By Contributor Diana Marcketta
Celebrity parents gathered in Beverly Hills this past weekend in support of their friend and fellow celebrity parent, Kathy Ireland who hosted a Mother’s Day reception at Geary’s, a leading retailer of fine luxury gifts, in honor of the launch of her new jewelry line produced by Elan Luxury Collections. The collection includes diamond-studded hoops designed to hang straight without an uncomfortable swing effect, artful crucifixes [pictured on Kathy below], dinner rings and a variety of bangles and bridal items which provides Ireland’s customer with high quality items at a variety of price levels, which begin under $200 but expand to several thousand.
Among Ireland’s guests were the original real life and television momager, Shirley Jones, her husband Marty Ingels, Ed Begley Jr. with wife Rachelle, and Tony Dovolani of “Dancing with the Stars.” HMB Contributor Diana Marcketta had the opportunity to glean parenting tips from each of them, beginning with Shirley Jones who raised a pack of devilish Cassidy boys in the city of Angels. When it comes to parenting in the fast-moving world of Hollywood there are no easy answers, say several of entertainment’s leading moms and dads, but some solid, hard rules can be helpful.
Shirley Jones, the “television” mother of the 1970’s sitcom “The Partridge Family” and the real-life mom of three sons (former “Hardy Boys” teen idol Shaun Cassidy and brothers Ryan and Patrick) and one stepson (David Cassidy, former teen star of “The Patridge Family”), was in attendance with husband, comedian Marty Ingels.
Having grown up in a community of 800 in rural Pennsylvania, Jones, whose own decades-long acting career began on Broadway and then led directly to the silver screen in “South Pacific” and “Oklahoma,” says she worked diligently to instill the same kind of small-town values in her children. In fact, she took the role on “The Partridge Family” so she could be home with her children. The father of Jones’ children was the late Jack Cassidy – an highly-renowned actor who died in 1976. She divorced Cassidy in 1974, two years prior to his death, and later married Marty Ingels [pictured above].
Jones recalls that the family originally moved to Beverly Hills because, at the time, the school district was one of the best in the country. What she didn’t anticipate was the peer pressure her sons would experience living in such an upscale community. Shirley immediately felt challenged by the material demands and expectations of her sons. “They would say, ‘That kid has a Rolls-Royce. Why can’t I have a Rolls-Royce?’” says Jones, “I said ‘You can have a car, but you have to pay half [and] I’ll pay half’,” said Jones. “Then I would tell them to go down to [local grocery stores] Von’s or Ralph’s and get a job boxing groceries. At least, they could do that to earn some money.”
With a houseful of boys – stepson David Cassidy, sons Shaun Cassidy, Patrick Cassidy and Ryan Cassidy – Jones endured her share of teen-age antics. “I had a list of rules for each of them written on yellow legal paper stuck to the refrigerator,” says Jones. “So that any time I was out-of-town, or working late, there was no doubt what the rules were. No girls spending the night,” says Jones of some of yellow, legal pad, written rules. “No screwing girls in the car parked in the garage.” And despite Jones’ pleas, each of them followed the family tradition, pursuing careers in show business.
“I begged Shaun not to go into show business. I pleaded with him to go to college,” says Jones of her oldest son. “But [into show business] he went, right after his brother David.” Ryan and Patrick are also involved in the entertainment industry. In fact, Jones was so vigilant in her pleas for her oldest to get a regular job, Shawn reminded her of it immediately following his very first performance at Madison Square Garden. While Jones waited with several family members in an alley way for her son following the performance, she recounts, “He pulled up next to me [in his limousine], rolled down the window, and said, ‘Now do you think I should be boxing groceries?’” says Jones. “[Then] he rolled up the window, and drove away.” Jones says the best advice she could give any parent is to be vigilant about knowing what’s going on in their children’s lives. “You have to stay on top of them,” says Jones.
TV actor and environmental activist Ed Begley Jr. and his wife Rachelle Carson, who star in Discovery’s Planet Green series, “Living with Ed,” share similar parenting views with Jones. “We try to spend as much time as possible together as a family,” Begley says of life with their 10-year-old daughter, Hayden Carson. “You can’t let life get in the way of being with your children. There’s always social networking. There’s always that email to send out. You know how it goes, ‘Just a minute, let me send this out,’ and then 10 minutes later, you’re still at the computer. You simply have to walk away and be really there with your child.”
Begley says he makes sure his schedule gives him lots of time at home with his family. “When I’m there, I’m really there with her,” Begley says of parenting Hayden. Begley and his wife monitor their daughter’s behavior, as well as her friends’ behavior. “You want to make sure your kid is hanging out with the right crowd,” says Begley.
Being active with your child is also an important part of being a parent today, says Begley. The distraction of television, the Internet and in some cases cell phones, makes children sedentary, says Begley. “Participate with them,” he suggests. “I’ll go riding bikes with [Hayden] or go swimming, or maybe it’s not a sport I’m into, but she’s into it. Just as long as they’re staying active and you’re staying active with them. I think that’s important.” Begley says because of he and his wife’s environmentalism, his daughter has also had the added benefit of experiencing a garden and understanding where food comes from.
“She’s not afraid of worms. She’s never afraid of worms in the garden, “ says Begley, who taught his daughter Hayden about worm’s role in the supplying needed nitrogen for the garden soil’s benefit. “She knows that food doesn’t come on the Safeway bus nor grown on the Von’s tree.”
