking the phone, so it’s all these little things that are just so special to see. He’s in the process of learning to walk; he’s taken a couple of steps already. I figure by the time I get home at the end of the week he’ll probably be walking.

PS: That’s so exciting!

MP: Yeah, it’s a big turn. I’ll just be running around the house chasing him all the time.

PS: What’s something that you like to do for father-son bonding time?

MP: It’s funny, when we were watching hockey, watching the NBA Finals, he’ll just come, sit, and pay attention to the TV. He’s really in tune to sports, which is fun. He’s really chill with me. He’s super, super chill. He’ll just lay back on the couch, hide underneath pillows. . . . He always has little tricks; he’s never sitting still. I’m not always home, and Nicole and Boomer don’t travel with me. I like to be able to chill with him and just relax. He has this little car he likes to ride around in. I push him around in this car. Anything that moves, he loves. He likes going fast. We just put him in the couple little cars that he has, and we just fly around the house.

PS: If he ever expressed interest in wanting to go down a similar path like you did, becoming a professional athlete, would that be something you’d encourage? Despite your ups and downs in the spotlight?

MP: I mean, growing up as a kid, my mom never really pushed me into doing something. It was kind of whatever I wanted to do, and that was what made me continue and have the longevity that I had in my career. I went through ups and downs in the pool when I loved it and when I hated it, so if he wants to be an athlete of some sort, great. If he doesn’t, OK. The more you push a kid, in my opinion, they go the other direction, so I won’t push him to do that. In a perfect world, I’d love him to be a really good golfer and have the chance to go to The Masters or something.

PS: Have you had him watch golf, too?

MP: He hasn’t really gotten into it yet. He has his little Fisher-Price golf set, but he basically just hits us with it. [laughs] He’s still learning, but hopefully he likes it, and I’ll just wait for the day when one day he gets into it, and he can beat me. It probably wouldn’t be that hard.

PS: Coming off of the Olympics last year, you’ve presumably had a break from intense training in the pool. Are you enjoying it? Or are you itching to get back out there?

MP: In the pool?

PS: Competing.

MP: No. No desire. I think it was a fun career, it was everything I dreamed of, and now it’s just turning the page to something else. I had so many goals in the pool, and the hardest thing has been walking around every day, being out of the water. It’s a weird transition, a challenging one at times. But I was able to be so successful because I had really really big goals and high expectations for myself. There are so many things that I still want to do. My foundation, growing my brand . . . the list is endless. I’m honestly busier now than I was when I was swimming. It’s kind of weird, but I feel like more of an adult because I have to do stuff every day. Whether it’s checking emails or making phone calls or doing this and that, it’s fun for me. It’s the start of a new chapter. At times, it is frustrating, but I know it’s not going to be easy to accomplish the goals that I want.

PS: Now that you don’t have to worry about competing, is there anything you can really enjoy that you didn’t have time to do when you were training?

MP: I’m pretty lazy. My wife always says, «you’re the laziest, most successful Olympian I’ve ever seen.» How does that make sense? [laughs] Honestly, if I have downtime, I’m really, really good at not doing anything. We’re excited to get back into Game of Thrones and a couple other shows that are coming up. We’ve been going to a lot of movies. It’s relaxing. We spent so much time on the road just traveling, so if we get a chance to go to dinner, see a movie, a friend or a nanny will watch Boomer and it’s the best. My wife left this morning, and last night we went out and celebrated our one-year anniversary, which was yesterday. Being able to go out, just have dinner, and kind of relax . . . we’ve known each other for 10 years this July, so being able to celebrate one year was really special.

PS: Watching TV and going out to dinner doesn’t sound so bad. Other than Game of Thrones, are you a big TV watcher?

