In today’s society, the term nepotism has garnered negative connotations. And people have become obsessed with labeling successful children, who also have successful parents, as “nepo babies.”
It’s the reason why so many people with successful relatives choose to change their professional monikers. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s daughter did it after following in her father’s WWE footsteps.
And now, Malia Obama, daughter of former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama, is doing it.
Malia has dreams of making it big in Hollywood and she’s off to an incredible start. Late last year, a short film Malia worked on as a director was announced as one of the few to be shown at Sundance.
And people were quick to catch her subtle name change in the credits.
Professionally, Malia doesn’t want to be known as Malia Obama, regardless of the status and weight her last name carries. Instead, she wants to be credited as Malia Ann.
Here are more celebrities with “nepo baby” status:
25 Surprising Celebrities That Most People Don’t Know Are Nepo Babies
Nepotism in the entertainment industry has always been a hot topic of discussion. Many believe it’s unfair for people with connections to get a head start in their careers. In contrast, others argue that it’s simply a matter of networking and using available resources. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, there’s no denying that there are many celebrities out there who have benefited from their family connections. But what about those surprising celebrities who most people don’t know are “nepo babies“?
In this post, we’ll look at 25 celebrities who were born into Hollywood royalty or have close ties to famous parents. These individuals have managed to carve out their own successful careers in the entertainment industry, despite the inevitable challenges of being labeled a “nepo baby.” From musicians and actors to directors and writers, this list proves that talent can take you far, but familial connections will take you further.
Model and actor Kaia Gerber has one of the most famous faces in the world to call mom, Cindy Crawford.
The 1975’s Matt Healy has a very famous mum. The singer was born to Denise Welch, who is a respected actor and a panelist on the UK’s Loose Women, which is essentially their version of The View.
Actor Wyatt Russell comes from a Hollywood dynasty. That might be an overstatement, but Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell are his parents.
Star Wars director JJ Abrams and singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams are father and daughter. Apologies, we were unable to find a photo of the two together. Maybe Gracie doesn’t want to advertise her famous dad.
Actor and singer Ben Platt is the son of Hollywood super-producer Marc Platt. Marc is credited on countless films, including Dear Evan Hanson.
Lily Collins, of Emily in Paris fame, is the daughter of Genesis frontman Phil Collins.
Fifty Shades of Grey‘s Dakota Johnson is Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson‘s daughter.
Actor Jack Quaid also comes from two high-profile Hollywood names, Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid.
Brandy and Ray J
Singer Willie Norwood passed some talent along to two of his children, singers Brandy and Ray J.
Actor Charlie Hall is the son of none other than Julia Louis-Dreyfus (icon) and film director Brad Hall.
Actor Zoey Deutch is the daughter of Back to the Future‘s Lea Thompson. Her father is in the business as well. Howard Deutch is a producer and film director.
If you enjoyed the excellent Netflix series Maid, Margaret Qualley and Andie MacDowell play daughter and mother. Did you know that they are also mother and daughter in real life? Margaret’s father, Paul Qualley, also spent plenty of time in front of the camera as a model.
Talent runs in the family! Actor and musician Maya Hawke comes from two very famous parents, Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman.
Zooey and Emily Deschanel
Famous sisters Emily and Zooey Deschanel have parents in the industry. Their father, Caleb Deschanel, is an Oscar-nominated cinematographer, and their mother, Mary Jo, is an actor who appeared in Twin Peaks.
“Ex’s & Oh’s” singer Elle King is the daughter of comedian Rob Schneider and actor London King.
Hilarious actor Rashida Jones is the daughter of music legend Quincy Jones and supermodel Peggy Lipton.
John David Washington
Can you imagine being the son of one of the most celebrated actors of all time? That is Former pro football player-turned-actor John David Washington‘s reality. He is the son of Denzel Washington.
Lily Allen was born to two entertainment insiders in the UK. Her mother, Alison Owen, is a prolific film producer, and her father, Keith Allen, is a Welsh actor.
Top Gun: Maverick star Lewis Pullman is Bill Pullman’s son. His mother, Tamara Hurwitz, is a celebrated modern dancer and choreographer.
