Jessica Biel on having two kids: ‘One is a lot. And two is a thousand’

Jessica Biel called in to the Ellen DeGeneres Show yesterday. She’s executive producer of the Freeform series Cruel Summer so she was promoting that. But they ended up talking mostly about Jessica’s sons, Silas, six, and Phineas, 10 months. Apparently, she and husband Justin Timberlake just got finished sleep training Phin, which Phin responded to really well, but then all his teeth came in, so they are back to sleepless nights. Ellen asked Jessica if it was hard having two kids as opposed to one and Jessica said the workload goes up 1000% when the second one comes.

When asked if having two kids is harder than one, Jessica confirmed that it’s definitely not easy.

“A very wise friend of mine said, ‘One is a lot. And two is a thousand,'” The Sinner actress joked. “That’s exactly the way it feels. You’re like, man-on-man defense, one person’s here, one person’s over there. It is a wild, wild ride.”

There is a silver lining to the chaos, Jessica explained: the adorable bond between her two kids.

“It is so cute to see these two together,” Jessica shared. “They both think the other one is hilarious. Silas, he is the performer, he wants to make the jokes and he wants all the attention on him, so Phin only has eyes for him. Everything that Silas does is hilarious and then anything that Phin does is hilarious. So they just laugh at each other all day long.”

[From E!]

I’d heard some version of this too. I’d heard the amount of work between one and two is something close to Jessica’s numbers. But the work per child after two was negligible – so like three and four was no more work than two. I found the problem in numbers to be mobility. When the first kid can walk, but the second stays put, it’s tough. When both are motorized, all hell breaks loose. Honestly, I’ve blocked out so much of that time. I remember it was hard, but I was trying to remember why. I think it was because when I had one, he always needed something but when I fulfilled that need, I had a minute or two before he needed something else. With two, as soon as I met one’s needs, the other needed something. Or the other found my phone and dropped it in the dog’s water dish. Things like that. I’m a little surprised with Jessica’s situation, though. That’s a pretty big age gap. And after age five, the kids get so much more self-sufficient. I mean, Silas is six, he’s probably entertaining himself for at least short spurts of time.

I did love the second part of Jessica’s comments, about Silas and Phin reacting to each other. That’s a magical time between siblings. If you’re lucky, it stays that way. It’s one of the best arguments to have two or more. No matter how old they get, they will always look out for each other. I’ll bet Jessica finds a little time to get something done when Silas and Phin are together. I’m sure her nannies, night nurses, housekeepers and personal assistants probably make sure she has a moment to put her feet up when she needs it, too. I think we can assume Justin isn’t on the diaper duty rotation.

Photo credit: Instagram

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32 Responses to “Jessica Biel on having two kids: ‘One is a lot. And two is a thousand’”

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  1. Jules says:

    Still playing the part of a perfect happy family, I see.

    • jbyrdku says:

      Right! To each their own, but I just wouldn’t be able to stay with him after the ‘hand-holding’ incident (when she was mega pregger, I believe). Like, enough.

  2. Tiffany says:

    She is a anti vaxer idiot soooooooo….there is that.

    I cannot take anything she says seriously, ever again.

    • Caroline says:

      Remember when she complained that she wasn’t getting any acting gigs because she was “too pretty”? Ever since then I can’t stand her.

      • atorontogal says:

        I agree completely! I thought, if you are telling people you are too pretty to work, then there is a lot more to it.

      • milliemollie says:

        Especially when there are actresses who are way more beautiful than her who don’t appear to have that problem.

        It’s probably your lack of talent, but keep telling yourself you’re too pretty, Jess.

      • GA says:

        Not to be a b*tch, but then again this is a gossip site…

        Agree with atorontogal and milliemollie… the humblebragging itself it cringe but you need to back it up! Jessica is extremely attractive, but I do find her features to be more traditionally “handsome” – there’s nothing unique about her look or her face. She could be interchangeable with any slim brunette so by that count, she should have been up for hundreds of roles!

        Think it’s clear the defining variable isn’t her looks but something else (coughactingskillscough)

    • Nev says:


      • Yati says:

        and I’ll add her talent was looking pretty. Anything she was on was super cringe to get through.
        Can’t imagine what it must of been like to watch her and Chris Evans run lines in the early days cause both clearly could’ve used more acting lessons.

  3. Astrid says:

    I understand her sentiment but it doesn’t seem like a reality for her. Her kids are a number of years apart and she has plenty of money to have some help.

    • AMA1977 says:

      Exactly. Mine are almost the same age difference as hers (my son was a month away from turning 5 when his sister was born) and it’s NOTHING like my friends who have closer spacing. I have a good friend whose older child is just 18 months and they welcomed their new baby a week or so ago. THAT’S tough. A five year-old (assuming they are neurotypical) doesn’t require nearly as much hands-on attention as a younger child. They can feed and dress themselves and are usually really, really eager to help if you need it. They also understand that the baby needs a different kind of attention than they do, because they’re a big kid. I didn’t have “help” like I’m sure she does, but it was just fine. None to one was the adjustment of a lifetime, but going from one to two was a cakewalk.