MP: There are so many sick shows out there. I really loved Westworld. Westworld blew my mind; I was absolutely loving it. I’ve started listening to more books on tape, and the one book that I’ve listened to, over travel, probably four times in the last three months, has been The Power of Now. I’ve just been trying to think differently and really just trying to live in the moment. I’m trying to measure what time is, because time is so important in so many different ways. You can’t really measure time. I guess we have hours and days, but there’s so many other ways that we can measure time. I’ve been trying to challenge myself more outside of the pool, and I’m excited about moving forward. The next chapter of my life is going to be so enjoyable and so fun. There are going to be struggles, I’m going to have hard times, but I’m someone who never gives up until I get to my goal. The things that I have and the things that I’m doing, I have a lot of lofty goals and it’s going to take help from a lot of people I’ve surrounded myself with and just a lot of hard work.

POPSUGAR Celebrity

Crown Your Father For Father’s Day…That’s John BC In His Element With His Favorite Liquor

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Did you totally blank on Father’s Day and forget to send something to your dad for like the 5th year in a row? You still have time to enter your dad in the Father’s Day Crown Royal velvet painting contest. See above for the details on how you can win a velvet painting that your dad will cherish more than you.

Go to CrownYourFather.com on a mobile device to enter your dad for the velvet painting.

Below we have John BC. I took home a bottle of Crown Royal Wine Barrel Finished this weekend as his Father’s Day gift and you would’ve thought I got him a new John Deere backhoe. John BC went nuts over one of the coolest bottles you’ll ever see. And the giant purple bag that’s like a collector’s item in his world. He loves this whiskey.

Thanks to Crown for this opportunity for my dad. We’re so happy to be partnering with Crown Royal. It’s a highlight of dad’s summer.

It’s the fanciest bottle of liquor John BC has ever had in his house…so fancy:


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Cue Up The Apocalypse, Because George Clooney Is Officially A Father 

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George Clooney’s rep released a statement today saying that Amal Clooney birthed out their twins this morning. I know that the news came from the official rep of the horse’s mouth, but I still won’t believe it until a swarm of locusts crash through my window or until I hear it from the only Clooney baby news source I trust: The Chenbot!

The Daily Mail says that the Clooney twins were born in England and one is a dude and one is a girl. Satan is probably shitting icicles today and that’s because: 1. George Clooney is a literal daddy now. And 2. Two famous people gave their babies completely normal names.

In the statement that George’s rep passed out to the media, he said that 56-year-old George and 39-year-old Amal gave their girl twin the #12 most popular girl name and gave their boy twin the #16 most popular boy name.

“This morning Amal and George welcomed Ella and Alexander Clooney into their lives. Ella, Alexander and Amal are all healthy, happy and doing fine. George is sedated and should recover in a few days

While many people are giving George and Amal a gold star for giving their children normal names, I’m not. What is the point of being a celebrity with twins if you’re not going to give them matchy matchy names that make people brain burp up a dozen WTFs? Like Casa and Migos Clooney? Or Covfefe and Comey Clooney? Or after Amal and George’s special friends, Papa and Razzi?

Oh, poor Ella and Alexander Clooney. I really hope that their parents put them in public school. Because if they go to a fancy private school, the other celebrity kids (like Devereaux Octavian Basil, Dream Renee, Ocean King, Journey River, etc…) are totally going to make fun of them for having “weird” names. They’ve got the Marilyn Munster of celebrity kids names.

And I don’t think that George’s rep was joking about him needing to be sedated. I’m sure he’ll need to be sedated for a while since the shock of being a husband and a father finally hit him. The shock will probably wear off about the time Ella and Alexander are talking. But then he’ll go into shock again when he hears them say, “Hi, dad!

Pic: Wenn.com

Dlisted

Open Post: Hosted By The Craiglist Ad Seeking “Generic Father Figure For BBQ”

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Weirder things have been sought after on Craigslist. I’d elaborate, but the case hasn’t gone to trial yet. Spokane Washington’s Craigslist recently hosted a plaintive plea for a “generic father figure” for a BBQ. Is the current dad not with us anymore? Is he a grumpy asshole who doesn’t like BBQs? Let’s find out!

It’s actually a group of college roommates in Spokane who don’t have any parents in the area, so they advertised for “BBQ Dad.” It’s nice to see guys opening up about their emotions. They need someone to mentor them at their end of the school year party… and also to work the grill. From KHQ:

BBQ Dad” has to handle certain tasks and must possess certain qualifications. The ad has since been taken down, but there’s a screenshot from Twitter:

That’s a big job. Is “BBQ Dad” getting paid in anything besides beer? These are college dudes, so they’ll probably have strippers at some point. That could be some compensation. I honestly hope they get a legit Dad and not some sort of dad impersonator with a grill fetish.