The Don’t Worry, Darling actor Sydney Chandler is the daughter of actors Katherine and Kyle Chandler.
If you watched The Last of Us and thought that the actor who played Sarah Miller looked familiar, you would be correct. Nico Parker is the daughter of actor Thandiwe Newton and Ol Parker. Ol is a writer, director, and producer, and he is behind the mega-hit Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
Sosie Bacon seems to show up in everything these days. Her most recent success was in the horror hit Smile. She is the daughter of actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick.
Singer Robin Thicke is the son of Alan Thicke of Growing Pains fame. His mother Gloria Loring is a singer and actor best known for a six-year turn on Days of Our Lives.
Actor Laura Dern is absolutely fantastic in everything she’s in. The same is true for her mom! Diane Ladd has over 200 credits under her belt. Some of her most celebrated performances can be found in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Wild at Heart, and Rambling Rose.
Girls alum Zosia Mamet has some very accomplished parents; when we say very, we mean VERY. Her father is Pulitzer Prize-winning David Mamet, a playwright, film director, and author. Her mother, Lindsay Crouse, is a beloved actor on stage and screen.
In conclusion, nepotism has been an age-old practice in Hollywood and the entertainment industry. While there’s no denying that it has its downsides, it’s also important to acknowledge that many individuals have worked hard to establish themselves in their respective fields despite their family connections.
For even more celebrity content, keep reading. We’ve got a list of famous folks who married “normals” to share with you!
Discover the Celebrities Who Got Hitched to Normals Below:
Jon Bon Jovi and Dorothea Hurley
Jon Bon Jovi and Dorothea Hurley were high school sweethearts before they got married. The couple has been together 40 years and married for 31 of those years. In a 2020 interview with People, Bon Jovi named “mutual respect” as the key factor in their successful relationship. And it’s been a fruitful one! The pair have four children together.
When Hurley was asked about the early days of their relationship she had a gut feeling about the fame that her husband would find. ″I always said I was good at spotting potential too,” she explained to People. “I have a gift.”
Ellen Pompeo and Chris Ivery
If you have ever needed a reason to put a little effort into getting ready before making a run to the grocery store, let Ellen Pompeo inspire you. She met her future husband, Chris Ivery while shopping for groceries. The Grey’s Anatomy star and music producer struck up a conversation that would later bloom into a relationship and finally romance. Fun fact: both are from Boston but their paths did not cross until they were both living in Los Angeles.
Matt Damon and Luciana Barroso
While filming 2003’s Stuck on You in Miami, Matt Damon first caught glimpse of Luciana Barroso who was working at a bar where he and cast members were hanging out. He later told Ellen Degeneres about the encounter saying that he “literally saw her across a crowded room.” He also described their meeting as one of fate.
The couple has four children and celebrated their 15th anniversary in 2020. One of the secrets to their relationship, Damon shared with Vogue, is that he and Barroso have a pact to never be apart for more than two weeks. We’re not sure how that’s even possible with his grueling filming schedules but if it’s working, it’s working!
Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth
Reese Witherspoon shared with Elle that she met her current husband, talent agent Jim Toth, when he rushed in to rescue her from a drunk admirer at a house party. In fact, it was Toth’s friend who was embarrassing himself by talking to Witherspoon. That’s such a normal meet-cute. Withing the same year that they met, in 2011, Toth proposed to Reese. Her kids from a previous marriage to Ryan Phillipe even participated in the wedding. The couple welcomed their son, Tennessee James, in 2012
Witherspoon is known today not just as an actor but as a powerhouse producer with her own production company, Hello Sunshine. She credits her husband for believing in her vision and helping her find the confidence to branch out from acting.
Julianna Margulies and Keith Lieberthal
Julianna Margulies married a “normal” but, in all fairness, her normal looks like a movie star. Her partner Keith Lieberhal looks like he plays a lawyer on TV but he’s actually a practicing attorney. Margulies explained to Ellen DeGeneres in 2011 that the connection was “immediate.” And, they met by chance!
