Melissa Joan Hart: 'There Is Such a Weird Fascination With Celebrity Kids'


Former “Melissa and Joey” star Melissa Joan Hart has three sons —Mason 9, Brady, 7, and Tucker, 2— therefore, she knows a lot about what boys like (and don’t like) to wear. So it makes perfect sense that the actress has launched a new fashion company called King of Harts for boys ages 2 to 12. The line, which debuts Monday, features beachy, vintage-like clothing and is a labor of love with Mark Wilkerson, her husband of 12 years. “This line is my baby and something I’ve wanted to create since my children were young,” Hart tells Yahoo Parenting. The items vary from $32 to $88 and are available for purchase at speciality boutiques nationwide and online. In an exclusive interview, Hart opens up to Yahoo Parenting about raising a house full of boys, the “weird fascination” with celeb kids, and their normal life in Connecticut. 

Becoming a fashion designer: My husband and I had trouble finding boys’ clothing that we liked, especially T-shirts, which all had licensed characters on them. I wanted my kids to look different. We have 12 pieces in our first line for King of Harts — graphic shirts, army coats, denim —and we just previewed our fall line at the trade show Playground in Las Vegas. We take inspiration from our boys — for example, my oldest son is having a fit about jeans right now. He refuses to wear them so we made him a cargo camouflage pant. My middle son insists on wearing all green and with my youngest, it’s red. So we design everything and let them pick their favorites.

Protecting her children from the paparazzi: There is such a weird fascination with celebrity kids. [In the past] you didn’t know about Madonna or Paul Newman’s kids. I share everything on social media and [as a result] there is less interest in my personal life. When you try to hide, people are more interested. I also take my kids on the red carpet so they aren’t kept hidden but I have to bribe them with popcorn to do it. Would I be OK with my children being entertainers? Not this young. I did take one son on an audition to see what would happen. But I’m way too busy to be a stage mom. If they want to be in Hollywood, they have to finish school first — and we live in Connecticut. I won’t let [a job] direct our family.

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Being a “normal” child star: I went through a party phase when I was young and single. But I outgrew that because I don’t like feeling hungover. I was also raised in New York City with parents who were role models. When I was on ‘Clarissa Explains It All,’ we shot in Orlando and I wasn’t a celebrity then; I was a working actor. I became a star when I got the job on ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ and was exposed to Hollywood. But I still fly coach!

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Raising three boys: I grew up with sisters so I had to realign my thinking as a mom of boys. As a kid, I loved climbing trees, snowboarding, and going frog hunting so I don’t know what I would do with daughters. The mother-daughter relationship is so complicated and boys are more simple. As a friend said to me, ‘With a boy you deal with one penis and with a girl you deal with many penises.’

Trying to do it all: Moms have to take care of themselves — get a baby sitter, read a book. I didn’t have a nanny with my first son because I stayed home and had the mindset of, ‘I didn’t have a baby for someone else to raise’ but I did have a sitter come to the house so I could work out. By the time I had my second son, I was shooting a movie and I needed the help. I actually found my nanny through Alex Trebek because my sister is best friends with his children. Another great resource for childcare is

Mom guilt: My husband calls me “Santa” because I spoil the kids. I do it because I see them less than he does — ‘Oh, you want a lollypop? OK!’ — it’s mom guilt, for sure. My husband has the iron fist. I wish I didn’t do it, but I’ll say to the kids, ‘Do you want me to call Daddy and tell him what you did?’ I always thought I’d be strict but I’m not. After 12 years of marriage, my husband and I back each other up [when it comes to discipline]. We also give the kids good and bad check marks, which we keep on the fridge. Time-outs don’t really work so we’ll take away the iPad or cancel playdates. And if the kids swear, they get their mouthes washed out with vinegar.

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