When the Twitter user @MeriemIsTired noticed that Maude Apatow of Euphoria fame looked strikingly similar to the actress Leslie Mann, she had no idea that she had stumbled upon an open Hollywood secret. Fame, as it turns out, is a family business. Now, the latest generation of nepotism babies, or “nepo” babies, is here to claim the spotlight—with a little help from their parents.
1. They Are “Stranger Things”
Some nepo babies are able to fly under the radar with a subtle name change and a look all of their own. Maya Hawke, however, isn’t one of them. As soon as she kick-started her career as Robin on Season 3 of Stranger Things, fans immediately recognized her distinctive look. She’s the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman.
2. They Aren’t Great Students
Let it never be said that Maya Hawke didn’t have to overcome some obstacles in her life—like learning to chew with a silver spoon in her mouth, for example. During a radio interview, Hawke confessed, “But I did get, like, kicked out of school for not being able to read when I was a kid”. She’s clearly learned to read in the years since. We think.
3. They Can’t Stand The Cold
Maude Apatow has been turning heads in HBO’s Euphoria—but not necessarily because of her acting talents. She’s the daughter of Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann, and she’s known for complaining in the media. Not a great combo. This nepo baby dropped out of Northwestern University in Illinois because, according to her mother, “It was really hard being in the cold. You know, she’s a California girl”.
4. They Famous For Nothing
Maude isn’t the only Apatow riding her parents’ coattails straight to fame and fortune. Iris Apatow, Maude’s younger sister, has found her own spotlight as something of a socialite—and an occasional actress when she feels like calling in a favor. She’s also dating fellow nepo baby Ryder Robinson, the son of actress Kate Hudson and musician Chris Robinson. Of course.
5. They’re 50 Shades Of Famous
Dakota Johnson may be the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, but her parents weren’t her only famous connections—you might say she was 50 shades of famous. She spent part of her childhood growing up next to the fast-living writer Hunter S Thompson. She always knew when he came over—because he announced his presence by firing off a few rounds. Classic Hunter.
6. They Struggle With Depression
Johnson’s life wasn’t all roses. In a 2021 interview with Marie Claire, she opened up about her struggles with depression. “I’ve struggled with depression since I was young—since I was 15 or 14. That was when, with the help of professionals, I was like, Oh, this is a thing I can fall into. I guess I have a lot of complexities, but they don’t pour out of me. I don’t make it anyone else’s problem”.
7. They Even Have Famous Godparents
From her name alone, everyone recognized Lily-Rose Depp as the daughter of megastars Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis the moment she stepped into the spotlight. She also happens to be the goddaughter of Marilyn Manson. Not exactly the greatest male role models in her life…
8. They’re Unique As Rainbows
Back in 2016, Lily-Rose stirred up speculation around her orientation when she posed for LGBT activist iO Tillett Wright’s photo series Self-Evident Truths. Immediately, everyone assumed that Lily-Rose was using the photoshoot to come out of the closet. She wouldn’t have been the first nepo baby to join the rainbow ranks, but she quickly dispelled the rumors.
9. They’ll Date Whoever They Want
In an interview with Marie Claire, Lily-Rose cleared the air. “That was really misconstrued, that whole thing. A lot of people took it as me coming out, but that’s not what I was trying to do. I was literally doing it just to say that you don’t have to label [yourself]…It’s not anybody’s business, because I am going to date whoever I’m going to date”.
1o. They Have No Choice But To Be Famous
Between 2018 and 2020, Lily-Rose dated yet another nepo baby. Bet you didn’t know that everyone’s favorite red carpet fashion star, Timothée Chalamet, was a nepo baby. Between his mother (a Broadway star), his father (a writer), his aunt (another actress), and his uncle (a director and producer), there was no way that Timothée wasn’t going to become famous.
11. They Forge Their Own Path
Tracee Ellis Ross is the daughter of music superstar Diana Ross. Not all nepo babies are Gen-Z! Ross has built a robust acting career for herself, but it’s not like she hasn’t faced obstacles of her own. Tracee suffers from a rare condition called ptosis. But she’s never let it hold her back—even when people were cruel to her.
12. They Get Off With A Wink And A Nod
After audiences made fun of Tracee’s drooping eye at the 2017 American Music Awards, she fired back. “I know y’all make fun of my eyes, you know what I mean? Well, [eff] off, ‘cause it’s not my fault, alright? My body does what it does, I don’t know why… Go ahead, make fun of my eyes, OK? But I think they’re nice, I think they’re so nice, I do”.
