This past October, Cheyenne Jackson and husband Jason Landau welcomed twin daughter and son Ethan and Willow. Jackson says he was happy to find fellow gay dads in the entertainment business he could turn to for tips.
“I chatted with Ricky Martin when we were in our second trimester,” says Cheyenne Jackson. “He had lots of advice on twins, since he has first hand experience.”
Another role model was filmmaker Ira Sachs, who directed Jackson—along with John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, and Marisa Tomei—in Love Is Strange, a tender, criminally underseen 2014 feature about longterm gay relationships. (Available on streaming services including Amazon and YouTube).
“Ira has twins, too. And he is so wonderful.” says Jackson (Sachs and husband Boris Torres have five-year-olds).
Jackson explains that he and Landau had their children via surrogacy.
“We used a gestational surrogate and an egg donor and fertilized with his and my sperm. So one of the kids is his biologically, and one is mine.”
“I hadn’t really seen myself as the dad of twins,” admits Jackson. “But you’re encouraged at the fertility clinics to put in two embryos to up your chances of one pregnancy taking. You have to really be mentally ready for both to take, though, and for the reality of having two human beings to care for. It’s a 20% chance or something. And that’s what happened.”
“We tried just once, with two embryos and were so blessed to have both take. Now I can’t imagine anything else. People say to us, ‘Oh my god, how do you manage two?’ But its all we know, and honestly, one would seem strange at this point. It’s loud in our house, and we love it!”
Just now ending his six months of stay-at-home fatherhood, Jackson is starting production on a new television series, American Woman, set in the 1970s and co-starring Alicia Silverstone and Mena Suvari. And he’s gingerly dipping his toes back into live performance: a late March concert in Florida and his upcoming Feinstein’s at the Nikko booking are the only gigs currently on his schedule. Staying close to home and family is his highest priority.
Jackson and Landau even considering bringing the twins up to San Francisco for Jackson’s upcoming weekend gig at Feinstein’s at the Nikko. “We have a nanny who helps out when one of us can’t be home during the weekdays,” he explains, “but its just us at night and on the weekends. We love it that way. We want to be there for every single part of their lives. These first six months have already gone too quickly and I don’t want to miss a thing.”
“It’s all about my kids right now. And that’s exactly the way I want it. I’m sick of it being about me. It’s been about me for 40 years. They are much more interesting than me.”