Josh Dallas: What I Remember

For this column, we interview some of our favorite dads about the parenting moments that stand out in their minds, and a few things they’ve learned along the way.

This week’s LEO Dad: Louisville native Josh Dallas. The Manifest actor shares two sons, ages 5 and 7, with wife and former Once Upon a Time co-star Ginnifer Goodwin. Below, he talks about handling goodbyes, little white lies, and why anything goes on the plane.

Manifest is available to stream now on Netflix.

My wife and I have a bad habit of bailing early on vacations because WE get homesick. The first time this happened, we packed our entire lives into my car and drove our two boys, then ages 3 and 5, several hours to a nearish beach town. We were meant to stay five nights; we made it 24 hours. When we were leaving, our eldest asked why we were going so soon, and either Ginny or I blatantly lied and said, “I know it FEELS like we got here yesterday, but that’s cause we had SO MUCH FUN. Time flew! We’ve been gone almost a week!”

Ginny and I used to have an impossible time getting out of the house for work or a date. The kids would cry. We would be sad. We would all talk about how we would rather be together. I don’t remember how Ginny and I realized we weren’t doing ourselves any favors, but moreover, we realized we weren’t setting a good example. So we started telling the boys when leaving for filming, “We love you, and we are so lucky that we also love what we do for work. If you work hard enough, you can have a job you love, too.” And when we go out on a date, we say, “We love each other. And when you grow up, you can have a best friend whom you love, too. It’s important that we take care of ourselves by having some grown-up time. And, by the way, THAT IS HOW WE MADE YOU!” Somehow, all of this worked. 

I let my kids drive the car into our driveway. My wife disagrees that they are old enough to do this. They’re 5 and 7!

We feel all bets are off on planes. Whatever rules we have about things like sugar and screen time don’t apply, for the benefit of all, on planes. More cookies? You got it! Our parental iPads become gaming devices—replete with headphones, of course. I once flew them across the country by myself and spent two layovers having them “chase me” to bathrooms across the terminals to expend some energy. And the kids were brilliant! They were polite to others, quiet, and preoccupied on the flights. I actually read a book and felt the whole operation was a success until I was heading to baggage claim and a woman walking behind us told her companions with disgust, “THAT is the dad who let his kids play on technology the ENTIRE flight.” I still regret that I did not turn around and say, “Ma’am, you are WELCOME.”



As Ben Stone in Netflix’s Manifest, season 4


As Fandral in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor

As David Nolan in ABC’s Once Upon a Time

As Ben Stone in NBC’s Manifest