Older Adoptive Parents Raise Jamie Foxx to be a Gentleman

Photo: (Photo : Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx did not grow up in a traditional family. Though he knew his mom and dad, it was his older adoptive parents, Estelle and Mark Talley, who raised and taught him how to be a gentleman.

Recalling his young life in a piece on The Washington Post, Foxx said that he learned the story of his actual parentage when he was five years old. But he continued to live with the Talley couple because his mother, who became a single parent, had to work in Dallas.

Estelle, whom he fondly calls granny, recognized his talents as an actor and a comedian from the start. She would tell his teachers to give him a chance to crack jokes in front of the class.

Since Estelle and Mark were a lot older, Foxx said that he also matured faster as a boy. He grew up around the church, learned to play classical piano, and wore white shirts with ties as a teenager. Granny always reminded him to "act like you got some sense" and be a young gentleman.

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'Act Like You Got Some Sense'

His Granny's words became the title of his new book on parenting. Released on Oct. 19, 2021, "Act Like You Got Some Sense" charts Foxx's highs and lows as a parent of two girls, Corrine, 27, and Anelise, 12.

But before delving into his experiences, Foxx shares a chapter about his fractured relationship with his mom and dad, who were not ready to become parents. He said that he didn't have a stable relationship with his father. As a younger person, Foxx said he questioned this relationship because he was a "good guy" who didn't get into drugs and did well in school, yet his father didn't show any positive emotions for him.

His relationship with his birth parents gave Foxx the resolve to set things right when he became a father. Despite his efforts to behave with some sense, he admits he has made many mistakes, especially as a new dad.

In the book, Foxx shares his feelings of paranoia about meeting Corrine's boyfriend during a family vacation or the shock and horror of discovering that Anelise likes to write dark poems. As a dad, Foxx said he abides by simple rules: to care for his daughters, to be present in their lives, and listen to what they have to say.

"You have to continuously be involved," the father said.

Therapy with Corrine

In another chapter, Foxx details some of the things he learned after going to therapy with Corrine. He realized that he used to be a "Disneyland Dad" who was only there for the fun times, and his daughter didn't like this at all. Corrine's mom, Connie Kline, was a former Air Force veteran, and she had a brief relationship with Foxx.

The actor said he had to become the parent who always showed up for his kids because he didn't want his daughters to suffer the "emotional domino" of a broken family. Having daughters has made Foxx more open to talking about things that bother them, and his advice to "Girl Dads" is not to be afraid to tell their daughters what's on their minds.

"Talk about it now because if you get that uncomfortable situation out of the way to where you're comfortable at 10, 11, 12, by the time they're 15, 16 and they have real matters, you've already laid that foundation down," Foxx said.

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