Korean-American actor Ricky Kim wants to apologise to his mum

Korean-American Ricky Kim, who is in parenting reality Show Oh! My Baby, is in town with his son Tae Oh and daughter Tae Rin.
Korean-American Ricky Kim, who is in parenting reality Show Oh! My Baby, is in town with his son Tae Oh and daughter Tae Rin.PHOTO: SHINMIN WANBAO

Actor Ricky Kim wants to apologise to his mum because he is sure growing up, he was as mischievous as his son is now

Korean-American actor Ricky Kim, who has been making a name for himself as a devoted dad on South Korean parenting reality TV show Oh! My Baby, does not believe he can get enough parenting advice .

Says Kim, whose real name is Ricky Lee Neely: "I talk to a lot of people who have children, when I'm on a plane, waiting in a queue for a taxi or in a taxi. Taxi drivers, whether they're in South Korea or New York, know a lot. I'm always asking.

"Good parents, bad parents, it doesn't matter. You can learn from their mistakes or good points. I'll ask what are your top three points of marriage and parenting. I get fun answers. I write them down and share them with my wife."

The 34-year-old father, who is married to musical theatre actress Ryu Seung Joo, 38, was speaking to The Straits Times on Thursday.

He and his family were here to film footage to be aired on the Oh! My Baby Singapore special, which will be shown on cable TV channel One.

The Kims have gained a following in the region since appearing on the show two years ago, especially his two older children - daughter Tae Rin, five, and son Tae Oh, three.

Close to 100 fans turned up at Changi Airport to welcome the Kim family on Thursday afternoon.

Except for their youngest child, seven-month-old daughter Tae Ra, who is back in South Korea, the brood will meet fans tonight at a public event at Waterway Point organised by channel One.

Ricky Kim, who starred in dramas such as On Air (2008) and Cunning Single Lady (2014), took on the Oh! My Baby project because he wanted to spend time with his family and felt the series would be a valuable record of their memories.

"I'm very busy, I'm going all over the place for work - to China, to America. I was out of the house for five months intermittently, two weeks here, three days there.

"It was a choice to stay home and have fun experiences with my family," says Kim, who has also been active on the variety show circuit, surviving the wilderness in reality show Law Of The Jungle (2012) and reliving student life in Off To School (2015).

As a result of Oh! My Baby's popularity, the good-looking Kims have become a magnet for advertisers, taking on commercials for diapers, food and children's clothing.

The two older siblings were invited to strut the runway at a fashion show in Beijing last month.

Tae Rin had a blast channelling her inner supermodel at the Beijing fashion show, he recalls.

"My daughter loves going onstage, she loves changing clothes and having her picture taken. My phone is completely full of pictures of my kids," says Kim.

A fiercely protective father, he will not let his children take on more commercial engagements than they are comfortable with.

"It's very simple for me," he says. "There's a line that you can't cross - when the child starts to become stressed, when they start feeling, 'Why do I have to do this?' , then it's a complete stop."

There are no such troubles at present.

He says of Tae Oh: "My son just likes to eat. He likes to play, run. He likes to be around kids, around people."

Watching the mischievous boy reminds him of his own childhood in America, says Kim, who has an older brother, 35, and a younger brother in his teens.

His Korean mum, 58, remarried after his American dad died when he was 13.

"I see how Tae Oh has so much energy, and is always trying to cause trouble with his sister. He's always running, jumping. He wants to break things. He's a good kid, yet at the same time a bad kid.

"I look at him and the first thing I want to do is call my mum and say, 'I'm so sorry'. My brother and I were probably just like this."

•Oh! My Baby airs on One (StarHub TV Channel 124, 820 & 823; Singtel TV Channel 513 & 604) on Thursday, 11pm.

•Ricky Kim and his family will be at a channel One event tonight at Waterway Point at 7.30pm. For details, go to www.onetvasia.com/RickyKim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2016, with the headline 'I'm sorry, mum'. Print Edition | Subscribe