17 Celebrities You Might Not Have Realised Have Famous Families
Maya Hawke being the daughter of Hollywood icons Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke was a fact that took the internet by storm this year when she returned as the loveable Robin Buckley on Netflix’s smash hit “Stranger Things”. And while nepotism can be tricky waters to navigate when your parents are that famous, Maya hasn’t taken her privileged upbringing for granted.
Speaking of her legendary family, Maya told The Guardian that they “tried to protect me from falling into acting”. The actor, singer, and model added: “They wanted to ensure I had a strong enough backbone, my own passion for it and work ethic. They didn’t want to cart me along every red carpet or have me do bit-parts in their movies.”
Maya has undoubtedly worked hard to make a name for herself. In fact, many people didn’t even realise her background until this year. “Maya Hawke is the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma thurman ???” one person queried on Twitter, while another noted: “Just found out that Maya Hawke is Uma Thurman’s daughter and idk how i missed it bc she LOOKS JUST LIKE UMAAAAA OMG.”
So if you’re behind on your who’s who in Hollywood, take a look at the big-name stars who you might not have realised are from famous families.
Maude Apatow is the daughter of actor Leslie Mann and director, producer, and screenwriter Judd Apatow. With such a well-known and connected family, Maude began her acting career young, playing the daughter of her mother’s characters in comedies “Knocked Up”, “Funny People”, and “This Is 40”. Her work ethic has always been strong, as she told Hollywoodlife: “I always just wanted to do a good job because I care about what my parents think the most. Just from watching my parents, I’ve seen my whole life how hard they work, and that’s what I’ve always wanted to be. Because I know how hard it is, and hard work pays off.”
She is now best known for her portrayal of Lexi Howard, the sister of Cassie Howard (played by Sydney Sweeney), on the HBO drama series “Euphoria”. She will soon be voicing the role of Justine in the AMC animated series “Pantheon”.
Lily-Rose Depp comes from Hollywood royalty. The actor and Chanel model is the daughter of Johnny Depp and French model Vanessa Paradis, so it’s no surprise that “The King” star Lily-Rose spent her childhood attending film premieres and glamorous events across the globe. As a result, the star-in-the-making knew early on she wanted to go into acting, and she has starred in many French films and Hollywood productions. We can next see Lily-Rose in Sam Levinson’s new HBO television series “The Idol” alongside The Weeknd.
Zoë Kravitz is the daughter of musician Lenny Kravitz and actor Lisa Bonet and has spoken about the cons of coming from a famous family.
“There was a little bit of embarrassment around what came with my last name. People would always assume that if I got a job, it was because of that,” she told Elle UK. “But I was privileged. I got an agent easily. I’m not going to pretend like it didn’t help me get into the room. But I had to remember that I work hard, and as a child, I put on performances in my grandparents’ house. And it had nothing to do with who my family was. It was because I loved it.”
Sure enough, Zoë has been a force in the acting industry in the last few years. She held her own against an A-list cast of Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, and Nicole Kidman in the HBO drama series “Big Little Lies”. Most recently, we saw her play Catwoman in the DC film “The Batman”. Utilising all her industry knowledge, Zoë will make her directorial debut in the upcoming thriller film “Pussy Island”, which stars her boyfriend, Channing Tatum.
Hands up if you didn’t realise the actor who played Margaret Qualley’s mother in the limited Netflix series “Maid” was her mother in real life. Yes, Qualley is the daughter of iconic actress and model Andie MacDowell, who recently gushed about her daughter. Drawing on her strict upbringing, MacDowell told Grazia of her daughter: “I didn’t want her to feel restricted like I was. Not that I can take credit for what she is doing because my gosh, I don’t know, she is much braver than I ever was.”
Just like her mother, Qualley is incredibly talented. So much so that her role as a young mother struggling to provide for her daughter while escaping an emotionally abusive partner in “Maid” has earned her an Emmy nomination. She will next be seen in the romantic thriller “Stars at Noon” alongside Joe Alwyn, Taylor Swift’s boyfriend.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen – all millennials grew up with the most famous twins in the world. However, the sisters actively stepped out of the limelight in recent years and, in return, paved the way for the star power of their younger sister, Elizabeth Olsen. However, Elizabeth knew she had big footsteps to follow, telling Harper’s Bazaar: “I always knew that it was what I wanted to do. I just had a lot of insecurities about wanting to do it. I’ve always felt that presence, which made me work harder and maybe have a chip on my shoulder to be over-prepared and disciplined, so I could feel like I’m really earning it.”
Elizabeth has cemented her staying power in Hollywood by starring in various films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. Her work in the miniseries “WandaVision” was critically acclaimed.
Lily Collins is the daughter of legendary British singer Phil Collins. Having grown up with her mother, Jill Tavelman, in Los Angeles following her parents’ divorce, Lily was compelled to forge her career in Hollywood. She has starred in the controversial drama about anorexia called “To the Bone” and the Netflix drama “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” alongside Zac Efron. Most famously, Lily is known for her work in the Netflix romantic comedy series “Emily in Paris”, for which she has earned a Golden Globe nomination for best actress.
Lily has also acknowledged her privilege, previously telling Glamour UK: “I’m so incredibly proud of what my surname represents, for what my dad’s done. And I’m an incredibly proud daughter.”
Hollywood royalty can get no greater than having the King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley as your grandfather, Priscilla Presley as your grandmother, and Lisa Marie Presley as your mother. Riley Keough has very much addressed the privilege that having a famous family has afforded her in Hollywood. Speaking of nepotism, Riley said during Cannes this year: “It helps you in so many ways, it helps you have more resources.”
