News broke Tuesday that actor Willie Garson, beloved for his roles as Stanford Blatch on Sex and the City and Mozzie on White Collar, died at the age of 57. Since then, tributes have poured in from the late actor's many co-stars through the years, and they all have one thing in common: telling the world just how much Willie Garson loved being a dad.
He met his son, Nathen Garson, at an adoption event when he was seven years old. He formally adopted him in 2009, and the rest is history. In an interview with PEOPLE magazine last year, Garson said he'd wanted to become a father for a long time.
"We had a smooth transition because we both wanted this adoption. Fatherhood is what I always wanted it to be," he said. "I wanted it so badly and he wanted it so badly. I think often it can be difficult because it's not that balanced."
Nathen paid tribute to his dad on Instagram, shortly after the news of his death was announced. His words are absolutely beautiful—and heartbreaking.
'I love you so much papa," he wrote in the caption. "Rest In Peace and I'm so glad you got to share all your adventures with me and were able to accomplish so much. I'm so proud of you."
"I will always love you, but I think it's time for you to go on an adventure of your own. You'll always be with me. Love you more than you will ever know and I'm glad you can be at peace now."
Nathen referred to his father as the "toughest and funniest and smartest person I've known" alongside a series of sweet photos documenting some of their memories together.
In a 2020 interview, Garson told Medium's Authority Magazine that he knew Nathen was meant to be his child the minute he saw him: "He was like a light that was shining brightly. He was the only kid that was playing/laughing, and I knew that was my kid! Once I interacted with him, I knew we clicked, and I had to have him," he said.
In an equally emotional post about her longtime friend, Sex and the City's Kristin Davis shared that she and Garson often talked about their special bond as adoptive parents, and reflected on Garson's "fearless commitment to fatherhood."
"We spoke about being single parents through adoption often," she wrote on Instagram. "And nothing gave him more joy and pride than his son Nathen. Nathen's strength and wisdom beyond his years are evident in his beautiful tribute to his dad."
Garson had been busy all summer, shooting the SATC reboot, And Just Like That, where he reprised his role as Stanford Blatch. How lucky we are to be able to watch him light up the screen one last time.
Friends, fellow celebrities, and costars showed up in the comments of Nathen's tribute to his dad in droves, with each of them sharing how proud Garson was of his son and how much he really loved being a dad. It seems the feeling was mutual.
"I'm glad you shared your love with me," Nathen said at the end of his post dedicated to his father. "I'll never forget it or lose it ❤️."