He made his mark on pop culture as Breaking Bad’s Jesse Pinkman, a character so beloved that he's even referenced in this month’s family flick, Zootopia. Now Aaron Paul, 36, is back on the small screen with The Path, a drama about followers of a cult-like religion. “I wasn’t really looking to jump back into TV this soon,” says the Emmy-winning actor, who co-stars with Michelle Monaghan and Hugh Dancy on the new series, but he adds, “I love TV. That’s really where the gritty stories are being told.”
In an exclusive chat with Hello! Canada, he opened up about the allure of parenthood, his romance with wife Lauren, 29, and life beyond his breakout role.
Aaron, what can fans expect from The Path? I’m so proud of this show and I’m so excited that people are finally able to see it. It’s a slow burn. By the end of this season, everyone’s jaws will be on the floor.
Obviously you’re not in a cult, but what’s something that you follow obsessively in your own life? I’m really obsessed with music. There’s a lot of music that I’m drawn to – anything from John Lennon or David Bowie to Radiohead.
You became a household name, thanks to Breaking Bad. How do you feel when you look back on those years? I’ve had my ups and downs throughout my career. Breaking Bad changed my life. I always joked around, saying, “It’s all downhill from here.” I was lucky enough to be a part of such a special show.
Fans loved you as Jesse Pinkman. Does being known for that character have an impact on your choice of roles? You’ve just got to take it in stride. It’s crazy what Jesse Pinkman has done for me! [Now] it’s all about trying to do something different. Playing a father of two and a husband [on The Path] really makes me want to have kids right now, you know? [Laughs] It’s just such a different role than I’ve ever played, so it’s all about trying to mix it up.
You and Lauren don’t have kids yet, but we hear you have a lot of children in your family. I just love kids – I have 16 nieces and nephews. They started coming my way when I was about 12 years old. I am the crazy uncle that comes into town and just spoils them with hugs, gifts and candy. I can’t imagine anything could be better than that.
Do you think you’ve found your path in life? I hope so, because I’m loving what I’m doing. I feel like I’m on the right path. I’ve found the love of my life and she’s just such a blessing.
How did you and Lauren meet? We met at a music festival a little over six years ago, but she had a boyfriend, so then I played the friend role. It was impossible not to fall in love with her right away. The following year at Coachella, we were both single and that was that. We had our first kiss on a Ferris wheel. I told her that night I was going to marry her. We got matching tattoos on our ring fingers a month later. All of her friends, I’m sure, thought we were crazy, but we’re still going strong.