14 Stars Who Got Real About Being a Hollywood Nepo Baby, From Gwyneth Paltrow to Lily-Rose Depp
A thought that has been silently floating around many pop culture fans’ minds for years has recently been exposed on a niche side of TikTok: Hollywood is run by connections, and more specifically, family ties. From “Emily In Paris” star Lily Collins to supermodel Gigi Hadid, many of our favorite actors, singers, and internet personalities have famous and inevitably well-connected parents.
This phenomenon was highlighted in New York Magazine‘s December 2022 cover story titled “The Year of the Nepo Baby,” which sparked even more discussion around the prevalence of industry vets’ children snatching up major roles in movies and television. The author of the New York Magazine piece, Nate Jones, explains TikTok is where “nepo-baby content” is truly thriving, with multipart series about nepo babies who look like their superstar parents and exposés on people you didn’t know were nepo babies going viral.
As the discourse surrounding nepo babies in Hollywood grew louder, a number of actual nepo babies entered the chat. From official statements in magazine interviews to sharing their thoughts via Instagram captions, celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Zoë Kravitz, Kaia Gerber, Gigi Hadid Kate Hudson, and Maude Apatow haven’t been shying away from giving their perspective on the phenomenon.
Read on for quotes from celebrities with famous parents, commenting on their “nepo baby” status.
Gwyneth Paltrow's Quotes About Being a Nepo Baby
The daughter of actor Blythe Danner and producer-director Bruce Paltrow said, “I had a lot of success really young. As the child of someone, you get access other people don’t have, so the playing field is not level in that way,” she explained. “However, I really do feel that once your foot is in the door, which you unfairly got in, then you almost have to work twice as hard and be twice as good.”
“Now there’s this whole nepo baby culture, and judgment that exists around kids of famous people,” Paltrow said. “She’s really just a student, and she’s been very . . . She just wants to be a kid and be at school and learn. But there’s nothing wrong with doing or wanting to do what your parents do. Nobody rips on a kid who’s like ‘I want to be a doctor like my dad and granddad.'”
She continued: “The truth is if you grow up in a house with a lot of artists and people making art and music, that’s what you know, the same way that if you grow up in a house with law, the discussions around the table are about the nuances of whatever particular law the parents practice. I think it’s kind of an ugly moniker,” she said of the term ‘nepo baby.’ “I just hope that my children always feel free to pursue exactly what they want to do, irrespective of what anybody’s going to think or say.”
Maya Hawke's Quotes About Being a Nepo Baby
The daughter of Uma Therman (“Kill Bill,” “Pulp Fiction”) and Ethan Hawke (“Dead Poets Society”) Maya Hawke didn’t hesitate to comment on having famous parents and acknowledge it has afforded her a level of privilege in show business.
In a September 2022 interview with Rolling Stone, the “Stranger Things” actor said, “I have no idea who I would be if I was somebody else. I feel like the only way to handle the nepotism thing – which definitely gives you massive advantages in this life – is, you will get chances for free, but the chances will not be infinite; so you have to keep working and do a good job. If you do a bad job, the chances will stop. That’s my ethos.”
When asked how she handles comments about nepotism, she said, “I don’t really interact with either the haters or the complimenters very much. I love this piece of advice I’ve gotten, which is that if you read the good reviews, they’re partly true, and if you read the bad things that people say, they’re also partly true.”
Dakota Johnson's Quotes About Being a Nepo Baby
“Fifty Shades of Grey” lead Dakota Johnson‘s parents are Oscar-nominee Melanie Griffith (“Lolita,” “Working Girl”) and television star Don Johnson (“Miami Vice”). Johnson shared her feelings about being born into a Hollywood family with Vanity Fair in June 2022. “My life is incredibly lucky and privileged,” the “How to be Single” actress explained. “And the life I led growing up was remarkable – the places I went and how we lived and what we were able to experience.”