Pic: KHQ

Dlisted

Nick and Aaron Carter React to the Death of Their Father, Bob: «My Heart Is Shattered»

Image Source: Getty / Ron Galella

The Carter family is dealing with a heartbreaking loss after Bob Carter, the father of Nick and Aaron Carter, passed away suddenly on Tuesday night in Florida, People confirms. He was 65. Shortly after his death, his famous sons took to social media to express their sadness over their dad’s passing. In addition to Aaron sharing a few photos of him and his dad, Nick also asked his fans for privacy during this difficult time.

This tragically isn’t the only family death the Carters have had to go through in recent years. In 2012, Aaron and Nick’s sister Leslie passed away at the age of 25 due to a drug overdose. Bob is survived by his wife, Ginger Elrod, and Nick, Aaron, and their two other siblings, Angel and Bobbie.

POPSUGAR Celebrity

Father Time Owns Dwyane Wade

It’s no secret that Dwyane Wade is well past the prime of his career, but he’s not Paul Pierce-level useless just yet. At 35, he can still be a productive role player and occasionally own guys with crafty old man moves around the rim.

What he can no longer do, however, is electrify us in transition with devastating dunks. That became very apparent this afternoon when Dwyane failed to launch over little Isaiah Thomas:

How do you know your legs no longer have the juice? When dunking over 5’9″ dudes becomes a chore.

Twitter pretty much had the same reaction to the loss of Dwyane’s athleticism:


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Amanda Seyfried And Her Soon-To-Be Baby Father Eloped

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Amanda Seyfried is going to give birth to another human soon, so I guess she and her man, Thomas Sadoski, figured that they should get the whole “married” thing out of the way before they’re up to their eyeballs in newborn slobber, baby diarrhea, nanny applications and pulled-out hair from listening to those selfish balls of neediness whine over stupid shit like being hungry. Thomas, who is also an actor, was on The Late Late Show last night to promote something I’m too lazy to Google and he declared that he is now Mr. Karen from Mean Girls.

Amanda and James Corden are friends, so before going into last night’s show, he already knew that she married Thomas. The English Jimmy Fallon asked Thomas about their wedding and he said that they did it the Anthropologie way. They grabbed her dog, Finn, and skipped into the country with an officiant.

“We eloped. We just took off into the country with an officiant and just the two of us and we did our thing. Listen, she’s the person that I love, admire, respect most in the world. I know that you guys are close friends and she would want you to know, so just keep it quiet and don’t tell anybody.

It was beautiful. It was everything it should be. It was just the two of us talking to each other.”

If your nerves can take it, here’s a clip of James Corden cheesing the hell out over Thomas’ story as Vanessa Hudgens sits there looking like a Disney Cher.

Amanda’s publicist is probably pissed and wish she would’ve waited a few days to get married. Because hacked pictures of Amanda Seyfried and her ex Justin Long leaked onto the internet earlier this week, and she could’ve distracted us all by getting hitched live on periscope as her dog Finn officiated the wedding while wearing a jaunty, little top hat. The sight of a dog in a jaunty, little top hat has the power to distract us from absolutely anything.

Amanda and Thomas’ relationship started out with people side-eyeing it. 31-year-old Amanda and 40-year-old Thomas first met in 2015 while working together on an off-Broadway play. Thomas was married at the time. Thomas filed for divorce in August 2015, and the two claim they didn’t get together until last year. Lainey Gossip also had a blind item that seemed to be about these two. The blind item claimed that an actress followed her married boyfriend to Europe where he was on an anniversary trip with his wife. So it’s a good thing that Amanda is too pregnant to go on a honeymoon. Because constantly looking over your shoulder for a possible side piece in a disguise is no way to spend your honeymoon.

