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Cillian Murphy offers parenting advice to Barry Keoghan amid family heartache

The Oppenheimer actor is a father-of-two

Actors Cillian Murphy and Barry Keoghan attend the "DUNKIRK" New York premiere at AMC Lincoln Square IMAX on July 18, 2017 in New York City© Jim Spellman,Getty
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
January 15, 2024
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Cillian Murphy and Barry Keoghan are the stars of the moment now the 2024 award season is well underway. But the Irish actors, who were castmates in Christopher Nolan's 2017 war epic Dunkirk, have more in common than the film industry – they're also both dads, and it seems Oppenheimer star Cillian has been on hand to offer the 31-year-old Saltburn star some advice on being a parent.

Cillian is a father to two teenagers and so is the perfect person to offer some words of wisdom to Barry, who welcomed his son Brando with his ex-partner, Alyson Kierans, in 2022.

The Banshees of Inisherin actor was chatting to The Sunday Times Style Magazine at the end of 2023 when he revealed that Cillian and other famous faces had offered moral support, particularly as Barry grew up without a relationship with his own father. 

Barry Keoghan at the 81st Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.© Getty Images
Barry Keoghan grew up without a father and so turns to Cillian Murphy for advice on being a dad

Although he didn't specifically reveal the advice Cillian gave him, he told the publication the importance of having a surrounding network: "You want to have some fatherhood of your own to base it on and I don't, so I take advice off people like Cillian and Colin [Farrell] a lot — I've seen Colin's love for his kids and I now get that."

Commenting further about his own experience with becoming a father, he said: "When your kid gives you that little smile it makes you feel like you're the only person in the world. You've got to be there unconditionally for that little being."

Barry and his brother, Eric, grew up mostly in foster care and spent time living in as many as 13 different homes when they were young. Their mother struggled with addiction and died when Barrt was just 12 years old.

Cillian and his wife of almost 20 years, Yvonne McGuinness, are parents to 17-year-old Malachy and 16-year-old Aran, so are more than equipped to pass down knowledge of raising children. The family generally prefer to keep their personal life away from the spotlight, but Golden Globe winner Cillian has opened up about what it's been like bringing up two sons.

The actor told The Guardian back in 2016 how they adapted when the family moved from London to their new home in County Dublin. "We wanted them to be Irish, I suppose. It's amazing how quickly their accents have adapted. Even within a year of moving back, they are fading into this rakish West Brit kind of thing. Which I think, hopefully, will get them lots of girls when they're 15."

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Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr. at the 81st Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California © Christopher Polk/Golden Globes 2
Cillian Murphy laughs with his wife, Yvonne, and son, Aran, at co-star Robert Downey Jr.

Barry meanwhile is new to the fatherhood game but seems to love every minute. Upon receiving an Oscar nomination last year for his role in The Banshees of Inisherin, he wrote on social media: "This one's for you, Brando. Daddy loves you."

However, the Golden Globe nominee has since confirmed that he and Ayson separated in the summer last year. In an interview with GQ, he said: "She's done a great job, and she's an incredible mother," but did not give further details on their split.

Barry Keoghan at the premiere of "Saltburn" held at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on November 14, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.© Variety
Barry Keoghan is the star of the moment thanks to Saltburn

He added: "I can't get the little boy off my mind. It's beautiful," Barry shared, adding: "Y'know, it's crazy […] That's the effect he has on me. He smiles at you and you're like, 'Wow, you're smiling at me like that? I don't deserve that, but anyways, thanks.'"

Meanwhile, Barry and Cillian have both scored success at various award ceremonies that have already taken place so far, including the Golden Globes where Cillian picked the Best Actor win for his role in Oppenheimer and where Barry received a nod for his role in the much-discussed movie, Saltburn. 

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