40 Celebrities We Didn't Realize Have Famous Parents

40 Celebrities We Didn't Realize Have Famous Parents
Image: J. Countess/WireImage/Getty Images

Chris Pine
J. Countess/WireImage/Getty Images

By now, we know that celebrities tend to be great secret keepers. They secretly get engaged and married -- sometimes without ever even announcing their relationship. They secretly go through pregnancies and give birth, all the while keeping quiet on the important details. Some of them even have shocking criminal pasts and histories of arrest, having spent months (and for some, a few years) behind bars. But, perhaps the one tidbit of information that always manages to catch us by surprise? Realizing that, wait a minute -- the star that we're currently big fans of is someone who has family in the business, too.
For some people -- like Cindy Crawford’s top model daughter Kaia Gerber -- there's just no way they'd be able to keep that DNA on the down-low; the genes are just too strong, and the mother-daughter duo looks too much alike! But for others -- which, more often than not, include a variety of up-and-coming actors and actresses -- a different name and a slightly different look is all they need to make their mark without anyone realizing that their parents are famous actors, actresses, musicians, or well-known directors. They can get through on pure talent alone, and then surprise us when we finally make that connection.

So, that's exactly what we did for 40 stars, who range from up-and-comers to established, A-list celebrities we hadn't properly Googled. Seriously, who knew Zooey Deschanel, Benedict Cumberbatch, and even Amber Tamblyn were celebrity kids this whole time?!

  • Chris Pine


    1
    Our mind was blown when we realized Chris Pine's dad is an actor, too. Robert famously played Sgt. Joseph Getraer on the TV show CHiPs, but he's still popping up everywhere today -- including on the new reboot of Charmed, Veep, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and voicing the bishop in Frozen.
  • Sarah Hyland

    2

    Sarah's dad, Edward, clearly passed down his talents to his daughter. The man is a Broadway actor, and can currently be seen on stage in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

  • Katherine Waterston

    3

    Speaking of Harry Potter, it's worth mentioning that Katherine Waterston, from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is the daughter of Sam Waterston, from ... everything, but mostly Law & Order.

  • Minka Kelly

    4

    Minka Kelly's dad, Rick Dufay, was in the band Aerosmith from 1980 to 1984, taking over for guitarist Brad Whitford.

  • Benedict Cumberbatch

    5

    Both of Benedict's parents are actors (they even played his parents on Sherlock), but his mom, Wanda Ventham, is slightly more well-known than his dad. She was on a British science-fiction series called UFO, and even appeared in a few episodes of Doctor Who.

  • Lenny Kravitz

    6

    We're just going to assume Lenny Kravitz's whole family is famous, since his daughter, his ex-wife, his ex-wife's husband (Jason Momoa) -- and his mom have appeared on screen. Roxie Roker played Helen Willis on the The Jeffersons, and was part of the first interracial couple to be shown on prime time TV.

  • Alexander Skarsgard

    7

    Another one with an acting family! Aside from having a brother, Bill, in the business -- AKA the new Pennywise in It, and "The Kid" on Castle Rock -- Alexander's dad is Stellan. That's Bill Anderson from Mama Mia!, Bootstrap Bill Turner from Pirates of the Caribbean, and Dr. Erik Selvig from the Marvel Universe, for those who need a reminder.

  • Sosie Bacon

    8

    It wasn't until after we watched 13 Reasons Why that we realized the talented girl who plays Skye Miller is the daughter of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick.

  • Alfie Allen

    9

    First, we find out that this guy from Game of Thrones is the brother of singer Lily Allen. Then, we find out his dad, Keith, is an actor, too! While he's mostly big in the UK -- where he's also done a variety of hosting gigs and dabbled in music -- he was in the movies The Others, Trainspotting, and the sequel to Agent Cody Banks.

  • Olivia Wilde

    10

    Olivia's mom is award-winning journalist Leslie Cockburn, who has done investigative reporting for CBS, NBC, PBS Frontline, and 60 Minutes. She also ran for Congress in 2018, as the Democratic nominee in Virginia's 5th district.

  • Grace Gummer

    11

    Those who've watched Mr. Robot, American Horror Story, and The Newsroom will recognize Grace. And those who've watched basically anything will recognize her mom, Meryl Streep.

  • Blake Lively

    12

    He isn't super famous, but Blake Lively's dad appeared on The Dukes of Hazzard and Murder, She Wrote back in the day. He was also in the movie Passenger 57.

  • Jennifer Aniston

    13
    Jennifer Aniston and John Aniston
    Flynetpictures.com/Splash News

    For those who think Friends was a long-lasting TV show, John Aniston, Jennifer's dad, has literally been on Days of Our Lives since 1987.

  • Jessica Capshaw

    14

    Not only is the former Grey's Anatomy star the daughter of actress Kate Capshaw -- most famous for playing Willie Scott in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom -- she's also the stepdaughter of Steven Spielberg.

  • Emma Roberts

    15

    We're all aware that Emma's aunt is Julia Roberts, but her dad, Eric, has more than 500 acting credits himself that include roles in The Dark Knight, Expendables, and the TV show Suits. He even received a Golden Globe nomination for a movie called King of the Gypsies.

