Alec Baldwin and His Wife Hilaria Talk Parenting in the Age of Coronavirus … From Their Bathroom

“You want a stimulus package? My house is a stimulus package. We spend $500 billion on toys alone,” the actor jokes

March 25, 2020

Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria joined the Stern Show on Wednesday to fill Howard in on how their family is holding up in the age of the coronavirus. Like so many others across the nation, the Baldwins are self-isolating right now in the hopes of staying safe and curbing the spread of COVID-19. Alec’s storied career in entertainment boasts a multitude of accomplishments, but Howard wondered if any of those efforts compared to being quarantined at home with four energetic young children.

“How are you really doing and don’t sugarcoat it?” Howard asked.

“We are, you know, on the clock from the moment the kids get up in the morning to when we put them to bed at night, and we’re out trying to do things with them,” Alec admitted, later adding, “We don’t have a lot of time to think. We’re just, you know, doing what’s in front of us.”

They’re now preparing their kids for homeschooling, in addition to everything else. Joining the interview a little later, Hilaria revealed her husband has done quite a bit around the house since their quarantine began. He’s not just helping out with the kids, either.

“He’s very good at cleaning,” Hilaria said. “So, I cook and he’ll do most of the cleaning.”

Howard was shocked Alec is so involved with the chores, but as Hilaria described it his help was sometimes more trouble than it was worth. “He’s so obsessive about the cleaning it actually gets to be a little annoying—to the point where I like to do the cleaning and not have to deal with the complaining,” she explained. “It’s kind of like a double-edged sword.”

Either way, it seemed there was plenty of cleaning to be done. “This entire fucking house is a preschool,” Alec told Howard. “Every room has arrows and swords and ray guns and soccer balls and baskets filled with dinosaurs and car parts, rocket ships.”

“I wonder if [my wife] brought the virus to this country with all these Chinese-made fucking toys she brought here,” he joked. “You want a stimulus package? My house is a stimulus package. We spend $500 billion on toys alone.”

Howard was curious how Hilaria specifically has fared at home with Alec and the children. “I’m okay. I have my moments but I’m okay,” she said. “I’m just grateful that we’re healthy and we have a backyard.”

Hilaria’s family lives in Spain, one of the countries currently being ravaged the worst by COVID-19. “It’s really bad over there,” she said, explaining that watching what everyone has gone through in Europe has helped her and Alec prepare for what is yet to come in the United States.

During past visits, Howard has expressed his appreciation for Hilaria’s online yoga videos. On Wednesday, he celebrated them once again. “Hilaria, are you still doing your yoga videos?” he said. “I enjoy those.”

“I know you [do]. I did a little shout-out to you,” she responded. “Yeah, I’m trying.”

Unfortunately, the yoga videos are currently taking a backseat. “It’s hard. Like, I’m trying to figure out how to homeschool the kids,” she explained. “And our kids are so close together [in age] and they’re so little and they require a lot of handholding.”

The interview’s biggest surprise came when Howard learned Alec had been broadcasting all morning from the confines of his bathroom. Hilaria was the one to break the news. “He’s sitting backwards on the toilet,” she said.

“I’m sitting on the toilet reverse-cowboy style, as they say in porn,” Alec confirmed. “[Stern Show executive producer] Gary [Dell’Abate] told me not to be in my bedroom because the light was too low. He said when [Jimmy] Kimmel did the show he looked like Count Chocula. He looked like Al Lewis. He was Grandpa Munster.”

Howard was astonished. “Have you moved your bowels during this interview?” he asked.

“From the way he’s sitting that would be exceptional,” Hilaria said.

“That would be an art,” Alec agreed.

Hilaria Baldwin's Instagram posts of Alec while on the Stern Show Hilaria Baldwin’s Instagram posts of Alec while on the Stern Show Photo: Instagram

Despite transmitting from the toilet, the actor and his wife didn’t shy away from engaging in serious, coronavirus-related conversation. Both were dismayed by recent public rhetoric suggesting the health of Americans is less important than the health of the economy.

“Lives matter more than money. That’s really what it comes down to,” Hilaria said.

“Right,” Howard said. “That’s so true.”

Alec agreed, though he did worry the pandemic’s economic effect would be devastating. “We could really have a depression in this country. The economy could crash down,” he said at one point.

The noted philanthropist also believed many charities and non-profit organizations might go under because people struggling to pay their rent probably can’t afford to donate much money elsewhere. “There are arts-related institutions that will perish from this,” he told Howard. “They will die and they won’t come back.”

Howard wondered when and if the COVID-19 madness might ever start to subside. “I don’t see it going through the summer, myself,” Alec said, explaining he believes law enforcement might start taking more extreme measures to enforce self-quarantines.

“People have to behave themselves and stay home and take this seriously,” Hilaria added.

The burden of fixing this problem isn’t solely on the people, of course. Alec pointed out several government missteps during the handling of the pandemic, though he agreed with Howard that Governor Andrew Cuomo has done well by the state of New York. “Leadership, politically, is to convince people to do something that initially doesn’t seem like it’s in their interest,” Alec said. “And Cuomo has done an exemplary job in convincing people that there is a right way to go about this.”

Alec told Howard he doesn’t believe the federal government will suspend the general election in November, but he did concede the two parties might need to hold a “virtual convention” considering other public events like the Cannes Film Festival and the Summer Olympics have already been postponed if not altogether canceled.

As difficult as things may be in the world right now, Alec told Howard he and his wife have shielded their children from as much depressing news as possible. “No point in contaminating them with fear and so forth,” he told Howard. “We want them to be kids and enjoy their lives and enjoy their day and that’s it.”

Despite their best efforts, Hilaria said their children do still hear a lot about the coronavirus. “Kids are smart and they pick up more than you think,” she said. “But it’s interesting because they’re not stressed about it … as long as we don’t show that we’re stressed out about it.”

“But what do you tell them?” Howard wondered.

“You say, ‘Yeah, there’s a virus right now and Mommy and Daddy are doing absolutely everything to make sure we’re okay and that’s why we’re living differently,’” Hilaria explained.

Howard also wondered if being quarantined at home had any effect on Alec’s ongoing sobriety.

“Do I have a real thought about drinking or taking any kind of drugs? No, I’m beyond that,” Alec said. “I’ve been doing this for so long and I’m so much better off in my life without that.”

He acknowledged it must be harder for those still battling their demons. “The loss of meetings in that community for some people is very, very difficult,” he said, adding, “You want to go into a room where there’s no judgment. You can say exactly what’s on your mind and how you’re feeling … These 12-step programs are that safe haven.”

Support groups aren’t the only things getting canceled these days, either. Alec pointed out people are missing physical therapy appointments now—himself included. “I rehab my shoulders and rehab my hip—because I had hip replacement surgery—and I could feel my body getting wound tighter and tighter from not going,” he admitted. Thankfully, starting Wednesday, he said someone would be helping him work on his rehabilitation from home.