Bright Side

11 Celebrities Whose Parents Did Their Best to Contribute to Their Kids’ Success


“It was on my eighth birthday, at Disneyland, that I started to understand what was going on. I wanted to take pictures with the princesses, and everyone wanted to take pictures with her!” that’s how Kaia Gerber recalls the moment she first realized how popular her mom, Cindy Crawford, was. Undoubtedly, just like other characters of our compilation, Kaia is lucky to have her parents.

Bright Side decided to find out which celebrities were lucky to be born into a family where their creative qualities found recognition and support and what life their extraordinary parents had.

Keira Knightley and her modest but talented mother

Keira grew up in a creative environment. Her father, Will Knightley, is a cinema and theater actor, her mother, Sharman Macdonald, is a talented playwright, writer, and director. Not being able to overcome her shyness, young Sharman left her career as an actress after having worked 7 years in television. She dreamed of having a daughter, but her husband was against it because they already had one son. Moreover, they didn’t have enough money and were surviving off of eating only baguettes, lentils, and tomatoes.

Once Sharman had an idea to write a drama for the Bush Theater where she used to work. And her husband made her a bet: if she managed to sell her work, they could have one more kid. The play was staged in 1984, it was a huge success, and the former actress got an award as the best beginning playwright. One year later, future Hollywood celebrity Keira Knightley was born. Her father named her after the outstanding Soviet ice skater Kira Ivanova.

Thanks to her parents, Keira became acquainted with the theater and ballet in her early childhood. At the age of 6, the little actress got her own personal agent.

Michael Douglas and his celebrity parents

Michael’s parents, Diana Love Dill and Kirk Douglas met each other in acting school, but they didn’t get into a serious relationship at that time. However, life brought them together once again: when serving in the navy, Kirk accidentally saw Diana’s photo on the cover of Life magazine. He exclaimed, “I know this girl and I am gonna marry her!” and wrote her a letter. She replied. 6 months later, she agreed to marry him.

And though Michael’s parent’s marriage didn’t last for long, they always kept a warm relationship. It’s thanks to his father that Michael got his first “Oscar.” For his Broadway play, the Oscar-winning Kirk Douglas bought the rights to Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that he gave to his son later. Michael ended up turning it onto a movie that won many prestigious cinema awards.

Michael Douglas with his parents and his son Cameron.

Naomi Watts and her mother

Naomi’s parents divorced when she was 4 years old and she stayed with her mother. Miv Edwards was working as a costume designer and decorator and was performing in the amateur theater. Little Naomi saw her mom during one of the performances and had a strong desire to become an actress. When she turned 14, her family left England and moved to Sydney where her mother signed Naomi up for acting courses. That’s where she became friends with Nicole Kidman and, 4 years later, she got her first role in the movie For Love Alone.

Sylvester Stallone and his strong mother

Jacqueline (Jackie) Stallone is a person with many interests. She became the first woman in Washington to host a TV show dedicated to power-lifting sports and exercises with weights. Later she opened a gym for women. Moreover, she was a perfect dancer, a trapeze artist in a circus, and a chorus girl in a nightclub. And even now, at the age of 98, Jacqueline continues doing power sports.

During labor, Jackie had some complications. Obstetricians used forceps, but injured one of the baby’s nerves, and the boy was born with a paralyzed lower face. This explains Stallone’s slightly fuzzy speech and the sternly unwavering expression on his face.

Ansel Elgort and his creative parents

Ansel Elgort’s career started with the horror movie Carrie (2013) where he had one of the main roles. The actor’s creative future had been predetermined from birth — he was born into the family of photographer Arthur Elgort, who had worked at Vogue magazine for more than 30 years, and opera director Grethe Holby. Ansel’s brother and sister also found their mission in the artistic sphere. At the age of 9, his mother took Ansel to a ballet school, which the boy then attended for 5 years. Their father, in his own way, got them used to camera flashes — he would capture all the moments of their life starting from eating breakfast to taking a bath.

Hilary Swank and her mother

Hilary Swank calls her mother “the inspiration for her acting career and her life,” though Judy Kay worked as an ordinary secretary. At the age of 15, Hilary’s parents broke up. She couldn’t find common ground among her friends and teachers, but had a strong desire to become an actress. She was only able to stop feeling like an outsider after she got into the character of a book or a movie. The only person who gave her support and who believed in her was her mother. In order to make Hilary’s dream come true, they both moved to Los Angeles. They had to live in a car for a little while, until Judy saved up enough money to rent an apartment.

