Queer Eye star Karamo Brown has said he thought he was being pranked when he found out he had a son.
Writing in his book Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope, the Fab Five member opened up about the moment in 2006 when he received the life-altering news, according to People magazine.
Brown found out he had a 10-year-old child from an envelope he opened after getting back to his Los Angeles home “in a sort of stupor” from the drugs he had taken earlier in the evening.
“I thought: Ashton Kutcher is inside my house. I’m getting punked!”
— Karamo Brown
He recalled: “On the front page was ‘Texas Attorney General’s Office.’ The second page read: ‘Subpoena for Back Child Support.’ I thought: Ashton Kutcher is inside my house. I’m getting punked!”
But when he read that the mother was his high school friend Stephanie Brooks, who he had sex with when he was 15, he realised that the gravity of the situation was far beyond US TV show Punk’d.
“I literally spit out the juice I was drinking,” he wrote. “Now I was fully freaking out.”
Karamo Brown quickly embraced fatherhood
After a paternity test in Houston, Texas confirmed that Brown was Jason’s dad, he pushed away his doubts and embraced fatherhood.
“A little voice in my head was saying: ‘Karamo, you don’t have to do this.’ You’re a child, and you’re supposed to go in there and raise a child? Run for your life,” he said.
“At the same time, I thought: ‘What if he needs me?'”
Talking to People, he remembered: “I was scared. I realised that I created this child who I had no idea about that’s living there, that I now messed him up.”
But when he met Jason, all those fears melted away.
“There’s something about the first moment of seeing your child,” Brown explained. “All the pieces of me that I felt were missing got sewn up the minute I saw his face.
“I looked at this little fourth-grade boy, and I thought, I can do this.”
Not long after, Brown left Los Angeles and moved to be near his son in Texas, going into what he called “full daddy mode” and gaining custody of Jason.
He subsequently adopted his son’s half-brother, Christian, in 2011.
“One morning I had been in bed and seven-year-old Christian walked in and said: ‘Hey, Dad, can I go outside and skate?’ It felt natural,” the Queer Eye star wrote in his book. “I said simply: ‘Yes, Son.’
“I called Stephanie and said: ‘How about I become Christian’s legal guardian, just to get him back on the right path?’
“Christian came back and I said: ‘Your mother and I talked. Would you like to live here permanently?’ He said yes and jumped into my arms.”