13. They Don’t Clean Up After Themselves
Margaret Qualley’s rise to stardom led her to an incredible performance as a cleaning lady in 2021’s Maid. And this was really acting—as the daughter of actress Andie MacDowell, it’s not like she had much experience as an impoverished hourly worker. Qualley was dating actor Shia LaBeouf for a time, but broke up with him after his ex, FKA twigs, made allegations of mistreatment against him.
14. They Are Actually Royal
Like it or not, nepo babies are Hollywood royalty. But some of them are actual royalty. Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, for example, are descended from a Swedish noble family going back to the 17th century. Their parents, Stephen Gyllenhaal and Naomi Foner, are also Hollywood directors and writers who may have given their kids a little boost.
15. They Are Heroes
While vacationing at the exclusive Manka’s Inverness Lodge in California, Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal nearly met with a tragic fate. While they were fast asleep at three o’clock in the morning, a falling tree sparked a fire that engulfed the lodge. After escaping the flames, Jake did his ancestors proud by helping the owner pull valuable objects out of the inferno.
Now, if every nepo baby pulled someone from a burning building, maybe no one would have a problem with them!
16. They Don’t Know Who They Are
Maggie Gyllenhaal made a funny discovery in 2013. When she went to change her surname following her marriage to Peter Sarsgaard, she learned that her actual name wasn’t “Maggie”. Her parents had actually given her the Hebrew name “Margalit”, meaning “pearl”. Then, apparently, forgot to tell her for the first 36 years of her life.
17. They Even Have Famous Stepparents
By now, Zoë Kravitz is one of the few nepo babies whose own shining star might rival that of their famous parents. As the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, Zoë was a shoo-in to the Hollywood A-list. Then her mother’s second marriage in 2017 gave her yet another famous (step)parent—the equally smoldering Jason Mamoa.
18. They Just Want Some Privacy
Lily Collins rose to fame with roles in 2012’s Mirror Mirror and Emily in Paris. But don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that Lily is a nepo baby as the daughter of the famed British musician Phil Collins. The actress has gone to great lengths to keep her personal life private following her parents’ very public divorce when she was younger.
19. They Only Marry Other Nepo Babies
Despite her best efforts to stay out of the headlines, Lily Collins still managed to grab everyone’s attention in September 2020. Lily announced that she was engaged to be wed to the director and screenwriter, Charlie McDowell. If his name sounds familiar, it should. He’s the son of the legendary British actor Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenburgen.
20. They Come From Power Couples
Even if you’ve never watched a soccer game or weren’t born in the 1990s, you almost certainly still know one of the most iconic power couples of all time: David and Victoria Beckham. And you’ve probably heard of their eldest son, Brooklyn Beckham, who has made a name for himself as a former model, media personality, serial dater and… barista?
21. They Have Real Jobs
Let it never be said that nepo babies don’t have real jobs like the rest of us. In fact, some of them have had very mundane jobs. If you lived in or around West London in 2014, then one of them might even have served your coffee. That would have been a then 15-year-old Brooklyn Beckham, handing out lattes for a reported £2.68 per hour.
22. They Are Serial Daters
Either because of his famous last name or his amazing latte art skills, Brooklyn has dated most of Hollywood’s long list of eligible bachelorettes. He was romantically tied to actress Chloë Grace Moretz, models Sonia Ben Ammar, Lottie Moss (sister of model Kate Moss), and Hana Cross, and singers Madison Beer and Rita Ora before tying the knot to actress and heiress Nicola Peltz.
23. They Are Entrepreneurs
Gwyneth Paltrow has had a long and highly successful career—even if you consider that she got her first big break when she was born to Blythe Danner and film producer Bruce Paltrow. Her success as an actress almost certainly got a jump start thanks to her famous parents. But her success in business is harder to explain.
24. They Have Weird Beauty Habits
In addition to her acting career, Gwenyth is the founder of Goop, a “wellness” and lifestyle company. Paltrow derived the company’s odd name from her own initials and some strange advice. “I was told that all big internet companies had two Os in their title,” she claimed. We don’t advise steaming your cooch (Goop actually recommended it), but Paltrow is not wrong about that name thing.
25. They’re Just Carrying On The Tradition
Katey Sagal (most famous for Married…with Children and Sons of Anarchy) is something of a nepo baby herself. Her father was television and film director Boris Sagal, and her stepmother was the early Hollywood starlet Marge Champion. Of course, she has a son, actor Jackson White, to carry on the family tradition of inherited fame.
