14 Celebrities With Famous Parents Who Swear They Made It With Little To No Help

14 Celebrities With Famous Parents Who Swear They Made It With Little To No Help

Recently, the topic of nepotism has been swarming around social media, once again! Some accept it, and some deny it entirely. However, whether you agree or disagree, the truth is everyone is entitled to their opinion, and boy they are giving it! I did some digging, and here are some celebrities who've pushed back:

1. Maya Hawke

The Stranger Things actress is the daughter of Ethan Hawke, and boldly shared her take with the Times on nepotism. She said, "There are so many people who deserve to have this kind of life who don’t, but I think I’m comfortable with not deserving it and doing it anyway. And I know that my not doing it wouldn’t help anyone." She continued, "I saw two paths when I was first starting and one of them was: change your name, get a nose job, and go to open casting roles."

2. Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis, who more recently starred in the award-winning film Everything Everywhere All at Once, addressed being a "nepo baby" at the 2023 SAG Awards after receiving the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor award. E! News reports she emphasizes that she didn't come from much. "My sister Kelly and I were born from love and my father was from Hungary and my mother was from Denmark and they had nothing and they became these monstrous stars in this industry that they loved so much." She continues, "My parents were actors and I married an actor. I know you'll look at me and think, 'Well, nepo baby. That's why she's there' — and I totally get it. But the truth of the matter is, I'm 64 years old and this is just amazing."

3. Dylan Penn

In a recent issue of W magazine, Dylan Penn, daughter of Sean Penn and actress Robin Wright admitted that she could "see being really pissed that I got this role, as someone else," after she was cast in the 2021 drama Flag Day by her father, the film's director. Yet, she followed up defending her craft, saying, "I've been auditioning forever. I've been rejected forever." Dylan also stressed the importance of relationships in addition to talent. "This is the business. It is about who you know. Always. Whether you're the son of Sean Penn or not."

4. Kaia Gerber

In January 2023, Kaia Gerber, the daughter of supermodel Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber, told Elle in an exclusive interview that nepotism exists but has its limits. She stated: "No artist is going to sacrifice their vision for someone's kid. That just isn't how art is made, and what I'm interested in is art. No one wants to work with someone who's annoying, and not easy to work with, and not kind. 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." The American Horror Story actress then went on to express immense gratitude, saying: "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."

5. O'Shea Jackson Jr.

O'Shea Jackson Jr., the son of rapper and actor Ice Cube, who also played the role of his father in the film Straight Outta Compton, tweeted, "I had to get my ass up and make it work." He went on, emphasizing that, "leaving HIS agency and goin to find a team of my own," was one of the hardest parts of putting himself on the map. He ended with the confirmation that his work does and always speaks for itself. "Once the door was opened it was up to me to walk through it and thrive."

6. Lily Allen

Lily Allen, the daughter of actor Keith Allen and producer Alison Owen, tweeted, "The nepo babies y’all should be worrying about are the ones working for legal firms, the ones working for banks, and the ones working in politics, if we’re talking about real-world consequences and robbing people of opportunity." 

7. Emma Roberts

According to E! News, Emma Roberts, the daughter of Eric Roberts, was one of the first celebrities to speak out against the assumption that being Julia Roberts's niece contributed to the success. The Madame Web actress spoke out earlier in her career, saying, "...they talk about nepotism which I think is so ridiculous considering it's obviously not true — because I've auditioned for so many things and never gotten the part. Also, it's like, you know, maybe someone can get you one part, but they can't really get you 10 parts."

8. Elizabeth Olsen

Elizabeth Olsen, the sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, unveiled to Glamour UK in 2021 her awareness that her privilege came young, but she still pushed against it, thinking to herself, "I don’t want to be associated with [Mary-Kate and Ashley], for some reason." She continued, "I guess I understood what nepotism was like inherently as a 10-year-old. I don’t know if I knew the word, but there is some sort of association of not earning something that I think bothered me at a very young age. It had to do with my own insecurities, but I was 10." Though living in the shadows of her sisters' fame took its toll, she didn't let it hinder the pursuit of her vision for herself. She concluded with, "I don’t know how much I processed, but I did think, ‘I’m going to be Elizabeth Chase'...when I become an actress."

9. Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller, son of the late Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, both profound entertainers, took a more direct approach when brought into the conversation, via X, saying, "Diversity is much bigger issue. No question. And I see your point, access is access. So yes. I’m saying that untalented people don’t really last if they get a break because of who they are or know or are related to."

10. Jane Fonda

Being the daughter of a legendary star in Hollywood cannot be easy for anyone because it's a given that all eyes are always on you. This was the case for Jane Fonda, the daughter of Henry Fonda, who exclusively told Harvard Business Review, "I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t getting parts because I was Henry Fonda’s daughter, so I worked harder. Instead of taking one class a week, I would take four, so no one could say I was a dilettante." Sometimes that backfired, but eventually it worked in her favor. "When I had the chance to go to France to make a movie with René Clément and get away from the shadow of my father, I jumped at it."

11. Bryce Dallas Howard

Though some call it nepotism, others call it support. Bryce Dallas Howard, the daughter of Parenthood's Ron Howard, told the Daily Beast in 2021 that "it's a privilege for that person to have success in their own right. But there was no greater privilege than the fact that my dad was supportive of me, empowered me, and showed me respect — real respect — from day one." She continued by saying, "Insecurities can creep up or you'll hear somebody say, like, 'Oh, she only got that because of X, Y, or Z.' But that's very small." In other words, haters are going to hate, keep perfecting your craft, and following your dreams.

12. Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore, the daughter of John Barrymore, could be considered one of those celebrities who was born to shine, even if she didn't want to. Her personality alone sets her apart. The Charlie's Angels actress stated on her talk show that "if you came from a family of lawyers, and someone said, 'Oh, well, her dad runs the firm,' it's like, 'Well, she still took the bar and got here of her own volition.' So as long as we’re not catty about it and celebratory of it, that’s the tone I want."

13. Maude Apatow

In an interview with Net-a-Porter, the Euphoria actress Maude Apatow, firstborn of Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann, admitted her disappointment in being associated with nepotism. "A lot of people [in similar situations] 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."

14. John David Washington

Denzel Washington's son John David Washington weighed in on the conversation in an August interview with Mr. Porter. The BlacKkKlansman actor disclosed that as his career grew, he did notice that "people changed" especially when they discovered he was Denzel's son. However, he never embraced that; in fact, he hid his identity often. "I used to lie, saying he was a construction worker or in jail, just to have some sense of normalcy. I felt like there was no way people would take me seriously, even if I was good."

Do you have anything to add? Let me know in the comments below!

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