Screen heart-throb Chad Michael Murray has deemed his father his idol because he raised five children alone when his wife abandoned their family.

REX MURRAY SR, an air traffic controller in Buffalo, New York, raised the 22-year-old FREAKY FRIDAY star and his three brothers and one sister alone after Murray's mother left the family when he was just 10 years old.

He says, "My pops is awesome. I idolise my father. He's one of the strongest men I've known.

"My dad says it builds character. I idolise my father more than anybody and I feel like if I can be half as strong as my father was then I'm doing an alright job."

And Murray admits he's never been able to build a relationship with his mother, who remains estranged from him to this day.

He adds, "She came back about eight years later. I was 18 years old and I had already moved out to LA. I just didn't recognise the same person. It's tough, but you know what? I've got a great dad and great bunch of siblings."

The situation has also helped Murray in his TV series One Tree Hill, where his character is a young man close to his mother after his father abandoned the family.

He says, "I took (the role) because it was something that I felt like I could bring the truth to and explain how characters and human beings can deal with being abandoned and being left.

"It's usually the father, as everyone hears, but I don't think that that's necessarily true. My mother left five kids and it was hard on all of us and we all dealt with it differently, but I feel like I've been able to sit back and learn lessons from it."

15/07/2004 02:17