JOHN RITTER: BEING A STAR CAN KILL YOU!

Published on: August 25, 2003

John Ritter reveals he enjoyed being the son of a celebrity -- but warns that falling into a celebrity lifestyle is a trap that "can kill you."

Ritter, who plays a dad on ABC's "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," has four youngsters of his own and is himself the son of famed singing cowboy Tex Ritter.

"My brother and I went touring with Dad around the country," recalls the 54-year-old sitcom star.

"We'd have dinner with people who worked in government, dinner with rodeo clowns. We'd meet children of country stars. But my own friends from the neighborhood didn't know what my dad did."

Despite his lifelong exposure to the spotlight, the much-admired actor warns that there are major pitfalls to avoid in stardom.

"The advantage is that you get a nice table (at a restaurant)," he told an interviewer. "But the disadvantage is that it's like being out in the sun. It feels warm and you get a nice tan -- but if you're out there too long, it can kill you.

"The real joy is in the work; the trap is in the celebrity."

Ritter's own talented children are turning out just fine.

His 23-year-old son Jason is an actor. His 21-year-old daughter Carly is a student -- at the same college in Scotland as Prince William. His 18-year-old son Tyler is a baseball star in high school. And John's beautiful 4-year-old daughter Stella has her heart set on being an empress!