Celeb dad Max Loong: Meeting my son was the best day of my life

The actor and new dad reckons fatherhood has been everything it’s been made out to be ― and much more!

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Actor-host Max Loong, 37, is no stranger on and off the air. Best known for his juicy role on local family drama Lion Mums, the Swiss-Chinese plays Richard Lee, a philandering husband.

Lest you mistake real for reel life, Max sets the record straight immediately ― he’s nothing like the character he plays, thank you very much. In fact, he found it challenging initially to play an unhappily married man on screen, since his life is quite the opposite.

“Richard is a fun character to play. I enjoy playing these kinds of roles because they offer challenges. However, being in a happy relationship myself, I had to find a darker place to play a bad guy,” notes Max, who is married to actress-producer Sepideh Haftgoli, 36. “So, I was delighted to hear the feedback from fans of the show ― that Richard came across as a bad, bad husband.”

The seasoned actor also had to flex his acting chops when playing a doting dad, since he wasn’t one then. He admits having to “dig deep” to find the father in him.

Lion Mums was the first time I played a married man with children,” explains Max. “There were definitely moments while playing Richard, where I felt excited that I as Max Loong, will start a family of my own soon.”

It [fatherhood] has been such an eye opening experience and it truly gives life a whole new purpose.”

This is exactly what he did. Shortly after the couple tied the know in 2016, the good-looking pair fell pregnant. Their son, Ryden Lynx Loong ― affectionately known as “button eyes” ― was born on 5 June 2017.

Before fatherhood beckoned, the sought-after host, who has been bringing Formula One racing action live from the tracks, also ventured into hospitality by opening Hidden Hills Villas resort in Bali and Supperclub, a members-only Los Angeles nightclub.

So, how much does his real-life role as a dad match up to his reel-life experience? SmartParents finds out more from the new dad

Congratulations on becoming a dad! How was Ryden’s birth?
It was an incredible experience ― we got lucky as it went by so fast. It took only four hours from the first contraction until birth. We arrived at the hospital when Sepideh was 10cm dilated and it took only 45 minutes from check-in to delivery!

Describe the moment you met Ryden.
It was the best day of my life. To hold him for the first time was a magical moment. A feeling I have never felt before… Pure love.

Who does Ryden look more like now?
You’re asking the wrong person ― I never see big resemblance between babies and their parents! So far, family members and friends say from his nose up he looks like mummy and from his nose down like daddy. One thing is for sure, his button eyes are from his mummy.

So, how has fatherhood been so far?
It’s been such an eye-opening experience and it truly gives life a whole new purpose. It’s been incredible watching Ryden grow, learn and change every day. He is a bundle of joy. For me, it’s been also amazing, to simply stare at him for an hour and play with him. I don’t remember the last time I completely shut off and didn’t do anything for an hour.