EXCLUSIVE: Harry Connick Jr. chats about raising three girls

The Australian Idol judge chats family, travelling Down Under and why his daughters will never be 'nepo babies'.
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When Harry Connick Jr. and his three daughters walk into WHO’s photo shoot on a sunny Sydney day straight from two early morning TV appearances, you could forgive them for being hungry, tired … maybe a little over it. But as they stroll in, there’s not a whiff of a complaint from the Grammy award-winning artist and his three girls, Georgia, Kate and Charlotte – with each of them going up to greet every single person on set.

WATCH: Harry Connick Jr. gives Australian Idol critique. Article continues after video.

“Hi, I’m Harry,” he says with a grin.

After more than three decades in the industry, the star needs no introduction. After chatting to his daughters, it likely won’t be long until they make a name for themselves as well.

“They’re what we dreamt they would be,” the 55-year-old gushes of his girls, whom he shares with wife of 28 years, Jill Goodacre.

“They’re brilliant, driven, really, really smart, creative women. And our lives have become exponentially greater as a result of the perspective we’ve gained from them.”

The family, who normally hail from upstate New York, have all been in Australia while Connick Jr. films Australian Idol.

Harry Connick Jr. is a judge on this season of Australian Idol. (Credit: Instagram/Channel Seven)

“All three of them have their own careers and doing their thing, but this kind of worked out perfectly … which is pretty rare,” he tells WHO of having his daughters with him Down Under.

“I don’t anticipate us being able to do that much. But we’re just enjoying every moment of it.”

The girls also seem to be loving it.

“It’s a dream come true this place,” Charlotte shares.

“I love the beach, so I’ve been there nearly every day.” Likewise for Georgia, who also travelled Down Under with her dad in October last year while he was filming the auditions for Idol.

“The restaurants are amazing. The food here is incredible,” she says.

“We want to get to do some hikes to explore nature more, too.”

It seems like the girls have since gotten to exploring! (Credit: Instagram)

While the Aussie lifestyle certainly seems to be agreeing with them, just from being in the Connick family’s company for a few hours, you get the sense that it’s spending time together that has been paramount.

“For me, it’s really like my family is first,” Connick Jr. explains.

“I’ve found for my career, for my music or acting or writing, whatever I’m doing … if that part of my life is in order, then if my family is in order, then everything kind of falls into place. It really is the priority for all five of us. We all have our own things and our own friends and our own careers, but it all comes back to this group of five of us and it’s just a good feeling.”

Back home in the States, the girls, unsurprisingly, have chosen quite creative career paths.

The eldest Georgia, 26, is a filmographer, Kate, 25, a model, actor and designer, and youngest Charlotte, 20, is a budding artist.

“It’s definitely in our blood,” says Charlotte.

Their father’s musical career began when he was just 10 years old, with the star venturing into acting in his 20s.

But despite his love of the arts, Connick Jr. has always let his daughters determine their own futures.

“The main thing for Jill and for me when they were little is to raise these smart, incredible women, and I really could care less what they choose [to do in life],” he explains.

“It’s like, if they date somebody … whoever they end up bringing home to marry is somebody that we’re going to fall in love with, because that’s who they love. So that’s how we roll.”

They’re a close-knit group of five. (Credit: Instagram)

The girls grew up with both parents in the spotlight – mum Jill is a former Victoria’s Secret model, something Georgia admits wasn’t always easy.

“It was difficult, I’m not going to lie and say it wasn’t … I think people can have a certain view on you before meeting,” she explains.

“But I think my parents have taught us so much. To treat people like they don’t know you at all, so you can give them the best version of yourself. And to treat everyone with respect and just hope that they can see us as we see ourselves.”

“I think too, my parents have set the bar so high that it’s like, ‘OK, I gotta work really, really hard to accomplish something because they’re such amazing mentors,’” adds Kate.

“So I’m really appreciative of that as well growing up and having them to look up to.”

Another downside of being the offspring of a celebrity is the inevitable “nepotism baby” term being bandied about. But Connick Jr. is adamant the girls are forging their own paths in life.

“They know that the combination of Jill and me is something that has led to a person that’s completely unique and that’s times three. Obviously, they’re aware of who they are, but they don’t use it,” he explains.

“The combination of Jill and me is something that has led to a person that’s completely unique and that’s times three.” (Credit: Instagram)

“Plus, I don’t think people are going to tolerate that, like Georgia is studying to be a cinematographer. I don’t care what her name is. If she can’t light something, she’s not going to work. Same for Kate’s acting … if they’re not any good that’s not gonna last. So they’re aware of that and that’s why they work so hard.”

It’s a work ethic they’ve clearly derived from their dad. Connick Jr. has released 26 albums of which he’s sold over 30 million records worldwide, starred in countless films and television shows (and hosted a talk show of his own), toured the globe several times over and won numerous accolades – three Grammys and two Emmys among them.

But despite his glitzy career, it’s clear that being a father is Connick Jr.’s proudest achievement by far. “The pride is immeasurable,” he agrees.

“Being here with these three women that I would admire, even if they weren’t my children … It’s hard to pick just a moment that makes me proud. It’s an arc … you just get exponentially prouder and more fulfilled as life goes on.”

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