‘This Is Us’ Star Chris Sullivan Says the Show Taught Him A Very Important Lesson About Fatherhood

Chris Sullivan is everyone’s favorite jokester on NBC’s This Is Us. Season 4 of the hit drama put his character, Toby Damon, in the hot seat with his wife, Kate (Chrissy Metz). However, there are a few takeaways Sullivan credits to Toby’s recent journey. Here’s what he said.

Chris Sullivan is about to be a father for the first time, just like Toby on ‘This Is Us’

Chris Sullivan
Chris Sullivan attends HFPA And THR Golden Globe Ambassador Party at Catch LA | Leon Bennett/WireImage

Not even one month ago, Chris Sullivan announced to the world via his Instagram page that he and his wife of 10 years, Rachel Reichard, are having their first child — a baby boy.

The This Is Us star and short film producer will have their hands full later this year. For now, Sullivan’s enjoying all that’s come with pre-parenting in the most “Sully” way possible.

Through a series of on-the-nose photos, Sullivan’s gender reveal included photos of phallic-shaped objects. Meanwhile, Reichard mentioned her love of naps, the search for a doula, and plenty of self-care.

Regardless of what’s ahead, Sullivan’s pouring himself into work. There he claims he’s learning a few important lessons he’ll carry into fatherhood.

What lesson did ‘This Is Us’ teach Sullivan?

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In four seasons of playing Toby on This Is Us, Sullivan picked up a few things that may come in handy in the near future. During a recent segment on The Talk, Sullivan said he learned how to be a good, present father, even when you may not feel all that connected in the beginning.

“Sometimes that magic isn’t there right away. Anxiety, fear, and a hard time bonding with the child and the challenges are worth talking about,” he said.

“To let people know they’re not alone in those things…it’s all part of the process. It’s nice to be able to talk about that stuff through my character.”

As a husband and father of a visually-impaired baby, “being a good dad” become a common practice. Having Toby attempt to bond with Jack through an incredibly uncomfortable time is a good reminder that parenting isn’t always easy, and it’s OK to talk about it. That aside, Sullivan’s also learning how to communicate better (though Toby’s lack of communication).

With the long hours This Is Us stars log each day, Sullivan gets a lot of practice holding the twin actors that play baby Jack: Weldon “Wells” Barnes and Poppy Barnes. Whether the adorable babies are crying or in need of entertainment, the role helps Sullivan prepare for the real thing.

Here’s how Sullivan and Toby Damon’s worlds intersect

In past interviews, Sullivan’s commented on intersecting traits between him and Toby. They’re both funny with a unique sense of fashion. Both have had bouts of depression. And both have now used the same makeup artist.

In a recent Instagram post, Sullivan posted a series of photos from his first TV pilot 10 years ago in which he described as playing “a member of the Russian Mob engaged in bathhouse fisticuffs. (direct Eastern Promises ripoff.”

The same makeup artist, James Mackinnon, worked on the set of This Is Us recently, bridging Sullivan’s multiple worlds. It’s a small world.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.