Lee Daniels, the creator of the hit series "Empire," opens up about becoming a foster parent. The writer, director and producer says parenting was not part of his plan when his children came into his life but he's now proud of how everything turned out.
Daniels talked about becoming the adoptive parent of his brother's kids, Clara and Liam, during a recent Extraordinary Families gala to honor his work. The twins, now 21-years-old, were left to his care at 3-days-old. His brother went to prison over two decades ago and his brother's girlfriend also couldn't care for the babies.
"My partner and I at the time were the first same-sex couple to adopt in Pennsylvania," he said, as per Huffington Post. "I took them in, and I raised them and I'm really proud that I did."
The director said in an exclusive interview in 2010 the twins came at a time when Daniels was just starting to make something of his life. "I didn't want to have kids," he admitted to W Magazine. "I was just beginning to make money and have fun with my life, and I didn't want to grow up."
He, however, credited the kids for "changing his life," as per Telegraph. Before they came, Daniels was himself a drug addict who lived a risky life at a time when the AIDS epidemic was a mystery.
He decided to get his life together so the children would have someone to look up to. Daniels grew up in a community riddled with poverty, drugs, bullying and violence and he didn't want that same life for the children.
Daniels also told GQ in 2015 his relationship with his brother in prison slowly mended. For a while, his brother couldn't accept Daniels' sexual orientation but he received a letter from prison stating an apology. "He says: 'I'm sorry for hating you just because,'" Daniels said.
Today, his kids help provide inputs for his work. They give him a realistic perspective of what's going on in the world, in and among families.