Even the rich and famous are still at risk of being the black sheep of the family. Celebrity status won’t save anyone from that. The truth is, celebrities are just like the rest of us. They have crazy aunts, drunk uncles, abusive fathers, and intrusive mothers. They aren’t exempt from drama over Thanksgiving dinner, and they fare much better when they don’t try to hide this fact.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that some of the world’s most famed actors, actresses and singers have muddied waters when it comes to their family life and upbringing. Where do you think they get the gumption and depths of emotion to pull off songs like Christina Aguilera’s Hurt? Many of these artists have admitted to drawing inspiration from their personal experiences growing up.
So, who are they? How did they get to where they are today with such a rocky past with their family? Did those struggles help or hinder them along the way? Where do they stand today on the issue, and what kind of pain have they endured having to cut ties with their blood? For many, it was a necessary choice between staying attached or facing ruin, suffocation, and heartbreak.
To his parents, he was just Marshall Mathers. It’s hard to say what Eminem has up his sleeve for the future, but his past has been pretty damaging when it comes to his mother, Debbie. In 1999, he released an album titled The Slim Shady LP. With song lyrics like, “I just found out my mom does more dope than I do,” it wasn’t any wonder that his mom proceeded to sue the artist for a cool ten million dollars for slandering her name.
The story with Marshall’s father is much simpler. He walked out. When Mathers was just two-years old, his dear old dad cut all ties and left his family for supposedly greener pastures. Years ago, his father, Marshall Mathers, Jr, actually published a letter addressed to his son in the newspaper. He explained his side of the story and blamed Eminem’s mother for keeping his son from him, but Eminem didn’t buy it. He claims he never intends to meet his pops.
14 Kate Hudson
Most of the time, people are so busy comparing Kate Hudson to her mother, Goldie Hawn, that they don’t stop to think twice about her last name and where it came from. Despite the fact that Goldie has been shacking up with Kurt Russell for 34 years now, it is clear that Kate is 38-years old.
Yep, that’s right. Kurt Russell is not Kate Hudson’s father, and that’s never been a secret. Instead, her biological father is Bill Hudson, a musician known for his vocals in The Hudson Brothers band. The thing is, he was never in the picture. He wasn’t the kind of dad that came around for holidays and surprise vacations. He didn’t try to see her on summer break. He wasn’t concerned with making sure he wished her happy birthday each year.
Kate has spoken on the topic a few times during interviews, and while some might mark her as bitter, we think she’s just honest. One thing is for certain. She’s grateful for the man who has been a dad to her all these years when he didn’t have to be: Kurt Russell.
13 Heather Graham
If there was ever a celebrity whose life could be made into a TV movie, it’s probably Heather Graham. Watch out though, that TV movie won’t be your average after-school special. Graham hasn’t been shy in the front of the camera — ever. It was that take charge boldness that attracted the spotlight to her, and not necessarily the other way around.
Still, Heather was determined to be a star. But she came from more humble upbringings. Her parents were devout Catholics and raised her to be the same. Likewise, when Heather was offered the role of Rollergirl in Boogie Nights, her parents blatantly objected to her playing a porn star. Heather, on the other hand, was thrilled that she would be cast into the limelight, which ended up catapulting her into fame. Of course, it came at a cost. She hasn’t had a relationship with her parents in twenty years now.
12 Michael Jackson
Is there anyone out there who hasn’t heard the awful tale of the Jackson family home by now? For the Jackson kids, their childhood was anything but bright and full of warmth. Michael was sensitive and more emotional than his siblings, and he was especially susceptible to his father’s cold and cruel demeanor.
As a child, Michael’s father was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive to all of his children, though some of them still attest he was a good dad to this day. Michael came clean about his childhood to his dear friend, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Their conversations were recorded with the intent of publishing them in a book later on, but Jackson’s demise came too soon.
During those talks, Jackson expressed how demanding his father was that they record music daily. There was no time for playing with other kids or enjoying a childhood. He longed for friends and freedom to be a kid. It is a rational explanation for why he seemed to spend so much of his adulthood chasing a childhood he never had. At the time of his death, Michael’s relationship with his parents was practically non-existent.
