Isn't it funny how Kevin Federline went from being perceived as a deadbeat dad to being seen as father of the year?
Sure, ex-wife Britney Spears' antics help, but it's a bit strategic on his part as well, as the dancer-turned-rapper-turned-actor explained to Interview for the magazine's new issue. "You have to have an overall vision of how you want people to see you," he told the mag.
Since Federline has been keeping a low profile, part of how people see him is via the characters he plays on TV — a string of punk types who don't respond well to authority. Is it typecasting or is it playing with the image he knew people had of him at the time? "We did this spot [for Nationwide Insurance that aired during last year's Super Bowl] of me making fun of myself," he told Interview. "And the way that it turned out is that I started changing people's perceptions of who I was and it opened up my mind to do more stuff."
After a one-off guest stint more than a year ago on "CSI," K-Fed is back on the small screen via a recurring guest spot on "One Tree Hill," starting Tuesday (January 15) and continuing through February 12. "I loved that they kept bringing [my character] Jason back," he told MTV News. "I got to find out who he is and how to portray him. It was great!"
A fan since the first season, Federline said that he was hooked once a friend of his, Antwon Tanner, got cast on the show as Skills. Federline calls his own character, a wannabe rocker who resists anyone else's input, "an arrogant ass." "Hopefully none of that is me," Federline told MTV News, "but I'd say the part that is me is the performer. I love being onstage, whether it's dancing or acting — there's just something about being onstage."
Like his ex, Federline shaved his head — but when he took the shears to his hair, it was to help him get in character. "It was mostly my idea," said K-Fed, who sported a Mohawk when he showed up to court on Monday.
But unlike his ex, Federline doesn't want to make a public display of his private life — one of the things that appealed to him about shooting "One Tree Hill" is that it's filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina. He attributes the out-of-L.A. experience to the reason the cast feels more "like a family." "I know every cast says that, but I think it's different because they all live in the same small town and really do get along," he told MTV News.
And whether he's on the set or at home, "Family comes first," he told Interview. By that, he means he's not going to offer up information about either his two sons with Spears (Sean Preston and Jayden James) or his daughter and son with Shar Jackson (Kori and Kaleb), or their respective mothers, even though he's in a very public custody battle. "You won't ever really hear me talk about them, other than I love them," Federline told the magazine. "I wish I could get into all the personal stuff, but like I said, I can't. I can't do it. I won't do it."
Not that he doesn't understand the public interest. "I think the infatuation with the whole thing is that watching us go through things makes other people feel normal," he told Interview. But even though "everything is so publicized and everybody is looking at it, it's normal for us," he said.
"People put it up on this pedestal when it's really the same way that everybody goes through their stuff, you know?" he told Interview. "It's not really any different. Not to say that I like having the paparazzi around or that I like having my life in the media. But as much as I try to be mad at it, I can't be. I just can't. I'll never be. I've been upset at it before, but ... I had to learn that there are good things that can come from it."
Such as fledgling acting and rapping careers. "The paparazzi and the press have given me a voice," he admitted to Interview. "No matter how I got the voice, it's there." And he confessed to MTV News, "I have officially caught the acting bug. ... I am just getting started." He just wants to find "the right opportunity" that he can balance with his other new role, handed down by the court — "full-time dad."
Although the paparazzi follow their every move, Kevin Federline says his struggles with ex-wife Britney Spears are nothing unique.
"People put it up on this pedestal when it's really the same way that everybody else goes through their stuff, you know?" he tells Interview magazine in its February issue. "It's not really any different."
The only difference, he says, is the media attention.
"Even though everything is so publicized and everybody is looking at it, it's normal for us," he says. "I think the infatuation with the whole thing is that watching us go through things makes other people feel normal."
Asked if he's now America's most famous father, Federline laughs and says, "I don't know. Brad Pitt's pretty up there, too."