Willie Garson gave joy to Sex and the City fans across the world, but the life he changed the most was his beloved adopted son Nathen’s.
As we reported, the star died on Tuesday afternoon at the age of 57 following a battle with pancreatic cancer. At the time of his death, he was surrounded by family — which wasn’t complete until Garson adopted Nathen a little over ten years ago.
Related: Willie Garson Knew — His Final Tweet Was A Message To Us All
While the actor had always hoped to find the woman of his dreams and start a family, he realized around 2005 that he mainly just wanted to become a father. He previously told People:
“I just reached a point of ‘What am I waiting for?’ I don’t care if I ever get married, but if I never have a kid?”
So he contacted the Alliance for Children’s Rights, a kids’ advocacy group in El Lay, and the Westside Children’s Center, who guided him through the adoption process. Three years later, Garson met a lively 7-year-old while attending a Los Angeles adoption fair. He recalled of seeing Nathen and immediately falling “in love”:
“He was balancing himself on a curb, and I was like, ‘That’s my kid.’ I knew it right then.”
Over the next year, the New Jersey native underwent countless screenings and paperwork. Nathen moved into Garson’s home in February 2009, and the boy was officially deemed the actor’s son in January 2010.
When the adoption was finalized, the father-son duo celebrated at iconic Hollywood eatery Musso & Frank Grill. Garson recalled:
“We wore suits and we split a steak, and Manny the waiter did magic tricks.”
For his part, Nathen loved his father just as much as Garson loved him. When he was in third grade, the boy told People:
“I like to play with Willie on the Wii and give him kisses and hugs. He is the best dad ever.”
In People’s 2014 Father’s Day special, Garson revealed being a father to Nathen was a continuously rewarding experience. He shared:
“Nathen has made me want to branch out and do more. When I first became a dad to Nathen, everything had such newness to it. But we both wanted this adoption, and we worked things out together because we are partners in this. I don’t know what I would have done with a newborn… But I do wish I’d met him sooner, because I enjoy him so much.”
“His sense of humor is a carbon copy of mine. I have to be careful about some things I say, because I will hear it right back at me an hour later. He’s like a sponge… As he becomes a teen, it’s going to be like, ‘Dad, leave me alone!’ For now he doesn’t mind me being around.”
That didn’t seem to be the case as Nathen got older, though. After news of Garson’s death broke on Tuesday, the teen shared a gun-wrenching tribute to his dad on Instagram, calling him “the toughest and funniest and smartest person I’ve known.” Alongside a strong of photos of Garson, Nathen wrote:
“I love you so much papa. Rest In Peace and I’m so glad you got to share all your adventures with me and were able to accomplish so much… I will always love you, but I think it’s time for you to go on an adventure of your own. You’ll always be with me. Love you more than you will ever know and I’m glad you can be at peace now. You always were the toughest and funniest and smartest person I’ve known. I’m glad you shared you’re [sic] love with me. I’ll never forget it or lose it .”
So heartbreaking… but at least these two got to have each other for a handful of wonderful years. See his full tribute (below).
Our hearts go out to Nathen and all of Willie’s loved ones at this devastating time.
[Image via FayesVision/WENN]