“I met my husband at a dinner party that I wasn’t going to go to through an agent I didn’t sign with,” The Good Wife actor shared. “I just started a Broadway show so I didn’t want to stay out late. Famous last words. I went, and there was Keith.”
The couple got married in 2007 and have one son, Kieran, who they welcomed in 2008.
Julia Roberts and Danny Moder
Superstar Julia Roberts also married a normal, sort of. He’s also in the entertainment industry, so a little less normal than most folks. Roberts met a cinematographer, Danny Moder when he was a camera operator on The Mexican. The rest is history! After 20 years of marriage and three kids, the couple is still going strong. However, they’re extremely hush-hush about their private life so not a ton is known about their romance.
George Lucas and Mellody Hobson
Star Wars creator George Lucas married “an investment guru,” which may be an understatement. Mellody Hobson is the president of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based financial firm, and sits on the board of a plethora of companies and charities. She has a stellar reputation in Chicago and is not seen as a normal there. She’s also the mother to their daughter, Everest, who was born in 2013, the same year that the couple got married.
Jon and Tracey Stewart
While making the 1997 film, Wishful Thinking, a production assistant for the film arranged for a blind date between Jon Stewart and Tracey McShane. For those of you out there that don’t think blind dates are worth it, think again! The couple hit it off and were married by 2000. The couple are proud parents to two children. Tracey (now Stewart) is an animal activist and she runs a preserve in upstate New York.
Kevin and Danielle Jonas
Joe Jonas married Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner, and Nick Jonas calls international star Priyanka Chopra his wife, which makes Kevin Jonas a bit different from his younger brothers. He was the first Jonas brother to marry and he wed hairdresser Danielle Deleasa in 2009. The Jersey girl did not stay a normal for long. She would soon become very recognizable thanks to the reality series, Married to Jonas.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita
Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband, lawyer Justin Mikita, have two different first meeting stories. Ferguson shared that, though they’ve used the answer “through mutual friends,” the pair actually hit it off at the gym. They’ve been married since 2013, in a ceremony officiated by none other than playwright Tony Kushner (very much not a normal). The couple has a son named Beckett who was born in 2020.
Terry Crews and Rebecca King-Crews
Nine-Nine star Terry Crews has been with his wife Rebecca King-Crews throughout his rise to fame. The pair got married in 1989 and have five kids. King-Crews is a musician by trade, so she knows exactly what the entertainment industry is like. Their shared experience as well as their commitment to marriage maintenance, including a 90-day “no sex” pact to reconnect in other ways, have kept their bond rock solid for over 30 years. We should all be so lucky!
Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied
An Academy Award isn’t all Natalie Portman got from her time starring in the 2010 drama Black Swan. Portman also got a husband out of the experience. She and dancer Benjamin Millepied, who choreographed her routines, hit it off on set (so he’s normal-adjacent). In 2011, she dedicated her Oscar to her “beautiful love” and their then-newborn son, Aleph.
They married in 2012 and welcomed their daughter Amalia in 2018. Millepied continues to direct the LA Dance Project, a company that he founded.
Cynthia Nixon and Christine Marinoni
Cynthia Nixon has no doubt been inspired in her public advocacy work by her wife, Christine Marinoni. Marinoni is an education activist and the previous director of New York City’s Alliance for Quality Education, an organization with a mission to ensure that public schools have the resources they need. What a great cause!
Marinoni gave birth to the couple’s son, Max, in 2011 and has been outspoken about the miscarriages she endured prior to that. The pair married in 2012.
Lisa Kudrow and Michel Stern
Many of the cast of Friends went on to marry other celebrities in the entertainment industry but Lisa Kudrow chose another path. In fact, she fell in love with someone out of the business entirely, French advertising executive Michel Stern. That’s not exactly normal but who couldn’t love an ad exec?
They wed in 1995, and when she became pregnant with their only son Julian Murray, it was written into the show (Phoebe was a surrogate for her brother). The secret to the couple’s long run, Kudrow told Glamour, is that they don’t make promises they can’t keep, like feeling the same way about each other forever. “But we are promising to work on whatever problems come up,” she explained. “We’re committed to our marriage working.”
Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego-Saldana
An injury prevented Marco Perego-Saldana from having a professional soccer career (he’s almost normal, oka?). But, thankfully, it allowed him to find his other passion: art and probably the other love of his life. It’s unclear exactly when he met Guardians of the Galaxy hero Zoë Saldana, but the world found out that they had married in secret in 2013, Oprah Magazine reported, and that Perego-Saldana had progressively taken his wife’s last name. They now have three boys, including a set of twins, who they’re striving to raise in a gender-neutral environment, according to Us, which includes parents sharing housework and other stereotypically gendered domestic tasks.
Seth Meyers and Alexi Ashe
Once upon a time… In 2008, human rights lawyer Alexi Ashe went with her sister, who worked in set design on Saturday Night Live, to former cast member Chris Kattan‘s wedding. That’s where the show’s head writer, Seth Meyers, another guest, first saw her. The late-night host got hitched in 2013, and the pair balance their hectic schedules while raising three children: Adelaide, Ashe, and Axel.
Alexi Ashe fights human trafficking as a Brooklyn district attorney. She might be a normal but she is a superhero to many, no doubt.
Paul Rudd and Julie Yaeger
It never hurts to be kind! In 1995, an on-the-rise Paul Rudd traveled to New York and went straight to the office of his new publicist. Julie Yaeger, who worked in the same firm, was there to give a helping hand. She offered to store his luggage so he wouldn’t be late for an audition. Eight years after that, they got married, and 26 years and two kids later, they’re still together. She left her normal status behind and branched out by writing the screenplay for the 2017 film, Fun Mom Dinner.
Eddie Redmayne and Hannah Bagshawe
Eddie Redmayne and his wife Hannah Bagshawe were friends for over a decade before taking their normal friendship to a whole new level. The couple met while attending a charity event while in boarding school (how British!). Their friendship finally blossomed into a romance after Bagshawe visited Redmayne on set while he was filming Les Misérables. Those sweet vocals must have done the trick! The couple eventually wed in 2015 and they are parents to two children: Luke and Iris.
Aaron and Lauren Paul
Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul and his wife Lauren (née Parsekian) have a pretty magical first kiss story. The actor told Jimmy Kimmel that it happened on a Ferris wheel at Coachella, the California music festival where they first met. In 2018, they welcomed their daughter, Story Annabelle, ET reported. In March 2022, they welcomed their second child, Ryden Caspian. In her professional life, Lauren co-founded the Kind Campaign, a non-profit organization that combats bullying among young girls. She might be a normal but she’s fostering needed change as bullying is a terrible blight.
Wanda Sykes and Alex Niedbalski
Comedy legend, Wanda Sykes first spotted her future wife, Alex Niedbalski, while taking a ferry. You can’t get much more normal than that, right? Soon after, a friend introduced Sykes to a French woman who could help Sykes find the right granite countertops for her kitchen remodel. That French woman was none other than Niedbalski. The pair got married in 2008, and Sykes came out to the public just one month later. Together, they have 11-year-old twins: Olivia and Lucas.
Ken Jeong and Tran Ho
Before Ken Jeong was famous for his roles in Community and Dr. Ken, he was an actual doctor, a general physician, and that’s how he met his wife, also a physician, Tran Ho. The couple met at a singles mixer for doctors. You know just normals doing normals’ stuff. Speaking to NPR, Jeong said that he was offered his role in The Hangover while Ho was being treated for Stage 3 breast cancer and that she encouraged him to take the role and not feel guilty about it. She’s been cancer-free for a decade, and the couple share two children: Zooey and Alexa.
Gal Gadot and Yaron Varsano
Wonder Woman‘s Gal Gadot has been married to normal, Yaron Varsano, a real estate developer, for 14 years. In an interview with Glamour, she shared that they met “at this very strange party in the Israeli desert”—all about wellness and holistic healing. They weren’t into the overall vibe, but it turned out they were into each other. On their second date, Varsano told Gadot that he knew he wanted to marry her eventually. His wish came true and the couple have had three kids together through the years: Daniella, Alma, and Maya.
