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Justin Hartley Says Connecting with Daughter, 19, Is the ‘Best’: 'Another Friend You Can Talk to’ (Exclusive)

The actor shares his teenage daughter Isabella Hartley with ex-wife Lindsay Korman-Hartley

<p>David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty</p> Justin Hartley and daughter Isabella Hartley attend the 25th Annual Critics

David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty

Justin Hartley and daughter Isabella Hartley attend the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on Jan. 12 2020, in Santa Monica, California.

Justin Hartley has a built-in best friend through his daughter, Isabella Hartley.

The actor, 47 — who stars in CBS’s new series Tracker, where he plays bounty-hunter-meets-private-eye — tells PEOPLE in this week's issue that connecting with his 19-year-old, whom he shares with ex-wife Lindsay Korman-Hartley, is an experience unlike any other.

"It's great, I love it. It's the best," Justin says of being a dad. "Having an adult, it's like having another friend you can talk to. She's really wonderful."

"I don't think, for me anyway, being a dad really goes away," he continues. "It's always dad first. I think when she's 30, it'll be dad first."

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<p>Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage</p> Justin Hartley and daughter Isabella Hartley attend a Halloween party held at Universal CityWalk on Oct. 20 2007, in Hollywood, California.

Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage

Justin Hartley and daughter Isabella Hartley attend a Halloween party held at Universal CityWalk on Oct. 20 2007, in Hollywood, California.

Related: Who Is Justin Hartley's Daughter? All About Isabella Justice Hartley

Isabella was born to Justin and Korman-Hartley after the former couple met on the set of the soap opera Passions in 2003. They later got married in May 2004 and then welcomed their daughter just a few months later in July.

Isabella graduated from high school in May 2022 and began studying at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the following fall. "So very proud of my baby girl who’s not a baby anymore. I love you Isabella! Here we come UCSC!! ❤️🥳 @isabellahartley 🦄🎓," Korman-Hartley wrote on Instagram at the time of her commencement.

According to Justin, getting to watch his teenager achieve success in her life — whether professional, personal or academic — makes him a proud father.

"If you had a punch list of things that kids should do from the time they're an adolescent to the time to become an adult, she's hit all of the positive ones," he says. "She's just made it easy on me, so that's good."

<p>Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic</p> Justin Hartley and daughter Isabella Hartley attend the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Justin Hartley and daughter Isabella Hartley attend the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Related: Tracker's Justin Hartley Says He's Finally Found 'Peace' and Wants to Leave the 'Drama on Screen' (Exclusive)

Currently, Justin says he is "a bit reflective, because sometimes I look at her, and then I'll have a memory of the first time ... she was barely able to walk, or the first time she had to put her shoes on ... or the first time she talked."

"It's just hard to believe that's the same person, and it's hard to believe that that was that long ago 'cause it seems like yesterday," he continues. "So it puts things into perspective."

Adds Justin, "You learn to savor every moment and not waste moments on things that just don't matter."

Tracker premieres after Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday, Feb. 11 on CBS.

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