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He may be a rock icon to millions but to me, Bono will always be my embarrassing dad

Eve Hewson is making waves in Hollywood, but there was nothing showbiz about growing up with the U2 legend By Patricia Danaher

Published 05/12/2015

Eve Hewson
Eve Hewson

The name Bono brings several images to mind: there's the rockstar strutting across a stage, the bemused artist defending the automatic download of his album on to iPhones, or the political activist paying his last respects to his late friend Nelson Mandela. One image that Paul Hewson's famous moniker certainly wouldn't suggest is that of a dad in a dressing gown embarrassing his children on the school run - but according to his actress daughter, that's exactly what the real Bono is like.

"Like any dad, he would do things that were really annoying," Eve Hewson tells me with a groan. "He used to blast The Backstreet Boys in his car in traffic on the way to school and then get out in his dressing gown and dance with his glasses on. We were just mortified. But now I think he's a really fun dad. We tease him all the time, but he teases us back too!"

Venerated superstar he may be, but 24-year-old Eve says that she and her siblings - sister Jordan (26) and brothers Elijah (16) and John (14) - are not afraid to share their opinions with Bono.

"My sisters and my brothers are like micro managers with my dad and we don't shy away from telling him what we think," she tells me, grinning affectionately.

"We like to tell him what to wear and what to listen to and things like 'that shot's not good' and 'this verse isn't good'. We are very involved.

"He used to drive us to school and we would play whatever songs they were working on at the time. Like I say, we would be very involved and then upset if the version we liked didn't make it on the album. There would be a fight and we'd be like: 'Why, dad, why? You have to listen to us!'"

Today, we meet at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. Eve - full name Memphis Eve Sunny Day Hewson - arrived early for our interview and, refreshingly, not surrounded by a massive entourage. She's here to talk about her acting roles - Eve can currently be seen starring opposite Clive Owen on television and Tom Hanks on cinema screens - but she is very at ease when asked to talk about her family.

She said recently that her upbringing was very down to earth and that the Hewson children "didn't grow up caring about the flashy things; my parents are not very sceney". Instead, she tells me, Bono and wife Ali involved their children in their business and charitable endeavours.

"Both of my parents were good about involving us in whatever they were doing and we were definitely around when One (Bono's campaigning organisation to fight global poverty) and Edun (the ethical clothing line founded by Ali) started. That's been great in helping me develop my taste and opinions."

When it comes to music, Eve says that she has cultivated her own tastes. She admits to being a terrible singer herself, albeit one who's not shy of a spot of karaoke.

"I love great pop music. I have a Nano iPod and my iPhone and I'm listening a lot to 5th Harmony [a girl group who came out of American X Factor]. They are the best. I also have some bad hip hop music and I love this young new artist Tori Kelly, who is really good."

Eve has no problem admitting how much of a U2 fan she is, and she's still smarting at the hostile response to their last album, which received a huge backlash after it was released by automatic download to every Apple iTunes account. Bono later apologised to those who felt that the automatic download was intrusive.

"I've heard every U2 song literally hundreds of times and been at so many concerts, but I was still really looking forward to going to their concerts in Dublin last week," Eve says.

"Songs of Innocence is in my iPod too. I love that album and I am so proud of my dad. I listened to probably 700 versions of Every Breaking Wave - that song started about eight years ago and it was almost on another album. I would probably say that this was the most personal album my dad has written and I was disappointed with the way people received it. That was really unfortunate because I feel it took away from how incredible the album really is.

"They wanted to go back to the roots of what inspired them as musicians and it really is very emotional. We all cry when they play it on tour because it's about my dad's mum who passed away when he was 14, and who we've heard so much about, but we have never met.

"He doesn't really talk about her that much, but he put a lot of his memories of her in those songs. I am really proud he went there and sort of looked back on his childhood."

Visibly moved at talking about her father's connection to his past, Eve tells me a touching story of something she and her siblings recently did for him.

"We actually went to his old house, 10 Cedarwood Road, which he sings about on the album, last Christmas as a surprise. My sister and my brother and myself knocked on the door and we asked if we could come in and take pictures in his old bedroom, as a gift for him.