Meryl Streep and Don Gummer
American treasure, Meryl Streep, has something in common with her spouse, Don Gummer, they are both artists (not exactly normal, but you know). The three-time Academy Award-winning actress married the sculptor in 1978. They met when Streep was grieving her boyfriend, John Cazale, who died of lung cancer.
According to Michael Schulman’s Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, as reported by People, Streep had to leave the apartment she and Cazale shared, which led to a romance that would end up spanning decades. To help her move, Streep’s brother brought along a friend: Gummer. Though her family worried that she’d moved on too quickly, Streep and Gummer have been married for 43 years and have four children. Each of the children has chosen a life of not normalcy and all have careers in entertainment.
Christian Bale and Sibi Blažić
Oscar-winner Christian Bale met his future wife, Sibi Blažić, through his friend, Winona Ryder (totally normal). The circumstances weren’t all that glamorous on Blažić’s part. At the time, she was working as Ryder’s personal assistant, Marie Claire reported. In addition to being an assistant, she was also trying to launch a career in modeling. She and Bale have been married since 2000 and have two children, but don’t expect to hear many more details about how they fell in love or much else. They are incredibly private about their personal lives and the lives of their kids.
Patrick Dempsey and Jillian Fink
Another Grey’s Anatomy actor to grace this list, Patrick Dempsey, and his makeup artist wife Jillian Fink met when Dempsey came into Fink’s salon for a haircut. However, they very nearly called it quits a few years ago. Before they decided to end things for good, they called off their divorce and made another go of it. “I didn’t feel like we had done all the work. And we both wanted to do that work,” Dempsey told People in 2016.
He credited counseling for helping their family, which includes three children, get through the rough patch, and in 2019, the pair celebrated their 20th anniversary.
- 1 25 Surprising Celebrities That Most People Don’t Know Are Nepo Babies
- 1.1 Kaia Gerber
- 1.2 Matt Healy
- 1.3 Wyatt Russell
- 1.4 Gracie Abrams
- 1.5 Ben Platt
- 1.6 Lily Collins
- 1.7 Dakota Johnson
- 1.8 Jack Quaid
- 1.9 Brandy and Ray J
- 1.10 Charlie Hall
- 1.11 Zoey Deutch
- 1.12 Margaret Qualley
- 1.13 Maya Hawke
- 1.14 Zooey and Emily Deschanel
- 1.15 Elle King
- 1.16 Rashida Jones
- 1.17 John David Washington
- 1.18 Lily Allen
- 1.19 Lewis Pullman
- 1.20 Sydney Chandler
- 1.21 Nico Parker
- 1.22 Sosie Bacon
- 1.23 Robin Thicke
- 1.24 Laura Dern
- 1.25 Zosia Mamet
- 2 Discover the Celebrities Who Got Hitched to Normals Below:
- 2.1 Jon Bon Jovi and Dorothea Hurley
- 2.2 Ellen Pompeo and Chris Ivery
- 2.3 Matt Damon and Luciana Barroso
- 2.4 Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth
- 2.5 Julianna Margulies and Keith Lieberthal
- 2.6 Julia Roberts and Danny Moder
- 2.7 George Lucas and Mellody Hobson
- 2.8 Jon and Tracey Stewart
- 2.9 Kevin and Danielle Jonas
- 2.10 Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita
- 2.11 Terry Crews and Rebecca King-Crews
- 2.12 Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied
- 2.13 Cynthia Nixon and Christine Marinoni
- 2.14 Lisa Kudrow and Michel Stern
- 2.15 Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego-Saldana
- 2.16 Seth Meyers and Alexi Ashe
- 2.17 Paul Rudd and Julie Yaeger
- 2.18 Eddie Redmayne and Hannah Bagshawe
- 2.19 Aaron and Lauren Paul
- 2.20 Wanda Sykes and Alex Niedbalski
- 2.21 Ken Jeong and Tran Ho
- 2.22 Gal Gadot and Yaron Varsano
- 2.23 Meryl Streep and Don Gummer
- 2.24 Christian Bale and Sibi Blažić
- 2.25 Patrick Dempsey and Jillian Fink
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