Chuck Norris Says His Drunk Father ‘Would Explode in an Abusive Tirade’ Whenever He Made Noise as a Child
Chuck Norris may have been a good-natured internet punchline for a while, but before that, he was a martial arts legend. Aside from being one of the great martial artists of all time, he’s also been a TV and movie star as well. But behind Norris’s huge success in Hollywood lies a difficult past, including a tough upbringing. It informed how he views himself as a father today.
Norris may have had a fairy tale ending – he’s beloved and respected worldwide – but it didn’t come easy. Here’s the story of Norris’s tough childhood.
Chuck Norris faced many challenges growing up
According to Women Working, Norris’s father was an alcoholic. The family moved over 16 times before Norris turned 15. Reportedly, Norris’s father abandoned the family when the actor turned 10.
The silver lining of this was that it brought Norris and his mother, Wilma, closer together. Norris and his mom developed a tight bond over the years, and she was always loving and supportive to him. Norris said she always reassured him that he was on the right path:
“She influenced me spiritually and instilled in me a sense of responsibility that carried over in my later adult life. She always told me ‘God has plans for you,’ and I didn’t know what she meant. I think I do now.”
The impact of Chuck Norris’s father on him
Norris wrote a piece for WND detailing what he learned from his father. He talked about his father’s alcoholism, and why his father’s alcohol abuse made life so difficult:
“Growing up, my most difficult and confusing relationship was with my father. My father abandoned his role as a servant-leader, model and mentor, dodging his duties and authority by drinking himself into a constant stupor. As a result, he failed to reflect a shadow of the Almighty’s image to his children, something I believe is the highest calling of every father.”
He also said that his father would get drunk and “the littlest things sent him into a rage. Even if he heard the water running while suffering from a hangover, he would explode in an abusive tirade.” This no doubt took a toll on the young Norris and the rest of his family.
Norris said the biggest lesson he learned from his father was that Norris learned how to “manage power from how he abused it.” Norris is far from a saint himself, even claiming that “I’ve lived out my own fatherhood failures, too. I carried on certain family curses that would later haunt me.” But the difference is that Norris is aware of his shortcomings, and has pledged to be better.
He vowed to be different from his father
On his way to becoming a good father, Chuck Norris became rather accomplished as a martial artist and an actor. The actor Steve McQueen talked him into trying acting. He starred in films like Wrecking Crew.
He also filmed a famous fight scene across from another martial arts legend, Bruce Lee, in The Way of the Dragon. Later, he’d headline the popular TV series Walker: Texas Ranger for many years. He also showed his sense of humor, spoofing his own image by appearing in the comedy Dodgeball.
While Norris has plenty of great roles under his belt, it’s a good bet that he’d argue his greatest role is that of a father. While Norris didn’t have the best father growing up, his father did him the service of setting an example of how not to be. It’s clear Norris has taken that lesson to heart.
Norris hasn’t been perfect – he had an extramarital affair in his first marriage, according to Tenterfield Star, that led to a daughter – but he hasn’t claimed to be. He’s also been there for his children. Norris said that “the sin that resulted in my daughter turned out to be a blessing. I can’t imagine my life without her and her children, my three grandchildren.”
It’s clear Norris doesn’t let his past define him – flaws and all.