Dean Cain revealed that he gave up huge career opportunities to raise his son as a single father.
The 56-year-old actor, who shared custody of son Christopher with his ex-girlfriend, Samantha Torres, from 2003 until he was awarded sole custody in 2011, opened up about the sacrifices he has made in his film and television career to focus on parenthood.
"It affected my career like I can't even explain. I turned down being one of, if not the highest-paid actor on television, for a show that ended up going six years," he told Fox News Digital at a special screening of the 2021 Christian drama film "God's Not Dead: We the People" last week.
He continued, "The contract was very attractive. But I was in the middle of a custody dispute, so I could either be a father or take that job."
"It took me a split second, not even a split second," Cain added.
Cain and Torres were engaged in a bitter 18-month custody battle that ended with the former couple being awarded joint custody of their then-2-year-old son in 2003.
In 2011, the "Vendetta" star assumed sole custody of Christopher, an arrangement that was mutually agreed upon by Cain and Torres so that their son could be raised in one household.
Cain told Fox News Digital that his own experience as an adoptee influenced his decision to prioritize fatherhood over career. The actor and his older brother, Roger, were adopted by film director Christopher Cain after he married their mother, Sharon Thomas, in 1969. Cain's own son, Christopher, is named after his adopted father.
"As soon as I was presented the choice, it was like, 'I'm going to be a dad,'" he said. "My father adopted me when I was 4, and I know how important that was for my life."
He continued, "Nothing in my life has been as big a factor as having my father there to raise me. Fathers in the home is such a huge, important issue here in America and all throughout the world. The statistics bear it out how much more likely a kid is, especially a son, to be in jail or in trouble without a father in the household."
"And I just think it's hugely important, and I would never change what I've done in terms of being a father vs. a career," Cain concluded.
In 2014, the Michigan native starred in Harold Cronk's Christian drama "God's Not Dead". He played the role of atheist businessman Marc Shelley in the film, which went on to become a box-office hit, grossing $62 million on a $2 million budget.
Cain said that he enjoys acting in faith and family films and chose roles in those genres because of his son. He recalled that "God's Not Dead" was one of the first faith-based films that he starred in and Christopher had attended a showing of the movie with his high school class.
"The whole school went and watched it, and it had an effect on all the kids," he remembered. "It really did. This is powerful."
He continued, "I had been making kids' films for a while for my son. He'd come on set and see us running around with a dog, and all his friends watched those movies. They weren't the big blockbusters, but also, I was a single father."
"I couldn't leave for four months. Who is going to raise my son? No, it's not going to happen. So, I did not, and I made films that he could be around. I made different kinds of films as well, but I saw how those affected him, and I was like, ‘This is great.’"
Cain rose to fame when he starred as Superman/Clark Kent in the superhero television series "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," which ran from 1993 to 1997.
The former "Ripley's Believe Or Not" host said that he regularly attends comic book conventions to meet with fans of his iconic character and the show. He told Fox News Digital that he travels to five Comic-Cons a year all over the world and has been surprised and touched by the show's enduring impact on fans.
Cain noted that even though the series was an enormous hit when it aired in the 1990s, the cast and crew weren't able to really see how audiences reacted to the show since social media didn't exist at the time.
He explained, "When I'm at these Comic-Cons, people will come up to me and say, ‘Your show saved my life as a teenager' or 'It's my comfort, my go-to now,' [or] 'I bought it with my grandma, and we watched every episode, and I was able to connect with the characters.'"
"When you hear things like that, you go, 'OK, we've touched a lot of lives,' and it was really a special thing, and it was worth it," Cain said.
"And it was worth giving up four and a half years of your life because that's what you do when you do a series, especially if you are two of the three leads. You're not getting days off."
"So, you are going to work every day, 18 hours a day for nine and a half months a year," he added. "It becomes suffocating, but it makes you feel really good when you know that you had an effect on people in a positive way."
At the special screening event, it was announced that a fifth film in the "God's Not Dead" series was in the works. Cain, along with other franchise stars David A.R. White, Isaiah Washington, Ray Wise, Cory Oliver and Brad Heller, are all set to reprise their roles in "God's Not Dead: Rise Up," which will begin production in South Carolina later this year.
Cain told Fox News Digital that it will be fun for audiences to revisit his character, Marc, and see if he had changed at all since he "had nothing redeeming about him" in the first film.
"He did not get better as time went on," Cain said. "He remained very self-centered and a jerk. And he's the only person I think in the film that had zero redemptive qualities."
"It will be really interesting to see where he is in this one."