  4. SpankyB says:

    I just watched The Sinner series and was surprised at how decent she was in season 1.

    I barely survived one child, I can’t imagine two.

  5. DuchessL says:

    I can’t relate – I thought 2 was a breeze

  6. Noodle says:

    I have three, and my last was a joyful surprise, so he’s much younger. I always heard three was the hardest it would be, and I am fortunate to have two older girls who love their brother and can help out a bit. I work hard not to “parentify” them, but if I need him entertained for 30 minutes they are a big help. The difficulty in 3+ kids is that you are no longer man-on-one defense; you have to work the zone defense, and sometimes there are just too many needs in the zone. God help us the days all three kids are having a hard time or need their parents’ undivided attention, all at the same time. It’s especially hard now with all of us at home and with my working from home; my husband and I have to fill roles that their teachers and peers normally would.

    • ThatgirlThere says:

      I heard three was the toughest as well. I have zero and am praying for one.

    • Natters5 says:

      My grandma said after two its just really throwing another potato into the pot. She had nine so she should know.

      • ItReallyIsYouNotMe says:

        I have 2, but have also heard that 3 is the hardest from a few parents who actually have 3 kids. When my friend’s 3rd child was 6 months old her husband said, and I quote “Three children is like drowning in the ocean….and then someone throws you a baby.”

      • BothSidesNow says:

        Wow!! My non existent uterus just jumped at that number!! I had 2, five years apart, and the only difficult period was when they had the chickenpox together.

    • Becky says:

      I have 5. All boys. Ages 5 months. 2. 5. 8 and 10. Going from 2 to 3 was tough. I still say the first was the toughest though. Everything is new and scary. First time going through sleepless nights etc. 5 is a fun crazy ride. I am more relaxed and just enjoying it. They are all best buds.

      • jbones says:

        I have Three. What Becky said….I was also advised by a friend to not have two babies under two. My eldest are 17 months apart and that broke my brain.
        Our third was spaced out by three years- lovely spacing. The older two just adore her.

        In other news: Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve been envious of people with no dependents (ok, I’ll say it….no kids). Nothing is easy, grass is always greener n’ sh*t, but I have fantasies about autonomy.

      • MaryContrary says:

        I have 4-but mine are now 23, 20, 17 and 12. I should have squeezed another one between #3 and #4. I love having a bigger family-they’re all such great pals. Especially during this past year-it’s been amazing. I still think 0 to 1 was the hardest.

  7. whatever says:

    “No matter how old they get, they will always look out for each other.”
    beg to differ. Siblings can be abusive. It’s ok to cut that shit out of your life.

    • Hecate says:

      Which is why that part is proceeded by the caveat, “If you’re lucky, it stays that way”

  8. ThatgirlThere says:

    There is something about her that reminds me of Kate Keen Middleton. The privilege. The wealth. The petulant douche husband.

  9. Bendy Windy says:

    Age gaps actually make things more difficult in my experience. I also disagree with her. One is difficult. Two is tough. Adding a third was supremely easy. Adding a fourth is when it all falls apart. Lol.

  10. ce says:

    My mom said the same, that you don’t notice how many kids you have after the 2nd as much (she had 4). I love the bond me and my siblings have, but it’s not guaranteed. Lots of sibs don’t get along or actively hate each other, which is sad

  11. lucy2 says:

    What’s the workload if you have 2 kids and an immature, spoiled, egomaniac of a husband?

  12. whatever says:

    I have triplets, but they came home from the hospital one at a time. When one was home it wasn’t too bad because we could trade off and give each other breaks. When the second came home we were both busy, and then the workload felt like it went through the roof. When the third came home it felt like it added no work at all, because we both already had our hands full all the time, so it just didn’t matter.

    I don’t know how people do it when there are age gaps like this between kids. Everyone always thinks triplets are so much work, but all my kids eat the same stuff, they napped at the same time, we potty trained once, they’re doing the same stuff in school; it’s just so streamlined. And they play together all the time, so I have time to get laundry and stuff done. I don’t know how you guys do it, with kids on different nap schedules and eating different things, and dealing with several different homework assignments at night and stuff. My hat’s off to you, seriously, because it seems like so much to juggle.

    • Robin says:

      I have twins and I agree about the coordinated nap times and potty training. And birthdays were great, because same time of course.

  13. Kimberly says:

    my mom raised 5 kids alone while workin full-time. We all succeed well in life, not without struggles, but that’s what made us appreciative. This lady can suck it.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      That’s impressive Kimberly!! My hat is off to your mother!! That’s an incredible achievement, which there are other mothers around the world doing the same thing too. And yes, Jessica can suck it….