Sterling K. Brown doesn’t shy away from having “those conversations” with his kids.
Sitting down with PEOPLE and EW Editorial Director Jess Cagle in the latest episode of The Jess Cagle Interview (streaming now on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network), the This Is Us star opened up about raising kids in the modern world.
“I lived in St. Louis, Missouri, and now my kids are growing up in Los Angeles, so that’s culturally very different,” the 41-year-old father of two said.
- Watch the full episode of The Jess Cagle Interview with Sterling K. Brown on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network! Download the PEN app on your favorite device or go to PEOPLE.com/PEN.
The former American Crime Story star, who plays Randall Pearson on NBC’s breakout drama, pointed out some key differences between his childhood in the “very conservative” Midwest and the life his kids have now.
“I have gay people in my family who weren’t able to openly discuss homosexuality and I feel like that’s shifted, especially here on the coast,” he explained.
This more open environment, Brown said, contributes to “conversations with my son all the time.” One of the most powerful ones came after his son saw Caitlyn Jenner‘s legendary “Call Me Caitlyn” cover of Vanity Fair.
“He asked me one time … he saw the cover of Vanity Fair and he goes, ‘Daddy, is that a man or a woman?’ I said, ‘Good question. That’s a woman who used to be a man.’ And he goes, ‘How’s that work?’ I was like, ‘I don’t have all of the information, but she felt like she was a woman, but she was in a man’s body, but now she gets to be a woman.’ And he goes, ‘Am I woman?’ I said, ‘I don’t think so. I think you’re a guy.’ ”
The conversation then shifted to one “of homosexuality.”
Brown continued: “He was like, ‘Well, can I marry you?’ I said, ‘That’s very sweet. I appreciate that, buddy. But I’m already married to mom and I’m not gay, so it wouldn’t work out between us.’ ”
Added Brown of his relationship with his son, “We have those conversations. My mom didn’t have those conversations with me. It was a taboo thing that just wasn’t talked about.”
Watch Sterling K. Brown’s full episode of The Jess Cagle Interview before season 2 of This Is Us premieres Sept. 26 on NBC.
—With LIAM BERRY