26. They’re Not Shy To Let It All Hang Out
Jackson White captured audiences’ attention in the Hulu series Tell Me Lies and 2022’s Ambulance. It wasn’t immediately obvious that White was Sagal’s son, however, seeing as though audiences haven’t seen much of his face. “I’ve also been showing my butt in everything I’ve done since my first job,” White confessed in an interview with Esquire. And they say nepo babies have it easy!
27. They Have A Distinctive Look
Tilda Swinton is almost as famous for her distinctive looks as she is for her distinguished career. But there’s now another Swinton making a name for herself in front of the camera. Honor Swinton Byrne, Tilda’s daughter, turned heads for her performance in the 2019 critical success The Souvenir. But the younger Swinton isn’t trying to outshine her mother.
28. They (Mostly) Adore Their Famous Parents
In an interview The Guardian, Swinton Byrne (whose biological father also happens to be a famous Scottish playwright) talked about growing up with her famous mother. “My mum and I are best friends and soulmates, we have the same mannerisms”. In fact, Tilda Swinton kept Swinton Byrne out of school until she was nearly 10 years old.
29. They Love Licorice…And Pizza
Audiences across the world were devastated when the actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman passed away of an apparent overdose in 2014. But fans of the late actor can now rejoice because his legacy still lives on in Cooper Hoffman, his eldest son. The younger Hoffman made a splash in 2021’s Licorice Pizza and we’re eagerly awaiting his next big screen appearance.
30. They Always Team Up
2021’s Licorice Pizza wasn’t just a breakout role for one nepo baby. In addition to Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza brought Destry Allyn Spielberg to the public’s attention. She’s the daughter of famed Hollywood director and producer, Steven Spielberg. And she’s not his only nepo baby. Spielberg really got around Tinseltown.
31. They Just Keep Multiplying
Steven Spielberg is as much of a Hollywood fixture as the Hollywood sign is, anchored into the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s not a surprise then that he has more than one nepo baby doing laps around the entertainment circuit. The musician (and sometimes actress) Buzzy Lee is actually Sasha Rebecca Spielberg, Steven’s daughter and Destry’s sister.
32. They Steal Things From Their Parents
Younger audiences were shocked to learn that one of the stars in the hit HBO series The Last of Us, Nico Parker, is yet another nepo baby. But older Millennials pegged the resemblance to mom Thandiwe Newton from the first frame. As one Twitter fan put it, “The girl from [The Last of Us] is Thandiwe’s daughter!!? She literally stole her whole face”.
33. They Are Just Miniaturized Versions Of Their Parents
Another Twitter follower clued in after a quick search. “I was literally about to tweet out that Nico Parker from #TheLastOfUs should be cast as Thandiwe Newton’s daughter or play a younger version of her in a movie because the resemblance is uncanny. Only to go on IMDb and discover she’s actually her daughter. Had no idea”.
When will people learn—at this point, always assume someone’s a nepo baby!
34. They Only Have To Ask
Try as they might to deny it, all nepo babies have gotten a leg up in the business from their famous parents, deliberately or not. Just take Deacon Phillippe as an example. As the child of Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe, Deacon secured his first role in Never Have I Ever when his mother told her friend and show creator, Mindy Kaling, that he wanted to be an actor.
35. They Are Devastatingly Attractive
If you thought that the ruggedly good-looking hero in 2018’s Pacific Rim Uprising looked familiar, you were right. Scott Eastwood is the son of legendary action and country western star, Clint Eastwood. Unlike most of his fellow nepo babies, however, the younger Eastwood has tried everything in his power not to trade on his father’s fame.
36. They Want To Make It On Their Own
After he graduated high school, Scott Eastwood knew that he wanted to be an actor, just like his dad. But he wanted to earn it. Instead of using his famous last name to land roles, Scott used his mother’s maiden name, Reeves, whenever auditioning. But he wasn’t fooling anyone. He had nepo baby plastered all over his gorgeously chiseled face.
37. They’re Younger Versions Of Their Parents
When Scott auditioned for the lead role in The Longest Ride, the film’s director recognized him instantly. “When he came in, I thought it was his dad 25 years ago,” the director said. “He looked exactly like him. I said, ‘This isn’t going to work. People are going to think it’s Clint Eastwood in the movie’”. He got the role anyway. He’s just that good-looking.
38. They’re Mavericks
Another heartthrob, Lewis Pullman, had some Top Gun: Maverick audience members scratching their heads (in between fanning themselves off, of course). They thought he looked so terribly familiar. Maybe as the younger—and much more chiseled—version of actor Bill Pullman? Not only is Lewis Bill Pullman’s nepo baby, he’s also dating one.
