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Jake Gyllenhaal’s ‘Incredible’ Nieces Inspired His New Children’s Book

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Jake Gyllenhaal Explains How 'Incredible' Nieces Inspired His New Children's Book Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jake Gyllenhaal. Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Netflix

The inspiration behind Jake Gyllenhaal’s latest project came from within his own family.

The actor, 42, told ABC News that his debut children’s book, The Secret Society of Aunts and Uncles, was based on his own experience as an uncle to his sister Maggie Gyllenhaal’s two daughters, Ramona, 16, and Gloria, 11, whom she shares with husband Peter Sarsgaard.

“I love my nieces,” he told the outlet in an interview published on Wednesday, September 6. “They’re just incredible humans.”

Although he was excited to become “Uncle Jake” upon his eldest niece’s birth, he also found himself questioning what his new role in life would entail. “I think what I started to learn was it really meant whatever she wanted it to mean, you know?” Jake explained. “That became kind of what me being an uncle was and that it’s individual to all of us. But I just loved the idea, also, that to write a book about a relationship that there aren’t really any books written about.”

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The Covenant star went on to praise his older sister, 45, and his brother-in-law, 52, for raising “really great girls” before sharing more details about his relationship with Ramona and Gloria.

“For me, being there for them in whatever way I can, acknowledging the things they’re going through, both good and bad,” he shared. “To know also that as they grow older, I’ll be someone they can come to if they ever need any outside advice, even with their parents, which you know is a really important position for an uncle or an aunt to be for their niece or nephew, so that they can grow and go through their own secret society of aunts and uncles and become great aunts themselves one day.”

Jake also said his best advice for first-time aunts and uncles is the know that “mom and dad are always going to be mom and dad.” He continued: “You’ll always be that outside source that can, you know, encourage safe risk and pushing them to grow in a different way. And hopefully, you can be that. Good luck to you! It’s great fun and actually super easy!”

The Secret Society of Aunts and Uncles hit shelves on Tuesday, September 5, and follows the adventures of a young boy named Leo and his Uncle Mo. Jake cowrote the book with Greta Caruso and it is illustrated by Dan Santat.

Jake Gyllenhaal Explains How 'Incredible' Nieces Inspired His New Children's Book Hannah Goldfield, Jake Gyllenhaal, Greta Caruso and Dan Santat in conversation about ‘The Secret Society of Aunts & Uncles’ on September 5, 2023 in New York City. Dominik Bindl/Getty Images

While Jake is not a father himself, he has been romantically tied to some of Hollywood’s biggest stars over the years, including Kirsten Dunst, Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, Taylor Swift and Minka Kelly.

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Us Weekly confirmed in December 2018 that Jake was dating French model Jeanne Cadieu. “Jeanne is very mature for her age. She’s quirky, smart and loves history, reading; she’s a really great and well-rounded person,” a source told Us at the time. “She and Jake really took things slow, but are now pretty serious.”

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The couple made a rare public appearance together last month at the US Open in New York City. Jake sported a pink button-down shirt during the outing, while Cadieu, 27, donned a white tank top, a pair of jeans and a black baseball cap. The two were photographed smiling together and enjoying Novak Djokovic‘s match against Casper Ruud.

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