Maude Apatow's Quotes About Being a Nepo Baby
Maude Apatow, known for her role as Lexi Howard in “Euphoria,” descends from Hollywood blockbuster royalty. Born to director Judd Apatow (“This is 40,” “Bridesmaids,” “Bros”) and actress Leslie Mann (“This is 40,” “The Other Women”), the HBO star said the initial comments about her being a nepo baby upset her.
“At first, I was sad, she admitted, adding, “I try not to let it get to me because I obviously understand that I’m in such a lucky position,” she explained to Net-A-Porter in September 2022. “A lot of people [in a similar position] have proven themselves over the years, so I’ve got to keep going and make good work. It’s so early in my career, I don’t have much to show yet, but hopefully, one day, I’ll be really proud of the stuff I’ve done by myself.”
Jamie Lee Curtis's Quotes About Being a Nepo Baby
“Halloween” franchise and “Knives Out” star Jamie Lee Curtis was born to Hollywood power couple Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. Curtis, who recently received her first Oscar nomination for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” made her feelings about being called a nepo baby known in a December 2022 Instagram post.
“There’s not a day in my professional life that goes by without my being reminded that I am the daughter of movie stars. The current conversation about nepo babies is just designed to try to diminish and denigrate and hurt.” She continued, making a nod to other children of celebrities who now work in entertainment. “I am not alone. There are many of us. Dedicated to our craft. Proud of our lineage. Strong in our belief in our right to exist.”
Kaia Gerber's Quotes About Being a Nepo Baby
Model Kaia Gerber, daughter of supermodel Cindy Crawford and model and Casamigos cofounder Rande Gerber, openly acknowledged her privilege in a January 2023 interview with Elle. “I won’t deny the privilege that I have. Even if it’s just the fact that I have a really great source of information and someone to give me great advice, that alone I feel very fortunate for.” Still, she seemed to refute the idea that nepotism in Hollywood is that big of an issue, adding, “Yes, nepotism is prevalent, but I think if it actually was what people make it out to be, we’d see even more of it.”
Lily Collins's Quotes About Being a Nepo Baby
Lily Collins (“Emily in Paris“) is the daughter of British musician and songwriter, Phil Collins. In a November 2022 Vogue France interview, Collins vulnerably shared how she remains self-conscious of how her father’s success may shape how others view her.
“I didn’t want anyone to think that I was using my name as a free pass. I am proud of my father, but I wanted to be myself, not just his daughter,” the actress explained. “For that reason, I was willing to wait for my breakthrough.” She added that she doesn’t take her career for granted, explaining, “I’m not resting on my laurels, this industry is very competitive, and opportunities are hard to come by!”
Lily-Rose Depp's Quotes About Being a Nepo Baby
Model Lily-Rose Depp expressed her disagreement with criticism against nepo babies. In a November 2022 interview with The Cut, the daughter of superstar actor Johnny Depp (“Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “Fantastic Beasts”) and French model-singer Vanessa Paradis said, “People are going to have preconceived ideas about you or how you got there, and I can definitely say that nothing is going to get you the part except for being right for the part.” She continued, “Maybe you get your foot in the door, but you still just have your foot in the door. There’s a lot of work that comes after that.”
Hailey Bieber's Quotes About Being a Nepotism Baby
On Jan. 6, beauty guru and model Hailey Bieber stepped out in a white cropped T-shirt that read “Nepo Baby.” Although she hasn’t commented directly on being the product of Hollywood nepotism, the tee spoke for itself.
Bieber, married to musician Justin Bieber, comes from a lineage of prominent actors. From her dad, Stephen Baldwin (“Born on the Fourth of July,” ‘”he Usual Suspects”), to uncles Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock,” “The Boss Baby”) and Billy Baldwin (“Gossip Girl“), Bieber has been surrounded by connections and entertainment personnel her entire life.
Gigi Hadid's Quotes About Being a Nepo Baby
Gigi Hadid is the daughter of supermodel and reality TV personality Yolanda Hadid. While the high-fashion model and sister of Bella and Anwar Hadid hasn’t commented on celebrity nepotism recently, she has previously spoken out about having built-in Hollywood connections thanks to her parents.