11 Christina Aguilera
When Christina Aguilera was just six-years old, her parents decided their marriage was over. The divorce wasn’t as hard on the little mouseketeer as one would expect. That’s probably because it was her way out, and her mother’s, too.
Her father, Fausto, had been abusive to Christina, her mother, and her sister for years. Fausto has always publicly denied being abusive to his daughters, and though he has admitted to hitting Christina’s mother, he has downplayed it greatly.
It was the divorce that set them free. While Fausto has a large family, Christina has limited contact with them and remains estranged from her father to this day. In 2012, Fausto’s parents reached out wanting to meet with Christina, reportedly on their death beds, and the singer denied the request.
10 Macaulay Culkin
Maybe Macaulay got a taste of something he liked when playing the role of Kevin McCallister in Home Alone and its uber-popular sequel. He was in a serious rush to emancipate himself from his parents back in 1995 when he was just 14-years old. The court granted his wish, too.
Ever since, he has been estranged from his father, Kit Culkin. In fact, his little brother Kieran decided to follow in his big brother’s footsteps, as well. Both of Macaulay’s parents wanted control over his fortune, and they battled it out hard during divorce proceedings. Macaulay got fed up and divorced them both. That’s it, in a nutshell.
Culkin’s dad suffered a stroke in early 2014 and despite all efforts to reach out to his son, doors were slammed in his face. It appears Macaulay isn’t interested in a reunion, regardless of his father’s condition.
9 Kendra Wilkinson
There’s no doubting the statistics. Young women who grow up without fathers in their lives are definitely more likely to look for the wrong kind of attention in men elsewhere. Maybe that’s how Kendra Wilkinson ended being a centerfold. It’s not for us to judge, but we’re sure the thought has crossed her mind, too.
As for her father, he and her mother divorced way back in 1994, and he’s barely had anything to do with Kendra since then. It wasn’t until Kendra reached fame and fortune that her dad started to poke his nose into her business. Instead of taking that personally, Kendra finally opened her arms to a relationship with her father in 2015. He even moved to Los Angeles in 2016 where he would be closer to his daughter, but rumors have been milling for a while now that the daddy-daughter duo are on the outs again. These things can’t be forced or rushed. They must happen naturally, in their own time.
8 Drew Barrymore
Is there anyone who is more estranged from their family than Drew Barrymore? Let’s put this into focus. She’s just wrapped up her third divorce, and she still manages to be cordial and friendly with her exes. It’s her parents that she just can’t handle having a relationship with.
Her mother was a far cry from anything worthy of being called that. Both of her parents were heavily involved in the celebrity lifestyle, and all the partying that came with it. Drew’s own momma, Jade, introduced her to drugs and alcohol before she was even 10-years old.
By the time Drew turned 17, she applied for legal emancipation from her mother and won. Her father was long gone at that point. Drew has hinted around that she blames her mother for her wrongdoings more than she does her father for abandoning her. Interestingly, most children of neglectful or abusive households do the same — they blame mom more than dad.
7 Lindsay Lohan
By 2011, Lindsay Lohan apparently had had enough of her father, Michael. Her mom, Dina spoke publicly about their relationship and stated that LiLo had called off all communication with her pops. His endless tirades about how awful and disappointing his daughter is certainly didn’t help matters, but it was mostly his ongoing battle with substance abuse that made Lindsay turn her back on him.
Is that the pot calling the kettle black? Maybe. But Lindsay was struggling at the time to compose herself in the midst of what appeared to be a long, draw out nervous breakdown riddled with drugs and alcohol.
How was she ever going to get herself back together while her own father was out there trashing her to the press and claiming she will never stop using or get the help she needs? We’re sorry to say it doesn’t seem like she’s reached that point quite yet, but we have to wonder how much her relationship with her dad helped get her to where she is today.
6 Frances Bean Cobain
Obviously, France Bean Cobain has no choice but to have no relationship with her father. He’s deceased. She wasn’t even two-years old when he passed away. Rumors have lingered for years that the rock legend’s suicide was really a murder, and that her mother, Courtney Love, was involved in it.
The truth about what happened that night is drenched in speculation that is protected by a botched police job. Nonetheless, Courtney was all Frances was left with, and for a long time, she was determined to make that relationship work.
