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Craig Melvin celebrates his growing relationship with his father after years of estrangement

·2 min read

Craig Melvin is reflecting on his complex relationship with his dad for Father's Day.

The "Today" show anchor opened up about his distant father, Lawrence Melvin, who battled multiple addictions, in an interview with E! News published Monday.

"My dad was such an enigma to me growing up," said Melvin, who "cultivated that curiosity" as a journalist and used it to inspire his new book, "Pops: Learning to Be a Son and a Father."

"There was just so much I didn't know about him and so much I was afraid to ask."

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"Today" anchor Craig Melvin has written a new book about his complex relationship with his dad.
"Today" anchor Craig Melvin has written a new book about his complex relationship with his dad.

According to Melvin, his father's addiction took a toll on their family, as he recalled teachers and extended relatives stepping in to help. However, Melvin credited his mother, Betty Melvin, for "playing the role of Mom and Dad" and picking up a second job at a pharmacy "to help make ends meet because Dad was losing his battle with gambling addiction."

He added that his family's faith allowed him to persevere through these "dark times."

"It's always been our faith that we can lean on, and we've had to lean on it probably more than we would have liked," he recalled. "Whether it was my niece who died unexpectedly at the age of 3 or my older brother who died a few months ago ... our faith has shaped and molded us in a myriad of ways."

Melvin said attempts to help his father with addiction proved "unsuccessful" until his father decided to "completely change his life in his late 60s" and cultivate a relationship with Melvin and Melvin's children.

"Pops summoned up a strength and courage I didn’t know he had to face down his demons – and his biology – to become sober," Melvin wrote in an excerpt from the book provided to USA TODAY. "It was a game changer for our family. I’m going to be writing about some very tough times that we went through before that, including some episodes I wish I could forget. But there are good memories, too."

Melvin said his book is for anyone who has had to distance themselves from a loved one because of addiction struggles.

"A lot of those folks get written off by their loved ones because people feel like they've done all they can, all they can do and that's where we were with my dad."

He concluded, "The book is for people who have ever come close to giving up on someone they care about. It's for fathers, it's for sons, it's for moms. It's a book about relationships. It's also that classic American tale of overcoming insurmountable odds."

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Craig Melvin talks love, resilience for Father's Day in memoir 'Pops'

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