Jason Bateman on That Time He Kinda Told His Kid Santa Claus Wasn’t Real

Editor’s Note: Babble and ABC are both a part of The Walt Disney Company.

Earlier this week, Jason Bateman swung by Jimmy Kimmel Live! to promote the upcoming second season of his hit Netflix show, Ozark, which returns on August 31. But because he’s Jason Bateman, and basically one of the funniest humans on earth, he nearly brought the audience to tears when recounting the hilarious story of the time he spilled the beans to his 11-year-old that the Easter Bunny isn’t real. Oh yeah, and the Tooth Fairy, too. And Santa Claus. Gulp.

Bateman shared that it happened while he was on location in Georgia, where Ozark films. Since he’s away from his family six months out of the year, the 49-year-old dad of two decided to fly each of his daughters out for their own week of “father-daughter” bonding time.

First up was 11-year-old Franny, who came during Easter break. All was going well, Bateman reports, until he took his daughter to a nearby Easter egg hunt.

After they got in the car, she asked him point blank: “Here’s what I don’t understand — bunnies don’t lay eggs, right?”

“That’s true,” Bateman told her.

“So I’m having a hard time putting a couple things together here,” Franny continued. “The Easter Egg Bunny — not real, right?”

At this point, Bateman explains that he was “approaching a black-out of nerves” and starting to panic over what to say next. So he did the first thing that came to mind: He decided to play dumb.

“I don’t know what you’re saying to me,” he replied, to which Franny told him: “I don’t think it’s real, and I don’t want you to lie to me right now, because there’s a few kids in my class who say it’s not real and I don’t want to be an idiot.”


After that, Bateman explains, his 11-year-old challenged him to “pinky promise” that the Easter Bunny is real, and … well, the truth soon came spilling out. Next of course, came questions about the Tooth Fairy and then Santa Claus — both of which Bateman copped to, as well.

Oof — I gotta say, I feel for him. But I also really feel for his daughter.

I can still remember the day this same little truth bomb hit me. I was 9, maybe 10, and had been rummaging through the drawers of my mother’s vanity in search of who knows what when I came across a tiny box, just begging to be opened. Inside, were teeth. Tiny, human, BABY teeth!

Instantly, my mind raced. Why would my mother be hoarding baby teeth in her vanity drawer? Was she some kind of secret tooth hoarder? Do such people even exist? 

These weren’t just any old baby teeth, either. No, these baby teeth had clearly once belonged to my brother, sister, and I. You know, before they wiggled free one day and were tucked beneath our pillows, where we awoke to find a dollar or two by morning, thanks to the Tooth Fairy.

And that’s when it hit me: If my mother was in possession of our baby teeth, that meant the Tooth Fairy never came to take them. Which also must have meant that the Tooth Fairy couldn’t be real!

I rushed to confront my mother, who just like Bateman immediately caved and admitted everything. Then, like a house of cards, the others came tumbling down, too. The Easter Bunny? NOT REAL. Santa Claus? ALSO NOT REAL.

I suspect this is how many kids come to learn this cold hard truth, but man oh man is it fun for no one.

Here’s to Bateman for keeping things honest with his kid, who will probably appreciate it in the long run. (Even if it means she’ll no longer be getting $20 under her pillow whenever a new tooth falls out!)


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