Riley, whose father is musician Danny Keough, has noticeably steered clear of big box-office smash-hit promises in favour of more under-the-radar indie films, showing off her impressive acting abilities. She has starred in the television series “The Girlfriend Experience” and films such as “American Honey”, “The Lodge”, and “Zola” – earning critical acclaim for the latter. She recently directed and produced the drama film “War Pony” alongside Gina Gammell, for which she won the Caméra d’Or award for best debut feature at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
Dakota Johnson got her big break in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie franchise alongside Jamie Dornan, and her mother, Hollywood actress Melanie Griffith, gushed about the casting at the time. The role was a long time coming for Dakota, who grew up watching her mother and father, Don Johnson, on set. However, when she voiced her ambition to follow her parents into the acting business, her dad cut her off financially. Luckily, three weeks later, she booked her first acting gig in the 2010 movie “The Social Network”.
Dakota, who’s currently dating Coldplay’s Chris Martin, is one of the most well-known stars in the industry today, having starred in critically acclaimed films such as “The Lost Daughter”, “The Peanut Butter Falcon”, and, most recently, Netflix’s “Persuasion”. She’s currently filming Marvel’s “Madame Web”.
Emma Roberts followed in the footsteps of her incredibly famous family and started in the business as a child actor. Emma’s dad is Academy Award-nominated actor Eric Roberts, and her aunt is none other than “Pretty Woman” actor Julia Roberts. Emma was quick to land her own Nickelodeon sitcom “Unfabulous” in 2004 and starred in teen movies such as “Wild Child”, “Nancy Drew”, and “Aquamarine”. She’s now most noted for her work in the horror genre such as “Scream Queens” and “American Horror Story”.
Jaden and Willow Smith
Jaden Smith was only 7 years old when he starred alongside his famous father, Will Smith, in “The Pursuit of Happyness” back in 2006. He also starred in 2008’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and 2010’s “The Karate Kid”. Jaden, whose mother is Jada Pinkett Smith, has since gone on to build a hugely successful career for himself, working as a rapper and singer alongside his acting work. His younger sister, Willow Smith, is also a singer with three albums under her belt. She made her acting debut alongside her dad in “I Am Legend” and received a Daytime Emmy nomination for “Red Table Talk”, a show she hosts with her mother and grandmother.
The Emmy Awards in 2020 were a delight as the cast of “Schitt’s Creek” swept the comedy category, and it was especially lovely to see Dan Levy pick up a gong alongside his famous father, Eugene Levy. If you need some familiarisation with Eugene, he played Jim’s dad in the American Pie films. Luckily, his son, Dan, followed in his comedic footsteps, and he worked hard with his father to bring the sitcom “Schitt’s Creek” to life. Dan went on to star in the Christmas film “Happiest Season” alongside Kristen Stewart, and he will soon be seen in “Sex Education” season four and Sam Levinson’s new series, “The Idol”.
Billie Lourd is the daughter of the late and great Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher. While Fisher passed away in 2016, Lourd has been working hard in Hollywood in a bid to stay close to her mother and her late grandmother Debbie Reynolds.
“Now I wish I could run back and do all of those photo shoots and do anything with them, really,” she said on the “New Day” podcast. “But I guess I just tried to separate myself from them while they were alive, and now I feel like I am kind of trying to do the opposite. I try to connect myself to them because I miss them.”
Billie has made a considerable name for herself by starring on “American Horror Story”.
Deacon Phillipe is the son of Reese Witherspoon and her ex-husband, Ryan Phillippe – and guess what? He’s making a move into the acting business. Yes, he recently appears as popular jock Parker in season three of the sitcom “Never Have I Ever” (created by his mother Reese’s BFF Mindy Kaling), but with his foot firmly in the door, we can expect to see a lot more of Deacon on screen.
Deacon is also a talented musician, and his dad, Ryan, recently said he was “so proud” of his son.
You would be forgiven for thinking that ’90s supermodel Cindy Crawford made a grand return to the catwalks across the globe in recent years. But it is, in fact, her look-alike daughter, Kaia Gerber, who is at the top of her modelling game. Gerber began working at 10 and has since modelled for high-profile brands such as Marc Jacobs, Chanel, and Prada, to name a few.
Gerber has acknowledged her early entry into the modelling industry and inspiration, telling Vogue: “If anyone had a point of reference, I definitely did, and one of the best ones.”
Gerber has also made the transition into the acting world. She has starred on “American Horror Story” and will soon appear in the period comedy miniseries “Mrs. American Pie”. Perhaps she’s getting some tips from her “Elvis” megastar boyfriend, Austin Butler.
Hailey Bieber is a model, a media personality, a social media star, an entrepreneur, the wife of Justin Bieber, and a huge name in Hollywood today. She’s also the daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin and part of the acting dynasty that sees Alec Baldwin as her uncle. Addressing her family history on her YouTube show, “Who’s in My Bathroom?”, Bieber stayed strong as she advised other nepotism babies. “It shouldn’t limit you because what I definitely believe is that nobody in the world, especially anybody that doesn’t know you, should have a negative impact on your path or the decision that you make,” she said. She’s currently focusing on her beauty brand, Rhode Skin.
Maya Hawke is one of the most popular “star children” working in Hollywood today. Yes, she is the daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, but that fact is most definitely an afterthought. We all know and love Maya from her role on “Stranger Things”. She started her acting career in the BBC’s adaptation of “Little Women” and rubbed shoulders with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”. In 2020, she starred alongside Andrew Garfield in Gia Coppola’s film “Mainstream”. She will soon be appearing in the dark comedy “Do Revenge” with Camila Mendes, and she will finally star alongside her mother in the upcoming film “The Kill Room”.