Ryan Gosling was caught off-guard by the rush of love he experienced when he became a father, because he never planned on having children.
The Notebook star shares daughters Esmeralda and Amada with his longtime girlfriend, actress Eva Mendes, but he admits he didn't harbor any big family dreams before it actually happened.
"It's not something I really thought about, or even thought I wanted," Ryan explains to GQ magazine. "I didn't have a romanticised idea of it... It came about in a very surprising and kind of organic way. There was nothing kind of premeditated about it, you know. It just suddenly was: My life had changed. And thank God it did.
"Your whole life, you hear what it's like to have kids, and all the cliches are true," he marvels. "I felt I knew that everything would be different, but until you experience that, there's no way to really know what people mean."
The 36-year-old now cannot imagine life without Eva or his little girls, and his personal life is going so well, he feels like he is living in a dream.
"Eva's the dream mother, and they're dream babies, and it's like a dream that I'm having right now," Ryan gushes. "I'm dreaming it all."
He also credits fatherhood with making him a better man: "When you meet your kids you realize that they deserve great parents," he says. "And then you have your marching orders and you have to try and become the person that they deserve."
Ryan and Eva have been dating since 2011, after meeting on the set of The Place Beyond the Pines. Their eldest child, Esmeralda, was born in September, 2014, and they welcomed baby Amada in April (16).