9-1-1 actor Kenneth Choi opened up about his emotional reunion with his father after having major issues with him in his youth. Choi plays the beloved Chimney on the hit series, who just became a dad himself. In real life, Choi has dealt a lot with the shadow of his own father and the pressure he felt not to pursue acting.
When he was younger, Choi actually ran away from home. In a 2015 talk with NPR, the actor discussed what it was like to reunite with his parents five years after he made the decision to leave.
He also discussed what made him decide to leave home in the first place.
“So I told my extremely conservative, uber-traditional Korean father, ‘Hey dad, I know what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to be an actor,’ ” Choi told NPR. “And I remember we were standing in the kitchen and he looked at me with this discerning look that he’s given me my entire youth. And he said, ‘I cannot believe one of my sons would say something so stupid.'”
But to the 9-1-1 actor, this dream was far from stupid. He wanted to take that dream into his own hands. He tried studying business and accounting at home but felt miserable doing so. That’s when he left home. He had no contact with anyone in his family for five years after moving to Portland. Then, when he moved to LA, he decided it was time to reunite.
“When I moved to Los Angeles, I figured I’m really going to make an attempt to become a real actor,” he told the outlet. “And when I did that, I thought it was time for me to face my parents and tell them what I did.”
Kenneth Choi’s Father had a Surprising Reaction when the ‘9-1-1’ Actor Returned Home
When Choi decided to re-unite with his family, specifically his father, he was nervous. He told NPR that he “had no idea what was going to happen.”
Choi even expected a good punch to the face for all the trouble.
“He was five years older, and he just put his arms out, gave me a hug, which he’s never done his whole life. And then he said, ‘I respect you for this,’ ” Choi said. “It was the first time he said, ‘I love you’ to me, and it was the most amazing conversation I’ve ever had. And to this day when we get off the phone, I say … ‘I love you’ in Korean and he says it back.”
While Choi lost something important to him, he managed to gain it all back and more. Now, he also has a very successful acting career featuring in The Wolf Of Wall Street, Captain America, and of course, 9-1-1.