"So that's what we did, a little photoshoot with his best friend Gavin Friday, who grew up on the road with him. He came and showed us where they used to hang out and it was funny, when we got out of the car, Every Breaking Wave started playing on the radio!

"We filmed my brother walking down the street with Gavin. He's my godfather and he came into the house with us and we took pictures in the kitchen, in the bathroom and in dad's bedroom. Then we took a picture of the four of us outside of 10 Cedarwood Road and blew it up for him for Christmas. He wept when he saw it.

"We also showed him the video of us going there. That was a really nice moment."

The Hewson children later did the same thing for their mother. No doubt the photos are treasured souvenirs of home for the couple when they are in New York. Eve told in a recent interview how when she moved to the city to study at the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts six years ago, her parents also took their leave of their home in Killiney.

"I didn't invite them, they just came," she said. "My sister had moved here a year earlier, to study at Columbia, and I don't think my mum could cope with losing two kids to the US. So they conveniently decided to renovate the house and had to be out of it for a year."

Bono, Ali (below with Eve) and the boys spent the year in the penthouse overlooking Central Park that they bought from Steve Jobs, while Eve shared a student dorm near to her college. She says her parents were not initially crazy about her choosing to become an actress, but now they are her number one fans. And with good cause.

Having landed early roles opposite Sean Penn and James Gandolfini, Eve is currently starring in the second season of the hit TV series The Knick. The series is set in 1900 at New York's Knickerbocker Hospital and in it Eve plays Lucy Elkins, a wide-eyed nurse in thrall to Clive Owens' drug-addicted surgeon. The role led to Eve's first on-screen sex scene, something which she has said was a scary prospect but "then we did it, and I realised it's not a big deal at all - It looks real, but that's nothing like what is actually going on."

Eve also plays Tom Hanks' teenage daughter in Steven Spielberg's Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies, currently in cinemas. Recently, it was announced that she's to play Maid Marion in Robin Hood: Origins, which is due for release in 2017.

Despite her rising Hollywood profile, she says that she hasn't considered moving to Los Angeles and is very happy to call New York home for now.

"I live in Brooklyn and all of my friends have moved from Dublin to New York, so we all live together in the Greenpoint/Williamsburg area.

"I have a tiny apartment and it's filled with pictures and paintings from flea markets and Playbills and Polaroids from my friends. It's like a little commune and everybody lives two blocks away from each other, so it's nice.

"I am close to my older sister Jordan and she lives a few blocks away from me with my best friend from home. My parents work in New York a lot, so they are always in and out."

Eve dated One Tree Hill star James Lafferty for four years, but they broke up a few months ago. She was since rumoured to be seeing fellow actor Max Minghella, but says she's single. Head-turningly pretty, today she is wearing wide striped trousers and a sleeveless shirt from Misha Nonoo. However, she reveals that, without a stylist, she's much more of a tomboy.

"I am a terrible shopper and I am the kind of person who goes into a full sweat in the closet in the changing room. I love clothes and I love fashion, but for some reason, shopping stresses me out. I can never seem to find anything that fits right or looks good.

"My friends are also more tomboys than fashionistas, so they're not big shoppers either. I go shopping with my mom and she's the best with that sort of stuff."

So what is in store for Bono's movie star daughter when she comes home to Ireland this Christmas? By Eve's description, the Hewson's Christmas sounds very like that in any other Irish household. Well, other than her dad's busking on Dublin's Grafton Street on Christmas Eve, that is. Let's hope he wears more than a dressing gown.

"Christmas in our house is like a three-day event with all sorts of rituals. On Christmas Eve we all have lunch in town and we go and do a bit of Christmas shopping. My dad sings on Grafton Street and does his busking thing. Then on Christmas Day, we go to Church and then our relatives come over and we have a big six-hour lunch/dinner and we all play games and hang out with our cousins.

"Then the next day, we do that most Irish of rituals on St Stephen's Day - we all go off to the horse races. I can't wait."

Belfast Telegraph

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