Tony Dovolani of Dancing with The Stars and father of three says life moves in the fast lane in Hollywood, not just for adults but for kids as well. “There is a lot of peer pressure to having everything now,” says Dovolani, who lives in Connecticut with his wife and children when not shooting ABC’s hit dance show. “I don’t understand why they don’t want to experience life. Life is a wonderful experience. Experience life as it comes. It doesn’t all have to be now.”
He’s often shocked by teenage girls’ desire to have breast augmentations and lip-pumping injections, and to seek public attention. “Everyone seems to be publicity hungry even if they’re no one,” he says. “It used to be that fame and notoriety came because it was talent-based. Now people want to be famous for being famous and for blogging about nothing. That influences our children, our teenagers, in a negative way,” he says.
Dovolani sincerely understands the concept of hard work. He came to the U.S. under political asylum when his family fled their home country of Kosovo. “We came here with nothing,” says Dovolani, whose father was formerly CEO of a large computer corporation in Kosovo. “But it was too dangerous for us to stay [in Kosovo]. We would not be alive today had we not come to the U.S., but we left everything behind to do that.”
Dovolani says he and his wife have long established a united front in parenting their children…even before his wife Lina became pregnant with their first child more than four years ago. “In our house, the parents are the parents,” he says. “The children do not make the decisions. We do. If we have a disagreement about how something is to be done, we don’t share that in front of the children. We discuss it alone. We share each other’s views. Then when we speak to the children, we speak to them as one.”
Tony learned his communication skills from his own family. “We never fight,” he says of his extended family. “We listen to each other’s views. We may not agree with each other. But instead of getting angry, my father will say, ‘Did you look at it this way?’ and then ask you to consider your opinion from another point of view.” Dovolani additionally shares that he and his wife rely on the comfort and support of extended family that live nearby in New York. But the most important relationship, Dovolani feels, in raising children is for parents to be supportive of one another. “It takes a team,” he says. Dovolani will soon appear on the TV talk show “The Doctors” to share his views about parenting.
More About Kathy Ireland:
When former supermodel Kathy Ireland, now 47, ended her famous career at 27 or 28, she was anxious to begin her own business.
“I had tried all throughout my modeling career to start my own business, “ says Ireland, who is founder and owner of the brand Kathy Ireland Home and Kathy Ireland Jewelry, both part of the multi-product marketing site KathyIreland.com. “But I kept failing. I tried one business after the other, and it failed.”
“When I ended my [modeling] career, I could dedicate myself to the business,” says Ireland, whose first success in launching the Kathy Ireland brand came in the design of socks for women. “I was turned down time after time,” says Ireland. “They told me I was too dumb to do this, that this wasn’t the right product, that I didn’t know what I was doing, why did they need me, I heard everything. Then I hit my millionth sale in socks…a simple item that women need. Women bought it. I knew I had something.”
What Ireland found was that it was her connection with women, and her deep understanding of their needs as a working mother and wife herself that helped build her success, she says.
“KathyIreland.com is dedicated to finding solutions for the busy Mom,” says Ireland, who has more than 15,000 products to service her customer. “I listen to her, to my customer. She knows what she wants. She communicates to me what she wants, and I respond.”
Ireland reads through emails she receives daily from mothers like herself, who often manage a career, a family and marriage. She penned a book released in 2009, “Real Solutions for Busy Moms; Your Guide to Success and Sanity,” to provide guidance to a population of women whose daily schedules are often packed full of work, children and maintaining a home. “It is heroic for a woman to make it into a store,” says Ireland of most mothers’ busy schedules, “I want them to have a wonderful experience when they do.”
Ireland says she began her business career as a child growing up in Santa Barbara with her sister, Mary. The two would gather rocks, paint them and sell them at a price of 5 cents or 10 cents as paperweights or interesting sculpture pieces. Ireland says her sister made more money by selling her rocks at a higher price, but her own artfully painted rocks were more creatively designed with painted flowers and rainbows. For years, she says, her grandmother kept one of her painted rocks in her purse as a weapon should she be approached by unwanted strangers. “That taught me a lesson in quality,” says Ireland. “That people will hold onto things that are well-designed of a high quality.”
Her own jewelry line, produced by Elan Luxury Collections, includes diamond-studded hoops, ingeniously designed to hang straight without an uncomfortable swing effect, artful crucifixes, dinner rings and a variety of bangles and bridal items which provides Ireland’s customer with high quality items at a variety of price levels.
“At first, she, my customer, told me she wanted something that doesn’t have any fluff. Sometimes my customer tells me she needs a solution to traveling, and we find a solution for that. But now she’s ready for something more romantic with a little luxury, ” says Ireland. “We designed the jewelry line as a solution for people in love.”
Ireland says her days as an entrepreneur for KathyIreland.com vary. “Sometimes it’s about design, sometimes it’s about human resources, sometimes it’s about distribution,” says Ireland, who worked to discern her own strengths and weaknesses in building her business. “I have strengths. I know what they are. I have my weaknesses too. They are many. So I built a business family to support the areas I was weak in and now I feel we have a very strong network. I have a very strong, supportive business family.”
Although Ireland, who gained notoriety for her appearances as the cover swimsuit model for Sports Illustrated is grateful for her modeling career, it’s business that has always been her passion. “When you have a passion for something, it’s not work,” she says.