That stopped in 2009. Frances couldn’t take it anymore. While she didn’t pursue emancipation from her mother, she did file for a temporary restraining order, and it was awarded. At the time, Frances was only 17-years old, so, Kurt’s mother and sister became her guardians. Today, their relationship remains on the outs.
Sure. It seems impossible that someone who spews lyrics like Adele’s wouldn’t have had a trying childhood. We won’t call it awful, because she was raised in a home with love, but something was missing. Someone was missing.
Adele’s father, Mark Evans, abandoned her when she was just two-years old. With little to no memory of the man she once called daddy, Adele still grieves today for the father-daughter relationship she may have had if he’s been a better man. Much of that pain and angst can be heard in her music.
Mark Evans has told the press that he regrets that choice and has for a long time. Like many men in his shoes, he wishes he could turn back the hands of time and do things differently — do right by his daughter.
4 Meg Ryan
Some stars have been around longer than they care to admit. Meg Ryan happens to be one of them. So, we’re going way back — to the 1990s. Back in 1991, Meg was married to Dennis Quaid. Yep, that really happened. In the midst of their love affair — which ended in 2001 — Meg’s mother took to the press to publicly trash her then-son-in-law. Maybe she thought Meg would stand by her and turn her back on her hubby; it had to be a hard slap to the face when she realized she thought wrong.
Susan Jordan, Meg’s mother, was nixed from the wedding guest list, and their relationship has never been the same since. Years later, Jordan wrote a memoir and despite having no contact with her daughter, still used her celebrity status to garner from attention for her work. In the book, she wrote, "The image [Meg] has of the innocent, dizzy girl-next-door could not be further from the truth. In real life, she's a cold-hearted, cruel manipulator.”
3 Tatum O’Neal
Tatum O’Neal has certainly had her fair share of ups and downs when it comes to her family. Her marriage with former tennis champ John McEnroe crumbled in the public spotlight. Her ongoing fight with drug addiction didn’t do her any favors at that time.
Tatum’s mother, Joanna Moore, died back in 1997. It was an event that partially crippled the child actress, emotionally, since her relationship with her mom had been strained as a result of her mother’s alcoholism and neglectful parenting when Tatum was younger.
Still, it’s her relationship with her father, Ryan O’Neal, that is most tumultuous. After he rescued her from Joanna’s home years ago, the two formed the typical daddy-daughter bond that most women always hope for. Many turning points over the years would bring them to where they are now: not speaking. In 2009, Ryan actually hit on his own daughter — not recognizing her — at his late love, Farrah Fawcett’s funeral! Ick! No wonder their relationship hit the bricks.
In the Spring of 2010, Gerald Imes — brother to Precious star Mo’Nique — silenced households everywhere when he admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he had molested his sister as a child. When she was just 7-years old and he was 13-years old, he took advantage of his access to his sister and sexually assaulted her.
While Imes certainly took responsibility for the choice he made way back then, he partially blamed those bad choices on other poor decisions — like using cocaine and heroin and alcohol starting at the age of just 11-years old.
While Gerald has come clean to the world and given Mo-Nique the retribution and acknowledgement she deserved, that’s not enough to mandate forgiveness. Mo-Nique has no contact with her brother or her parents. For a lot of survivors of child sexual abuse, it’s just too painful to ever go there again.
1 Liv Tyler
Say it ain’t so. Steven Tyler isn’t the world’s best father? Who knew? Alright, in all seriousness, was Tyler even aware that he had a daughter when she was born? He didn’t even meet her until she was about 8-years old. Much to her own surprise, Liv grew up completely unaware that the Aerosmith front man was her father at all. It wasn’t until she attended one of the band’s concerts in 1988 that she realized the truth.
The man she had been calling dad all those years — musician, Todd Rundgren — was not her dad at all. The striking resemblance between herself and Steven Tyler’s other daughter — Mia — stopped Liv in her tracks, and she found herself questioning her entire childhood. That’s when she came to question her parentage.
Despite this turn of events, the two never really hit it off. They’re friends, but they don’t have that daddy-daughter connection. Liv doesn’t maintain contact with Steven, or vice versa really. She has expressed that she wishes they had a better relationship, but Steven always seems to be going through something, ahem.