“You were very close to your son. You loved him a lot,” said Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes to Eric Clapton, one of the greatest guitarists ever, in a 1998 interview.
This was the segment of the interview when Clapton faced his addiction. It was here he talked about admitting for the first time in his life that he was an addict. He went into rehab but shortly thereafter returned to alcohol and drugs.
While married, he had an affair with Italian actress Lory Del Santo. This affair resulted in Clapton’s only child, Conor.
Clapton said in the interview,
“The chief reason I went back to treatment (was) because I really did love this boy. I know he is like a little baby, but he can see me and see what I am doing. And I’m tired of this. Because I did not have that much love for myself, he was the chief reason I went back into treatment.”Eric Clapton
Bradley followed with, “You were very close to your son. You loved him a lot.”
Clapton shook his head back and forth, and with a wry smile, he looked Bradley in the eye and said, “You would have loved him, too.”
Conor, at four years old, died in a terrible accident. He fell forty-nine stories to his death from his mother’s New York City condo.
I could not put Clapton’s son’s death and his answer to Bradley’s question out of my mind. It kept replaying for me. I could not figure out for the life of me why.
But it kept coming back.
I kept seeing Clapton answer that question by saying, “You would have loved him, too.”
Then I realized I’d had the same experience
“Let’s go for a ride!” I said to my son David who was four at the time.
We were going to go to Blockbuster Video to pick out a movie. We got in the car, and David pointed to the cup holder right behind the shifter and said, “I know what that’s for.”
“What?” I ask.
“That’s for your beer, Daddy,” he answered.
He was four years old. He was watching me. Right down to what I was drinking while I was driving! This meant he was watching everything I was doing.
This seemingly innocuous encounter put me on alert. I had an awareness about my behavior I’d never had before. I started noticed everything I was doing and how my children were watching.
Did I want them to copy my behavior?
A couple of months later, on the evening of October 26, 1992, I was sitting in my first AA meeting. From that moment on, my children never saw their dad take a drink. They never saw their dad under the influence. This was one behavior I didn’t have to think about. It was one behavior they didn’t copy from me.
By the grace of God, I am twenty-six years sober. I love my children, and believe me, if you met them, you would love them, too. And the grandchildren are amazing!
Here is the Eric Clapton 60 Minutes interview. It is worth the twenty-three minutes of your time.