As we can see, this mother and daughter adventure had an amazing outcome — today Hilary is the winner of 2 “Oscars.”

George Clooney and his parents

This celebrity’s father, Nick Clooney, is a famous TV host who was once a judge at a beauty contest. The appearance of one of the participants, Nina Warren, impressed him a lot. Not only did she win the crown and title of beauty queen from him, but he also proposed to her. 2 years later, they welcomed their son, George.

As surprising as it might sound, little Clooney hated Christmas. Every year his father, famous for his kindness, would get many letters from people who had found themselves in difficult situations. Nick would choose one letter and they would buy presents for strangers with the entire family. On Christmas day, they would go see those strangers for an hour, clean their apartment and kitchen, and then give them presents. It wasn’t until they returned home that they were allowed to unwrap their own presents. After becoming an adult, George Clooney realized that his father was a person with a big heart and he started to help people, using his father as his example.

Taylor Swift and her parents

Taylor Swift ’s parents were neither cinema stars nor financial bigwigs, but she is definitely lucky to have them. She has not been involved in any scandals so far and despite the fact that she became famous at an early age, she has never felt the need or tried to prove her “maturity.”

Taylor spent her childhood on a Christmas tree farm where she had the important task of knocking mantis cocoons off of the trees so that the insects wouldn’t get into clients’ homes. Her parents also worked in the financial sphere and their daughter wanted to follow in their footsteps. Her love for country music changed her decision. Starting from the age of 10, her mother would take her to karaoke competitions and at the age of 11, at Taylor’s request, she took her to a different city so that she could make a demo album. When Taylor started to become successful, her father moved to another city to make it easier for her to develop in her chosen field.

Little Taylor with her parents on their Christmas tree farm

Emma Thompson and her parents

According to Emma Thompson, becoming an actress was inevitable. She was always surrounded by talented and creative people. Her mother, Phyllida Law, was a pretty famous Scottish actress, her father, Eric Thompson, was the creator and narrator of a TV program called The Magic Roundabout. Her younger sister Sophie also chose a career in the cinema and theatre industry.

However, it was Eric Thompson that instilled in his daughter a love for this world, and initially, she was not planning to connect herself with theater or movies. Emma enrolled at Cambridge University to study English literature. But her friends persuaded her to become a part of their comic troupe at the university, where she turned out to be the first woman there, and this is when her acting career started.

Ben Stiller and his parents

Ben Stiller with his parents and sister Amy

Ben Stiller’s childhood was spent on stage since birth. He was born to a family of comic actors and his parents had been taking him to their shootings since early childhood. His father, Jerry Stiller, performed together with his mother, Anne Meara, in various TV shows like The Ed Sullivan Show. Their pairing became the most popular spouse comedy duet of that time. When their career started to go downhill, they shifted to acting in movies and in commercials.

Dwayne Johnson and his tough but loving dad

Not only is Dwayne Johnson one of the most successful and highest-grossing actors of all time, but he’s also a 10-time wrestling champion and the winner of many other titles in this sport. He started to take part in battles following the example of his world champion father, Rocky Johnson.

Though Rocky himself taught Dwayne to fight, initially, he was against his son following his footsteps. He knew that participating in battles and regular training was not an easy task. But Dwayne turned out to be a stubborn guy and attained incredible success. Nevertheless, just like everyone else, he had failures at the beginning. During one of them, his father’s heart couldn’t stand it and he himself entered the ring under the stage name of his son, to teach a lesson to his son’s “offenders.”

Here’s what the actor has to say about the role of his father:

“Little boys, by nature, look up to and idolize their old man. They want to be just like them, do whatever they do, and are always looking for their approval. Funny thing is the day I stopped looking for that approval was the day I understood what it meant to be a man and, more importantly, a father. That shift lifted me to a new level of gratitude for the tough love he always gave.
Years later as a man and father of 3 girls, I know that tough love is a helluva lot better than no love at all. I’ll take it. It’s made me who I am today.”

Whose parents impressed you most of all? Did your parents support you and make you feel proud of yourself in your childhood? Please tell us about it in the comments!