Here’s Thomas and Amanda going somewhere in L.A. earlier this month:

Pics: Wenn.com

Dlisted

The Biological Father Of Madge’s Adopted Twins Claims He Was Tricked

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A court in Malawi recently gave the ok for Madonna to adopt 4-year-old twin girls, who will join her other children in shaking their heads and putting their palms on their faces whenever their mom posts some embarrassing shit on Instagram. But well, since no Madge adoption is complete without a layer of messiness covering it, here comes that layer of messiness.

Adam Mwale, the alleged birth father of the girls, tells the Mail on Sunday that he was told that a rich lady was going to foster his daughters and not adopt them permanently. Before the girls, Esther and Stella, became the newest stars of Madge’s Instagram page, they were living in an orphanage in Malawi. Adam’s wife died shortly after giving birth to the twins and when he asked the hospital for help, they suggested that the girls would be better off in an orphanage. So that’s where Adam took them. He says that he visited them often, and when he remarried two years later, he says he continued to visit them and they visited him during holiday times.

A court-appointed guardian told a really different story when in front of the judge. They painted Adam as a deadbeat dad. They said that after Adam’s first wife died, he abandoned the girls and ran off to marry a new piece. But Adam claims that what came out of that guardian’s mouth is a certified lie. He says he never abandoned his daughters.

Adam says that he only signed off on the adoption, because he was told that he’d see them again one day. He believes he was tricked and taken advantage of.

“I was told from the start that Esther and Stella were going to a rich woman’s home abroad, that she would give them a good education, then return them to me, to live with me and help all of my family. Now you are telling me the adoption is permanent. That cannot be true – I don’t want it to be true. I am their father and I will always be their father.

The orphanage boss told me it would be a wonderful chance for my little girls, and for their brother and sisters at home. I was told to agree with everything in court. I did not believe I would never see my girls again. I was standing with my brother-in-law who signed the consent forms with me, and we just continued to believe that I would always be the twins’ father and they would be coming home to me.”

If the luscious Dionne Warwick ballad Deja Vu is filling your head, then let me tell you that you have exquisite taste in music. But I’ll also tell you that it’s probably filling your head because this kind of situation has happened to Madge before. When she adopted her son David, his birth dad accused Madge of being a baby stealer who stole his son. (David’s birth dad says that they’re cool now.) And when she adopted her daughter Mercy, the girl’s family also accused her of tricking them. Mercy’s uncle even told Adam (through the Daily Mail) that he’d never see his daughters again if he let Madge adopt them.

I was going to say that Adam better watch it, because Madge can transform herself into smoke and slide under his door in the dead of night to suck the blood out of his neck veins, but I doubt she gives a hell about this. Besides, I’m sure that Madge will smooth everything over the way she did with David’s birth dad. The next time she goes to Malawi, she’ll take a happy picture with Adam and post it on Instagram to let us know that everything’s good now. Adam should prepare himself, because while taking that picture, Madge is only going to wear a “#1” pastie on her right nip and a “mom” pastie on her left nip.

Pic: Instagram

 

Dlisted

Nicole Kidman Opens Up About Working With Zoë Kravitz After Almost Marrying Her Father

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have the kind of marriage that most people only dream of, but before she met the Australian country crooner, she was engaged to rockstar Lenny Kravitz. They dated briefly in 2003 after Nicole split from ex-husband Tom Cruise in 2001, and although many speculated they’d gotten engaged, neither party ever confirmed it until now. In an interview with The Edit, she opened up about what it was like to reconnect with Big Little Lies costar Zoë Kravitz while working on the HBO drama, given their connection through Lenny. «Well, I knew Zoë because I was engaged to her father,» she revealed. «It’s all in the family! I love Lenny; he’s a great guy.»

Nicole has rarely spoken of her relationship with the «Are You Gonna Go My Way» singer or their rumored engagement, but in 2007 she told Vanity Fair that the reason they never made it down the aisle was because it «just wasn’t right. I wasn’t ready. We weren’t ready.» On the bright side, it looks like Nicole and Lenny had a very amicable split, since she and Keith posed for a few cute photos with him at the CMT Awards in 2013, and Nicole and Zoë appear to be quite close.

POPSUGAR Celebrity

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