By Breeanna Hare
Actor Jason Patric is known for being press shy, but the star isn't staying quiet about his tense custody dispute with former girlfriend Danielle Schreiber.
The actor told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day" on Monday that it's been 23 weeks since he's last seen Gus, the 3-year-old boy who was born after Schreiber was inseminated with Patric's sperm in 2009.
Patric has said he gave his sperm intending to raise the child with Schreiber, and the actor has used financial support and photographs with Gus to prove his involvement as a father.
Yet his ex disagrees, telling Katie Couric's talk show, "Katie," that Patric never intended to be a father but a sperm donor. In a statement to the media, Schreiber has pointed to a letter in which Patric said he wasn't ready to be a dad and that he asked to be left off the boy's birth certificate.
That letter "is really a breakup letter, a love letter of frustration," Patric said Monday. "We tried to have kids for years; she had a very bad miscarriage. You do all those things and you watch how the nature of the relationship changes with that pressure and you doubt everything. You doubt yourself; I talk about my life, my career, everything in that letter, and can one be a father. But certainly I wanted to."
As far as leaving his name off the birth certificate, Patric said he was being overprotective of his first child and was attempting to give Gus anonymity to protect him.
Regardless, a judge ruled in Schreiber's favor in February as the unmarried couple never signed a contract before conception that identified Patric as Gus' father.
"It's beyond devastating," Patric said. "I want to make sure this never happens to anyone else."
Patric has inadvertently become a famous face for a heated debate over whether sperm donors should be allowed to sue for parental rights. Under California law, a man who donates sperm to a woman he's not married to isn't recognized as the resulting child's biological father without a contract before conception. A new bill is seeking to change the law.
"This law is something that her lawyers found two months into our separation, and just perverted it and slipped me into it," Patric said Monday. "I was as shocked as can be when they hit me with those papers."
The actor said that when his relationship with Schreiber ended they consulted with a mediator. "The word donor was never raised," he said.
Instead of a contract, Patric said they signed an "intended parent" form when they opted to do intrauterine insemination. To him, that meant he intended "to parent this child."
"The word parent means to beget, birth, nourish or raise a child. So if I'm signing, 'Jason Patric intends to parent,' and Danielle Schreiber's signing intended parent next to me, not only are we the parents, but she's confirming that she wants to raise the child with me," Patric said. "(The judge) misinterpreted this. And that's the whole point of this bill. ... It's not really a new law, it's a clarification of the law's original intent. It was never meant to stop someone who just wasn't married and had to use (in vitro fertilization) from proving he's a father in another way."
As the legislation has been interpreted, Patric continued, "I could have been with Danielle Schreiber for 16 years, and she could've met someone tomorrow and taken my child away and I would've had no recourse whatsoever. As I said, it's a clarification of something that was always meant to be. This is a new age, different relationships; people are having children later, so many people are availing themselves to this kind of reproductive technology, that this has far-reaching implications way beyond me."
But whatever happens with the political battle, Patric said his fight is focused on Gus.
"He's my son. And I'm his father and always have been," he said. "It's really about him. .... His father is gone now, and he has absolutely no idea what happened. You cannot do that to a child. People break up, they break up bad. I wasn't a perfect boyfriend, but I was a good, committed father all the time. You cannot use a child as a pawn, and we have laws for married people that prevent that. But unmarried people in this situation, I fell into a quirk. ... Relationships end (badly), and someone is now using a situation to hurt me, but it hurts the child."
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