  • Lily Collins

    16

    Between The Blind Side and that head-turning Netflix film, To the Bone, Lily's more than proven her talent. That's why it's still shocking when we remember that she's singer Phil Collins's daughter.

  • Gwyneth Paltrow

    17

    Gwyneth Paltrow is an A-list actress and businesswoman, so we often forget that her mom, Blythe Danner, is in the business, too. Blythe is pretty talented herself, and has even received two Primetime Emmys and a Tony for her work. Some of her more memorable roles include Dina Byrnes from Meet the Parents and its sequels, and playing Marilyn Truman on Will & Grace.

  • Maya Rudolph

    18

    Yes, the voice behind the song "Lovin' You" is actually Maya Rudolph's mom! The funny woman is singer Minnie Riperton's daughter. Sadly, Minnie passed away from breast cancer when Maya was young.

  • Laura Dern

    19

    Laura's dad is famed actor Bruce Dern who's appeared in some fantastic films over the years -- including Nebraska (for which he was received an Academy Award nomination), and The Hateful Eight. He's also going to be in this year's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt.

  • Chet Hanks

    20

    Chet, who's been popping up on shows -- like Shameless and Empire over the past few years -- is the son of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. So, it turns out that Colin isn't the only one who inherited his dad's talent!

  • Miles Robbins

    21

    Star-on-the-rise Miles -- whose acting credits include the movie Blockers, the latest reboot of The X-Files, and the latest Halloween -- actually has a mega-famous mom: Susan Sarandon. And his dad is actor Tim Robbins, who won and Academy Award for his role in Mystic River.

  • Max Minghella

    22

    This standout star of Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale is the son of an award-winning director, Anthony Minghella. Some of his more notable credits? The Talented Mr. RipleyThe English Patient, and Cold Mountain.

  • Eve Hewson

    23

    While watching Eve Hewson on The Knick and in 2018's Robinhood, we never would have guessed her dad is U2's Bono!

  • Quincy Brown

    24

    Let this sink in: The main guy from Netflix's cheesy Christmas movie The Holiday Calendar (and Derek on the TV show Star) is Diddy's stepson from the late Kim Porter.

  • Mariska Hargitay

    25

    Not everyone realizes that the star of Law & Order: SVU is actually the daughter of Jayne Mansfield, who was an actress and "Hollywood vixen" in the '50s and '60s. Sadly, she died in an car accident when Mariska was little.

  • Domhall Gleeson

    26

    Domhall's career has blown up over the past few years, thanks to his roles in the latest Star Wars films, Brooklyn, and Ex Machina. His dad, Brendan, however, has been doing his thing for a while now, and can be seen Braveheart, Gangs of New York, and 28 Days Later. 

    The father-son duo also appeared in the Harry Potter movies together, with Domhall playing Bill Weasley and Brendan playing Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody.

  • Amber Tamblyn

    27

    Actress and activist Amber Tamblyn's dad is Russ Tamblyn, an actor and dancer who notably played Riff in the movie version of West Side Story, and Dr. Lawrence Jacoby on Twin Peaks. Most recently, he had a small role as a therapist in Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House.

  • John David Washington

    28

    Even fans of both HBO's Ballers and the movie BlacKkKlansman might not realize that this actor is Denzel Washington's son.

  • Zosia Mamet

    29

    The Girls star likely had plenty of material to work with growing up: Her father is famous playwright, screenwriter, and author, David Mamet, whose well-known works include Speed the Plow, and Glengarry Glen Ross.

  • Candace Bergen

    30
    Edgar and Candace Bergen
    Splash News; Keystone/Getty Images

    The actress's father, Edgar, was not only an actor but a famous ventriloquist.


  • Matthew Broderick

    31

    Matthew Broderick's dad, James, was also an actor. His most famous role was in the film Alice's Restaurant, based on the song of the same name. He also appeared in The Shadow Box, directed by Paul Newman.

  • O'Shea Jackson Jr.

    32

    Obviously, O'Shea looks enough like his dad to portray Ice Cube in Straight Outta Compton, but it was still shocking to find out they were actually related.

  • Natasha Richardson

    33

    The late Natasha Richardson's mother, Vanessa Redgrave, is also an actress with a ton of credits under her belt -- including Nip/TuckAtonement, Letters to Juliet, and Mission: Impossible.

  • Troian Bellisario

    34

    The Pretty Little Liars star has a father who is massively successful behind-the-scenes. Donald literally created the shows NCIS, JAG, and Battlestar Galactica (among others) and has written episodes for each as well.

  • Zooey Deschanel

    35

    Caleb Deschanel is a legendary cinematographer who's been nominated for an Academy Award five times (he worked on The Patriot and The Passion of Christ). His latest project we're excited to see? The 2019 adaptation of The Lion King.

  • Toby Stephens

    36

    It turns out that Gustav Graves from Die Another Day and John Robinson from Netflix's Lost in Space is actually Maggie Smith's (from Downton Abbey, the Harry Potter movies, Hook, etc.) son.

  • Jason Schwartzman

    37

    OK, here's a little fact: Jason Schwartzman's mom, Talia, was Adrian from the Rocky movies, and Connie in The Godfather (Talia's brother is also Francis Ford Coppola).