“People say that I don’t deserve to be where I am because I come from this successful family,” Hadid said at a 2018 Reebok event. “My dad was a refugee, my mum was on a farm, went to New York, and worked to send money back to her family… I work hard to honor that.”
In 2022, she opened up a bit more about her family. “Technically I’m a nepotism baby,” Hadid said in a March interview with The Times. “My parents came from very little. I’ve always acknowledged that I come from privilege,” she continued. “My parents told me, ‘Just because you have parents who were successful, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t walk into the job being as nice and as hard-working as you can be.”
Allison Williams's Quotes About Being a Nepo Baby
“It’s just unfair. Period, end of the story, and no one’s really working that hard to make it fair,” she told Vulture in a January 2023 interview. “All that people are looking for is an acknowledgment that it’s not a level playing field,” she said. “It’s just unfair. Period, end of the story, and no one’s really working that hard to make it fair. To not acknowledge that me getting started as an actress versus someone with zero connections isn’t the same – it’s ludicrous. It doesn’t take anything away from the work that I’ve done. It just means that it’s not as fun to root for me.”
Williams continued the discourse during a Town & Country interview the same month, acknowledging that all of the main stars of her breakout show, “Girls” were well-connected in the industry. “[We weren’t] random, like from towns where there’s no one else that has ever broken through, she said. “For someone with no connections to our business to get to the place where I was able to start, skill aside – that’s what people mean. And that’s legitimate.”
Zoë Kravitz's Quotes About Being a Nepo Baby
Zoë Kravitz was born into entertainment royalty: her father is music icon Lenny Kravitz, her mother, Lisa Bonet starred in “The Cosby Show,” and her grandmother starred in the ’70s sitcom “The Jeffersons.” In February 2022, Kravitz didn’t hold back on sharing her thoughts about having a fame-packed lineage with Elle, admitting she was a little embarrassed about it early on in her career.
“There was a little bit of embarrassment around what came with my last name,” she said. “People would always assume that if I got a job, it was because of that. That was hard.”
Still, Kravitz knows that being a celebrity kid afforded her a lot of perks in the industry, and that it makes her want to work harder. “I was incredibly privileged. I got an agent easily. I’m not going to pretend like it didn’t help me get into the room,” she said. “But I had to remember that I work hard, and as a child, I was putting on performances in my grandparents’ house. And it had nothing to do with who my family was. It was because I loved it.”
Now, Kravitz is able to embrace her famous lineage more openly. “I’m proud of where I come from. Now, it’s nice to be in a space where I feel like when people ask me about my parents, I’m not like, ‘Let’s not talk about that.’ I’m like, ‘They’re awesome. I’m grateful to be their child. And I also am my own human being.'”
Kate Hudson's Quotes About Being a Nepo Baby
Romcom queen Kate Hudson (“Almost Famous,” “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”) calls one of the most iconic actresses in Hollywood, Goldie Hawn, her mother. Hudson, who recently starred in the 2022 Netflix hit “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” shared her feelings about nepotism in Hollywood with The Independent in December 2022.
“The nepotism thing, I mean… I don’t really care,” she said. “I look at my kids, and we’re a storytelling family. It’s definitely in our blood. People can call it whatever they want, but it’s not going to change it.”
She continued, “When I was starting out, if anybody asked me about [my parents], I’d always try and change the subject. I really wanted to have my own career. Once I was a good decade in, though, I realized it just didn’t matter.”
Ireland Baldwin's Quotes About Being a Nepo Baby
“The only problem with being a nepotism baby is when you don’t have self-awareness,” Ireland – who is the daughter of Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger – said in a TikTok video shared in August 2022. “Nothing is worse than when someone is born into a famous family or between two famous parents – or one famous parent – and they fail to acknowledge how these doors were opened for them and how they’ve had it a lot easier than other people and they make up this fake struggle.”