39. They’re All Connected
If the name “Qualley” rings any bells it’s because we’ve already mentioned Margaret Qualley, the daughter of Andie MacDowell, on this list. But she’s not the only MacDowell daughter to use her mother’s fame as a platform. Rainey Qualley is yet another nepo baby from House MacDowell.
And seeing as though she’s dating Lewis Pullman, it’s probably only a matter of time before she has some nepo babies of her own.
40. There Are More Of Them Everyday
If Hollywood is an aristocracy—and, obviously it is—then Debbie Reynolds was its queen. That would have made her daughter, Carrie Fisher, the princess…Leia. But with both Reynolds and Fisher sadly passed, it’s time for Billie Lourd to take the crown. Yup, the American Horror Story star is Reynolds’ granddaughter and Fisher’s daughter.
She’s also married to fellow nepo baby Austen Rydell with a couple more nepo-babies-in-training to round out the family.
41. They Are Up “Schitt’s” Creek
If you watched Schitt’s Creek and thought, “Man, David and Johnny Rose could actually be father and son with those eyebrows”, then pat yourself on the back. Dan Levy is the real-life son of Eugene Levy. Oh, and Twyla Sands, the show’s hapless waitress, is Sarah Levy. She just didn’t get the family eyebrows, but she got the talent.
42. They Aren’t Particularly Happy
The ultimate in “nepo baby entitlement” has to be Jaden Smith, the son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. The controversial star got his start in show business alongside his dad in 2006’s The Pursuit of Happyness. Suffice it to say, the younger Smith is still in pursuit of happiness. And looking in all the wrong places.
43. They Want To Be Emancipated
Jaden Smith first attracted controversy when his father revealed that, at the age of 15, Jaden was seeking to be emancipated from his parents. Was it because his parents’ expectations were too high? No. Was it because he was sick of standing in their shadow? Not exactly. In fact, from the sounds of it, Jaden had it good living at his parents’ house. Too good.
44. They Never Face Punishment
Will Smith confessed that he might have gone too easy on his kids. “We generally don’t believe in punishment. From the time Jaden was five or six we would sit him down, and all he has to do is be able to explain why what he did was the right thing for his life”. Maybe that’s why grew up and turned into the most entitled nepo babies in Tinseltown.
45. They Believe In Conspiracy Theories
Jaden probably would have been better off spending more time at school and less time on set with his famous parents. The younger (and less accomplished) Smith is quite gullible, often believing in wild conspiracies. Most notably, he admitted that he believes a real-world “Wakanda” might actually be out there. Presumably beneath the chemtrails that he also thinks are real.
46. They Have Bad Eating Habits
In addition to believing in wild conspiracies, Jaden seems to believe in wild diets as well. In 2019, the controversial nepo baby had switched to a vegan diet, only to have his skin turn gray. Will and Jada had to stage an intervention to save Jaden’s life. As if a career in Hollywood and merit-less fame weren’t good enough.
47. They’re Desperate For Attention
In 2018, Jaden claimed to be in a relationship with the rapper Tyler, the Creator. There was just one problem. Tyler didn’t agree—maybe he didn’t like gray skin? Later, in one of his songs, Tyler revealed that the whole thing had been a joke, meant to drum up controversy. But that’s enough about Jaden. There are plenty more whiny nepo babies out there.
48. Their Family Tree Is Famous
In 2018, Hailey Bieber married Justin Bieber. But she wasn’t always a “Belieber”. The famous model and socialite is actually a Baldwin by birth. Her father, Stephen, is the youngest of a Baldwin brood that includes Alec, Daniel, and Billy. Despite her high Hollywood pedigree, however, life hasn’t always been easy for Hailey.
49. They Don’t Have Strong Brains
In March 2022, Hailey suffered a health scare that nearly ended her life. She shared the traumatic experience with her fans on Instagram, writing, “On Thursday morning, I was sitting at breakfast with my husband when I started having stroke-like symptoms…They found I had suffered a very small blood clot to my brain, which caused a small lack of oxygen”.
50. They Always Land On Their Feet
Thankfully Hailey made a full recovery from the incident. “Although this was definitely one of the scariest moments I’ve ever been through, I’m home now and doing well, and I’m so grateful and thankful to all the amazing doctors and nurses who took care of me!” But she wasn’t out of the woods quite yet. Not by a long shot.
51. They’re Working On The Next Generation Of Nepo Babies
Later that same year, Hailey put baby bump rumors to bed with another post to her Instagram account. “I have a cyst on my ovary the size of an apple,” she wrote. “I don’t have endometriosis or PCOS but I have gotten an ovarian cyst a few times and it’s never fun”. Along with the caption, she shared a photo of her stomach with a bulge, writing “not a baby” next to it.
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