At a recent birthday party at Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott’s house, Simone Masterson-Horn was sporting a T-shirt that read “Happily Ever After Is Right Now.” It’s the perfect sentiment for her family. Bill Horn and Scout Masterson were friends of mine for years before they became dads through an open adoption, and I always knew they would make wonderful parents. Together with their daughter, they’ve created a life full of love and kindness. “It never really hit home that somebody would look at us and say ‘Daddy’ with all that love in their eyes,” says Bill of Simone, 3. “I always wanted to be a dad, but I still never anticipated you could love someone this much.”
Bill and Scout — who are known as The Guncles on Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott’s Oxygen show Home Sweet Hollywood — are raising a daughter with a lot of spunk. Simone loves Wonder Woman, favors broccoli over chicken nuggets, screams when she sees a hair brush and savors long bedtime stories at night. “When I first met Bill, we traveled around the world and had a really busy social life,” says Scout. “Now that’s all changed. We’ve watched friends go because they couldn’t handle moving dinner up a couple of hours. But we really don’t want to do anything outside our family. This is what brings us the greatest joy. We never knew this kind of love existed, and existed for us.” • Ulrica Wihlborg
Birthday Girl: “Her personality is really coming through,” says Scout of Simone, who turned three this month. “She’s becoming a little trickster! When you’re holding that newborn baby, you never think they’re going to turn into a jokester. She’s very sweet, kind and smart but she definitely likes to pull a fast one on her dads. One thing she loves to do is whenever we leave a room, she jumps in front of us and says, ‘Wait! You have to solve my riddle first!’ The riddle can be anything, but it’s such a cute thing she does to joke with us.”
Simple Moments: “The way she’s holding his hand and walking along, she’s so happy,” says Scout. “I look at this photograph and think, ‘That’s my family.'”
If Dad Says No, Ask Dad: “It’s so fun to see a T-shirt like this!” says Bill. “Everything, from greeting cards to clothing, is always targeted towards a mom and dad family. But there are so many different families today, from single mom and dads to two dads to two moms to grandparents to step moms and step dads…you name it. When we saw this shirt, we laughed and thought, ‘Finally a cool, fun shirt that fits our family!'”
Sunday Tradition: “We have friends over for dinner every Sunday, so on Sunday mornings we go to the Farmer’s Market to pick out what we’re going to cook together,” says Scout. “Simone loves to pick out the vegetables and try all the samples. She’s obsessed with vegetables. I’m not exaggerating! If we make chicken nuggets with broccoli and carrots, she’ll eat the veggies and spit out the chicken! She sometimes eats salmon, which is great. So she’s basically a veggies and fruit and salmon girl.”
Crazy Hair Day: “Whenever we post photos, we tend to get a lot of comments along the lines of, ‘Why don’t you grow her hair long?’ says Bill. “But if you had to start every single morning chasing your child around the house with a hairbrush, you’d know why! She hates to get her hair brushed. It’s pretty crazy. She runs away and screams and hides under the bed. But other than that, mornings are one of our favorite times of the day. Whenever we put her to bed at night, we kind of miss her, so when she wakes up in the morning it’s such a sweet moment. We can’t wait for her to get up because she’s so darn cute and she says really hysterical things during breakfast. She’ll tell you about a dream she had or what she wants to do that day. It’s such a great way to start your day.”
Family Life: “She knows she has two dads and that her best friend [Tiffani Thiessen’s daughter Harper] has a mom and a dad,” says Scout. “We’ve explained to her that kids have different families and that she’s very lucky because she has two dads. We don’t try to hide anything from her. We make the information appropriate for her age. She’s spoken to her birth mother on the phone and we keep a picture of her with Simone when she was born in our dining room. But her birth mother lives on the east coast and has a different family, so she hasn’t met her. So for now, she thinks she’s a cool kid with two dads and that a very special lady had her for us.”
Story time: “She loves books and she loves when we read to her,” says Bill. “We went to a book store recently and she got to pick out two books. The moment we walked out the door, she insisted on sitting down and reading them! So that’s what we did. We read to her every night before she falls asleep. And I always tell her the same bedtime story. It’s called the chicken nugget story and it’s about a special lady who had her as a gift for us.” Says Scout: “It’s Bill’s story, so whenever I tell it to her and I get it wrong she gets mad at me! Then she’ll recite the whole story to me perfectly. She loves it.”
Life’s A Beach: “She loves the beach and splashing in the water,” says Bill. “I like the idea of the beach, but inevitably sand gets in my mouth. The last time we went to the beach a big dog came by and knocked her to the ground. Then, while we were picking her up in a panic, a huge wave came in and our sneakers got all sandy and wet. So going to the beach usually sounds better than the actual experience!”
All Of The Above, Please: “We had to take her to a clinic one night because she had early stages of bronchitis, and when I finally got the prescription it was almost midnight,” says Scout. “I was standing in line at the pharmacy and I saw these and thought, ‘All of the above, please!’ It had been a seven-hour endeavor, so I was tired.” Says Bill: “I totally understand sleep deprivation as a torture technique! We’re not 22 years old anymore. I used to cram all night for finals and function with coffee, but as you get older you need sleep. We knew there would be sleepless nights, but you never realize how hard it is!”
Simone in her “Happily Ever After” T-shirt at Tori and Dean’s home in Los Angeles. Photograph by Elizabeth Messina.
Bill, a top Hollywood publicist and the owner of Marque Communications, and Scout, an Emmy-nominated casting agent, are the founders of Hold My Hand, a non-profit organization that helps people through the adoption process. You can follow Bill and Scout on Twitter at @thebillhorn and @scoutmasterson or visit them at their website.
Photograph of Simone in pink jeans and T-shirt by Elizabeth Messina ©2013. All other photographs by Bill Horn and Scout Masterson ©2013.