If Terry Crews looks convincing as an embattled step-parent in TNT’s June 2 debuting “Are We There Yet?” it could be because the NFL veteran-turned-actor knows the territory.
“There’s a lot of similarities to my own life. My wife was a single mother when I met her,” he tells us. “It was one of those things, an instant family right off. Her daughter was two years old, and it was ‘No, I don’t like you. I want Mommy.’ I had to deal with that all the time. You have to love the kids, but the kids don’t love you. You have to earn their trust. It doesn’t happen overnight.”
As fans of Crews’ reality show, “The Family Crews,” know, his step-daughter is now 22 and pregnant, and Crews and his wife also have three more daughters and a son, ranging in age from 18 to three. The show begins filming its second season this month.
“I was petrified, so many things could have gone wrong,” he recalls, speaking of the BET offering that follows the doings at his high-energy household. “We took a risk — What if America doesn’t like me? What if America doesn’t like my wife or my kids? But the opposite happened and I’m so happy.”
Crews looks like a natural to take over the role of the harassed yet good-hearted sudden father that Ice Cube brought to life in two big-screen “Are We There Yet?” hits. Still, having the rapper/actor on the scene as executive producer and costar might seem nerve-wracking. Crews says he welcomes the star’s presence on the series. “It was like when I did ‘The Longest Yard’ in 2005 — having Burt Reynolds from the original movie in the new one validated the whole thing.” Plus, Ice Cube put him at ease, he says. “He said, ‘I don’t want you to feel like you have to be me.’ He was just so cool about it.”
As for his wife’s feelings about him playing a sitcom stepfather? “She loves it,” says Crews, the former “Everybody Hates Chris” father, whose latest film is Sylvester Stallone’s August release “The Expendables” action movie. He adds, “There aren’t that many shows the family can enjoy together.”