Saturday, 30 Sep 2023

Justin Hartley Is Struggling with His Daughter Bella, 15, Starting to Date: 'I Loved Her First'

Justin Hartley realizes that dating is a “natural” and “healthy” part of life once the teenage years hit, but it doesn’t make it any easier on him as a dad.

On Tuesday, the This Is Us star, 42, visited the set of The Tonight Show and dished to Jimmy Fallon about his conflicting (yet undeniably uncomfortable) feelings surrounding daughter Isabella‘s romantic pursuits.

“She’s wonderful, but she’s 15 now — 15 going on, like, 50 — and she’s dating a little bit. And man, I just want to crawl into a hole and die,” Hartley joked. “I know it’s a natural thing, I know it’s a healthy thing. She’s wonderful, she’s sweet, she’s responsible, she’s great. She’s earned the trust.”

“But I hate it. I hate all of it,” admitted the father of one. “I’ve never loathed anything more in my life. ‘Cause I loved her first, man! You know what I mean?”

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Justin Hartley (L) and daughter Bella
Justin Hartley (L) and Jimmy Fallon

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“There hasn’t been one guy [where you’ve said], ‘Okay, maybe he’s cool’?” asked Fallon, 45, who’s a dad himself to two daughters: 4½-year-old Frances Cole and her big sister Winnie Rose, 6.

“Well, uh, no,” Hartley responded flatly, the audience laughing. “Not even close, man. Not even close.”

“I have yet to meet, like, me, right?” he explained, joking, “When I meet me, that’s the guy.”

Justin Hartley (R) and daughter Bella

Hartley has been open in the past about how his daughter has seemingly grown up so quickly, telling PEOPLE in August 2018 that he couldn’t believe he was a parent of a soon-to-be high school student.

“Unbelievable, right? It is a shock because I remember feeling like I woke up and she was 10. Then I looked at her again and she was 14,” the actor said at the time.

“She’s perfect. I got so lucky. She gets straight As, she’s kind to people, she’s nice, she listens to people. She has her own opinions about things, she’s motivated, she’s driven, she’s smart,” Hartley raved proudly.

“She’s got pretty much everything. I don’t know where she got it but she definitely has it and we’re very proud,” continued the star, who added that Bella “watches every episode” of her dad’s show.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on NBC.

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