Here’s Why ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ Star Scott Bakula Prefers His Privacy, Thank You Very Much

Fans may still be reeling from the death of beloved NCIS: New Orleans character, Christopher LaSalle, but it’s Scott Bakula’s character, Dwayne Pride, who’s made sure the show goes on. The notoriously private actor may land big ratings for obvious reasons, but his personal life is a little more mysterious.

Scott Bakula doesn’t do a lot of interviews for this reason

Scott Bakula filming in New York City
Scott Bakula is seen on August 16, 2019, in New York City | Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Not all celebrities welcome the fame that comes with doing something they love, such as acting. Bakula, who’s been part of the entertainment history since the mid-’80s, has learned a lot of lessons the hard way in his nearly four-decade career.

Bakula’s first big long-running role came in the form of Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap, where he time-hopped before it became as popular as it is now.

The show made “Bakula” a household name, catapulting him into a variety of roles on shows like Murphy Brown, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and Star Trek: Enterprise.

All the accolades, as wonderful as they are, never sat well with Bakula. While he loves acting for a living, it’s the fame he’s not a fan of.

“Yeah, for a hundred million years People magazine wanted to do interviews with me at my home,” he previously told CBS News. “And I said, ‘I can’t, I can’t.’ Where do you stop?”

In some interviews, he invites the journalist near his home, not into it so as not to cross the boundary of keeping his private life private.

The actor commutes from New Orleans back home to Los Angeles every weekend to be with his second wife, Chelsea Field, and his four children (two he had with Field).

When CBS News correspondent, Lee Cowan, noted Bakula’s success maybe because his name stays out of tabloids, Bakula replied, “That’s what’s wrong with my career! Actually, you summed it up in one sentence.”

His marriage and family come first

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The Midwestern boy (St. Louis) not brought up in the business said his parents were hard-working, but that he grew up “insulated.” The acting bug bit him while in church and it eventually led him to Broadway where he earned a Tony nomination for his work in Romance/Romance.

“I went to New York to be an actor and hope that I could do stage work and be on Broadway and do musicals,” he said. “I just had to go to New York and see if I could make it.”

However, after trading Broadway for Hollywood lights, Bakula soon found himself struggling to navigate family life with his first wife, Krista Neumann, and their two kids.

At the time, his endless hours on Quantum Leap meant he missed out on a lot of things, including his daughter’s formative years. After divorcing and marrying Field sometime later, he made a few changes in the way he lives and works.

“I had it put in my contract that I would be done every Wednesday at 6 so I could be home for dinner. And I made time to coach my sons’ soccer and baseball teams,” he told People in 2015.

“We work hard to stay present in the relationship,” he continued. “Chelsea is amazingly present and has taught me a lot about relationships and spirituality. I feel incredibly lucky to have the career and family I do.”

The two maintain their relationship by holding their privacy close, and every now and then, working alongside one another. Field plays the recurring role of Rita Devereaux on NCIS: New Orleans.

Does Bakula actually play piano on ‘NCIS: New Orleans’?

If you’ve ever wondered whether or not Bakula is actually playing the piano on the show, the answer is a resounding yes.

“I’m not as good as I’d like to be,” he told CBS News. “I’m a hack, you know? Especially in New Orleans!”

He said it makes the show “a little different, a little unique, a little special, adding, “and it makes the world a better place.”

He cited the history of the city as a big inspiration to the show, and himself. As for how he manages to keep going week after week while maintaining a level of obscurity, he credits reinventing himself.

“I’ve tried to do different things and I think that’s kind of kept me alive and vital,” he said. “For however I present myself, I guess, and people’s perception of me, I don’t seem to be stuck in any kind of creative rut, and I’m grateful for that — [and for] people giving me the chance to do that.”

Fans of Bakula’s work have come to expect the way he goes about balancing his acting career and personal life. With his years of experience and level of success, maybe we could all learn from it.