Q&A with Nathaniel
August 18, 2006

JS: Congratulations on your marriage!

NM: Thank you very much.

JS: Have you been to Brazil yet?

NM: Not yet, we’ve been working on getting time off. I put in a vacation request and as everybody pretty much knows, I have not worked this summer. I had two shows in July, and my wife didn’t have her green card, so when I had the time, there was no money and she didn’t have permission. We had to wait for the green card for her to be able to leave. So she’s getting the green card September 7th, and now I have work, which means that there will be money, but time is really impossible.

I went in and requested a vacation, which I’ve never done before, it’s the first one in four years and they said “Sorry, we just can’t do it.” But what they were good enough to do is sandwich my taping… basically they worked me early on Wednesday, so I can leave on Wednesday and I have Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and then Monday I have to get on a plane and come back, so that will give me enough time.

My stepdaughter is having heart problems. She has a hole in her heart that never closed, which they discovered recently when she started passing out. The oxygenated and un-oxygenated bloods are mixing, which is not good. So I’m in the process of dealing with our government and trying to get them to not only get her a green card, which will take six months, and she doesn’t have six months to wait, passing out again and again. And also in Brazil, our first problem is their socialized medicine says she has to wait eight or nine months for heart surgery, and she doesn’t have nine months to wait. The second problem is that, in Brazil, they don’t use our state-of-the-art surgical procedures, so fixing this will involve ripping her chest from stem to stern, which will make her recovery period at least three months or so, and will leave a huge scar on a thirteen-year-old girl’s chest, which is completely unnecessary.

So as I put in an application for her green card, I’m petitioning the State Department for a humanitarian visa to get her here and have the surgery. Here the surgeon will enter either through the armpit, or they go in through an artery in the neck and laser out the scar tissue, suture up the hole, put her on medication to keep the heart rate low while it’s healing, but the difference is four weeks of recovery, as opposed to three or four months. And it’s really a great concern for me because she’s thirteen, she’s a wonderful little girl and not only do we need her here for my wife, but also because she needs this surgery. Right now that’s what we’re working on.

So that’s why the show was good enough to work with me. When they thought it was a pleasure vacation, they weren’t into it, but when I explained to Frank Valentini, the Executive Producer, what the situation was, he was really good and said “Okay, I’m going to try and work the magic. I can’t give you too many days, but I’ll do what I can,” which I so appreciated. So now I’ll be able to get off the plane on Thursday morning and appear at the US Consulate. The thing is, I have to petition the State Department here, but they want me to appear there, in Brazil, to complete the paperwork. So I’ll be at the Consulate Thursday and Friday, and then of course all the days I’m there I’ll be meeting the family. So it was incredibly good of ABC to make this happen.

JS: Speaking of your stepdaughter, does the prospect of being the stepfather to a teenager scare you at all?

NM: Absolutely not. She’s a wonderful girl. My wife has done an unbelievable job of raising her. Of course there’s going to be thirteen-year-old stuff, but you know, sometimes I feel like I’m still thirteen, and I can kind of think on that level. I try to keep my mind young, and sometimes when she starts to drive my wife a little crazy, I can say “Come on, babe, she’s thirteen. That’s what thirteen-year-old girls do.” She’s wonderful. I’m not really worried too much about us getting along. The one thing I am worried about is that she’s gorgeous. Obviously, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. I’m going to have to buy a couple of large firearms…

JS: (Laughing) So you’ve changed your views on gun control?

NM: Now that I have a teenage daughter, absolutely! (Laughing) No, I will be the enforcer though. I really think this could be a problem, though. One day, my wife was at work and Julie was here, just sitting on the couch working on the computer. A couple of buddies of mine came over, and they knew that my wife was Brazilian and that her English was not great at the time, so she would tend to just sit quietly in groups. So Julie was just sitting quietly typing on the computer when I said to my buddy that my wife was at work. He said, “What do you mean she’s at work? Who’s that over there?” I said, “Um… that’s her daughter.” And he was just shocked. She’s taller than her mother, and like I said, people will die. (Laughing).

It’s also nice that she’s thirteen, because I have a son who is four years old, and eventually, hopefully, he’ll be spending a lot of time with us. Family is nice for me, I like that, especially because with my son, I don’t get to spend the time that I’d like with him, mainly due to the fact that he lives in Canada. And if I don’t get to really be there and be a parent to my son, which kills me, I get to channel that energy of being a father and put it somewhere. They are both great kids. When he’s here, she’ll be a great big sister. She’s wonderful with babies. I’ve seen her with several children and she just really likes little kids. So I’m not too worried about it. I’m actually pretty excited about it. I’ll be happy when we get her here. That’s kind of my one big mission right now, making sure she gets here as quickly as possible.



To see pictures of Nathaniel & Rita's family click here: Family