favorites," Connick says of Porter, who died in 1964. "I'm not concerned about whether people know who Porter is. My goal is for them to come to the theater and leave feeling better."
As exciting as his public life is, Connick revels in his low-key life oﬀ stage. "I'm the most boring person!" he insists. His food guilty pleasure? Frozen fruit to make smoothies. Self-care splurge? Massages. Getaway? His home state, Louisiana.
"I don't really need anything, and I can count the things I need to make me happy on one hand," he says.
Topping his happy list are his wife of 25 years, former model Jill Goodacre Connick, 55, and their three daughters: Georgia, 23, a film student at New York University; the fashion designer, Kate, 22; and Charlotte, 17, who is homeschooled and travels with him so she can see the world.
"It's an incredible luxury to be surrounded by women and have their perspective," he says. "So much responsibility falls on the woman's shoulders just by virtue of being a woman. It's important to be in tune with them."
His wife, he notes, volunteered to give up her career to be a full-time mom. She was a Victoria's Secret model so famous that she appeared as herself on a memorable early episode of Friends.
They met in February 1990 at an L.A. hotel, where he spotted her walking by the pool. "I don't know about her, but it was love at first sight for me."
Years ago, the couple uprooted from NYC to New Canaan, Conn., so they could raise their kids "with more elbow room."He says with pride that they remain a close unit. During a dark time in 2012, when Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer, they rallied together in support. (She's been in remission since 2013 and is "doing great.")
Born to Play PIANO AT
Connick admits that he often muses on the origins of his musical gifts. His mother, an attorney and Louisiana Supreme Court Justice, played the flute. (She died of ovarian cancer in 1981.) His grandmother was a singer. His uncle was a composer. Connick's father, now 93, was a district attorney of Orleans Parish from 1974 to 2003. "My dad just told me this story about the time he was in the Navy during World War II," he says. "He decided to get on the mic and sing on the battleship while they were out at sea. His captain said to him, 'What are you doing?'"
He also credits his New Orleans upbringing, where live music was everywhere. "I was interested in music at an early age, and it was the only thing that came easily to me," he says. At age 9, he performed Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the New Orleans Symphony. He takes his phone out of his pocket and scrolls to a throwback photo of him at 8, smiling and mop-topped and sitting at a piano next to grizzled jazz veterans in Preservation Hall.
Connick got his first taste of mass market success in 1989 when he covered memorable tunes such as "It Had to Be You" for the soundtrack of the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally. It led to his first Grammy. With a handsome face to match the smooth vocals, he was soon cast in movies and TV shows.
In 2010, he agreed to be a mentor on the hit singing series American Idol and, four years later, served as a judge