The past few years have been a wild ride for Justin Baldoni. The Jane the Virgin star, who plays Rafael Solano – Jane’s boss-turned-baby-daddy-turned-boyfriend in the hit CW series, is closing a chapter of his life. After five years, the 35-year-old actor is saying adios to the telenovela-inspired show as it’s currently living out its final season. "It’s sad to say goodbye, but it’s also exciting because we got to leave on our terms," he tells HOLA! USA. "I’ve always been very emotional with goodbyes, and yeah it was super emotional."
While this role may be ending, it will certainly allow him to spend more time with the stars of his life — his wife Emily, daughter Maiya, three, and one-year-old son Maxwell. The L.A. native also has plans to continue directing (just watch Five Feet Apart), producing and using his entrepreneurial senses. One of his latest successes includes his collaboration with charitable eyewear company DIFF. The director-producer was tapped by the socially conscious company to design and help create a nine-piece assortment of the Maxwell, named after his son.
Keep reading to find out what the last day on set of JTV was like, why Father's Day is also for his wife, and learn how he was involved in Gina Rodriguez's wedding.
HOLA! USA: Tell us about your collaboration with DIFF?
Justin Baldoni: “I’ve always had trouble with my face and glasses. I never felt like I looked good in anything...I have a big nose, strong features. I was always like, ‘Man if I can design a pair of glasses that’s great,’ but I wanted to take it a step further. We can create some unity even with a pair of eyeglasses, as crazy as it sounds. And so, we set out to do it, and I designed them along with DIFF. I named them after my little son because I love how he sees the world, how he sees everybody as just being human. I thought maybe we can do the same thing with these glasses.”
How will you be celebrating Father’s Day?
"My wife and I decided Sundays were going to be phone-free, so this Sunday I don’t want to do anything else except have my dad come over and be with my family. That to me is the best type of Father’s Day. I don’t need anything. I don’t need any gifts. The only reason I’m a father is because of my wife, so if anything I feel like Father’s Day should also be celebrating her. It''s honestly how I feel because if it weren’t for her doing it all for our kids, I wouldn’t be able to live out my dream, and I wouldn’t be a father in the first place."
What has been your biggest lesson since becoming a dad of two?
I think the biggest thing is that I’ve realized my actions and my choices today are going to be their memories tomorrow. And everything that I’m doing in my life, my interactions with them are essentially going to create good memories or bad memories for them, and I want them to have good memories. The other one is that it goes by so fast, and everyone says that, so it requires me to be far more present.
Is there anything that your parents taught you that you’d like to pass on to your children?
"There’s a lot that my parents did right. For me, teaching me about faith and God at a very early age and making that a choice for me, I think is absolutely something I want to pass down to my kids. My dad told me that love is a choice. It’s an action; it’s a verb. It’s not just something that happens to you, and you have to choose love. And that’s something that I’m going to for sure pass down to both of my kids one day. Relationships are hard; marriages are hard, and you have to be present and make choices."
Let's talk JTV. Are you happy with the ending? Do you think fans will be?
"Yeah, I’m very happy. I think fans will be happy. It’s sweet. I think it’s well ended and ties it up in a really sweet way. And I hope that the fans respond and enjoy it. It’s gonna be a really sweet, tear-filled episode."
How was the last day?
"Really emotional because they became family and friends. Goodbyes have always been bittersweet for me. They’ve always been hard, but the good news is that we’re all still in each other’s lives. We all text and talk still, and you know Gina got married like literally two weeks after we shot the finale. It was a beautiful ceremony and we all got to be together again."
Speaking of her wedding, did you officiate it?
"I wouldn’t say I officiated it. I was asked to say a few words and unite them spiritually so to speak. I was really humbled that they asked me. To give them their marriage blessing, it was a beautiful moment. Gina and I are very close as we have a lot of similarities in views of the world."
With the show wrapping, what’s next for you?
"I’m going into my next film called Clouds which is based on the life of Zach Sobiech. I made a documentary about him six years ago – seven years almost. My series My Last Days, so I’ll be going to shoot that and also Wayfarer, my company, we’re creating a ton of really cool new content that’s all about helping us remember our shared humanities, inspiring us. So yeah, doing a lot more directing and producing now, and I’m really excited about this next part of my directing."