Newsmakers: Daddy dearest

With the law-breaking and lying, the cheating and love children, this brood of papas put their very own spin on parenthood

Daddy dearestWalking on thin ice
Call it the ultimate in misguided parental protectiveness. Hockey legend Guy Lafleur was found guilty in May of lying to a judge about his son’s whereabouts while he was under a court-ordered curfew. For covering up his son’s late-night hotel trysts, Lafleur Sr. can’t travel to the U.S., was fined $100, and received a one-year suspended sentence. His lawyer says Lafleur, who is appealing the conviction, did this out of care for his son. Tough love might have done them both more good.

What a fumble
When former Denver Broncos’ running back Travis Henry found out he was having a child for the first time, he was “like, ‘Whoa, I’m going to be a dad,’ ” he says. That exclamation has been, no doubt, uttered several times more since: Henry has sired nine kids in eight years, each with a different mother. With his football career gone kaput due to injuries, Henry says he can’t afford the US$170,000 in annual child support the moms are collectively seeking. That he pleaded guilty in April to cocaine trafficking and faces 10 years to life in prison makes things worse. Then again, at least he won’t father any more kids for a while.

He’s one special guest
While promoting his new memoir, broadcaster Larry King, 75, invited a son­—whom he didn’t know for the first 33 years of his life—onto his TV show. Larry King Jr., formerly an Amex director, was conceived during a brief marriage between King Sr. and a woman named Annette Kaye. “She told me if it’s a boy, I’m gonna name him Larry King Jr.,” the talk-show host said in May. “Then I never heard again.” Until 15 years ago, when Kaye, who was dying of lung cancer, called her ex to tell him about their son, and they all met. Nothing like a live TV date to really catch up, though.

This time, no bailout
Never mind the financial crisis, Richard Parsons, the chairman of beleaguered Citigroup, has got family problems to figure out. The married father of three had a love child last August with model-philanthropist MacDella Cooper. Parsons is touted as an “esteemed” backer of Cooper’s foundation, which aids orphans in Liberia, and he was a keynote speaker at its gala in October 2007. Given Parsons’s wealth—he made more than US$10 million last year—this child should get plenty of charity from daddy.

The real slumdogs
Oscar, schmoscar! When Slumdog Millionaire stars Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail returned from Hollywood to the slums of Mumbai, their fathers were hardly star-struck. Ali’s dad, Rafiq Qureshi, allegedly agreed to sell her for US$400,000 to a British reporter posing as a sheik from the Middle East (Qureshi denies it). Ismail’s father, Mohammed Ismail, slapped and kicked his son for being too tired to parade around for passersby. He later apologized, but by then both fathers had achieved their own notoriety as “scumdads.”

Father, forgive him
When Fernando Lugo, president of Paraguay, appeared on national TV in April, his address could have been torn from the script of a steamy Latino soap opera. The politician, who was an ordained Catholic bishop until last year, admitted to fathering a son while he was still in the Church. Since then, two other women have alleged that Lugo, 57, is their child’s papa too. “Father Lugo” indeed.