There is a tall blonde singer-songwriter who got her start before ever being born when her grandfather crooned "Your Cheatin' Heart." Although he was gone before she was even born, his legacy has lived on in musical artistry through his own son and granddaughter.
The family I'm referring to is the Williams. Holly Williams is the tall blonde singer-songwriter. Her father is Hank Williams Jr. and his father was Hank Williams Sr. Although Holly Williams has penned some dynamic lyrics, she even confessed within those lyrics that her name helped her to get where she was going. In her song "Without You," one line admits, "I got here on crowded trains with old guitars and a famous name..."
So, with or without talent, the idea of nepotism or riding on the coat tails of famous family is not new, even to celebrities. While this isn't surprising in the least bit, there are a few celebrities with children who are trying a completely different strategy.
This post is going to show you 15 celebrity children who are making a legacy of their own and by doing it their own way. For instance, they're doing it either by choosing not to take their famous parent's last name or going by a different stage name to survive off of talent alone. Let's jump right into this round-up!
15 Elle King: Daughter Of Rob Schneider
He asked her not to do it, but being slightly on the determined and stubborn side, Elle King gave up going by her famous father's last name. Rob Schneider is Elle King's father. Named Tanner Elle Schneider, she later took on her mother's last name of King when she got into the music scene in 1998.
She admits that the reason she changed her name from Schneider to King wasn't out of spite or anything negative. In fact, she didn't want her famous dad to be the only reason she was successful. So to prevent that from happening, she just ditched the name. She wanted to make it on talent alone. Busking in the streets of New York when she first started clearly set the tone for this determined celebrity daughter.
14 Chet Haze: Son Of Tom Hanks
An actor who seems to be one of everyone's favorites is Tom Hanks. Whether he's portraying a heartbroken widower in Seattle or teaching us life lessons from a box of chocolate, we can't get enough of anything he does. His oldest son Colin Hanks made good on his father's last name as he is now a successful actor and film director.
One of Colin's younger brothers, Chet Hanks, is an aspiring rapper going by the name Chet Haze. Colin obviously gets a lot of attention because he's the spitting image of his father. Chet gets attention for a different reason. While he is indeed talented, he's also troubled and has battled an addiction for several years now. Though the opportunities keep coming, both in the recording studio and on the small screen.
13 Mamie Gummer: Daughter Of Meryl Streep
Credited under the name Natalie Stern, young (not even two) Mamie Gummer first acted alongside her mother in Heartburn. Right from the start, she was on the fast track to being a familiar and successful Hollywood face. She's the second of four children from her parents, sculptor Don Gummer and actress Meryl Streep.
You might recognize her as Nancy Crozier in The Good Wife or as Emily Owens in Emily Owens M.D. She played alongside her mother again in Ricki and the Flash as on-screen mother-daughter duo. Her next big release is for the film Out of Blue, which should be out this year.
12 Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon: Daughter Of Madonna
She's the fresh face of Stella McCartney's fragrance Pop. Lourdes Leon is the "Material Girl" singer's first-born daughter with then partner Carlos Leon. Madonna was 38 when she found out that she was pregnant with little Lourdes. From then on, they were two peas in a pod, often Madonna's plus one at popular events. Even amidst rumors of trouble on the home front between her half-brother Rocco and mom, Lourdes remained close with her mother.
Some of you might be wondering what Madonna's last name even is. And, you won't be surprised that Lourdes not only carries her mother's last name, but her father's last name as well. Just so you know, it's Madonna Ciccone. Not only is Lourdes getting a college education, but she's become a fashion icon and resided over the launch of Material Girl Beauty.
11 Billie Lourd: Daughter Of Carrie Fisher
It only seems right that the daughter of Princess Leia should also be cast in the new Star Wars films as Lieutenant Connix. You might actually recognize her from the horror-comedy series Scream Queens where she dons fluffy earmuffs to honor her late mother's iconic "cinnamon bun" hairstyle during the original Star Wars films.
As you probably already know, Carrie Fisher is the daughter of Debbie Reynolds. So, Billie Lourd is keeping show business in the family. And further still, her godmother is Meryl Streep. Her father is talent agent Bryan Lourd and Billie carries her father's last name. Although it might have been easier to use her mother's better-known last name, Billie is wanting to carve out her own place in Hollywood.
10 Jack Schlossberg: Son Of Caroline Kennedy
The face on the left is all too familiar to us now. Obviously it's John F. Kennedy. If you look closely, you can see a glimpse of Jackie in the middle photo, in the face of JFK Jr. And the last picture on the right is JFK's only grandson, Jack Schlossberg. If you're like most people, you can get obsessed with bloodlines like the Kennedys. Especially when they're side-by-side like these photos.
JFK's daughter Caroline Kennedy is Jack Schlossberg's mother. What makes him so special is that he's JFK's only grandson. Born John Bouvier Kennedy "Jack" Schlossberg, he is not only a handsome young man to behold, but he's got brains, too. Following in the famous footsteps of his grandfather, the Yale grad will soon be graduating from Harvard Law.
9 Reginae Carter: Daughter Of Lil Wayne
When Lil Wayne and Antonia (Toya) Wright gave birth to a daughter in 1998, she got all her mom's looks and all her dad's dramatic antics. Reginae Carter is a good blend of both her parents. Although she's not very old yet, she already fiercely defends her family. In particular, the internet went crazy when she posted a video of herself standing up for her baby sister when an online troll called her "ugly."
She's on the TV show Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta, and has a book out titled "Paparazzi Princess." She even has her own music career under the OMG label. Recently, she's caught the eye of popular Atlanta rapper YFN Lucci. He's older than her, so it doesn't seem like her parents are too thrilled. But, like father like daughter and this particular antic is making headlines.
8 Kaia Gerber: Daughter Of Cindy Crawford
A double take might be necessary if you see these two beauties walking down the street together. And, not just because they're gorgeous. This mother daughter duo look and model very much alike. Although Kaia Gerber is clearly following in the footsteps of her mother, she's not using her mother's last name to get her in any agency doors.
Of course, once she did get through the door, everyone would know whose daughter she was upon first glance anyway. Kaia is actually the daughter of Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber. Like most other children, she goes by her father's last name, even though "Crawford" has such a nice ring to it. Even without the Crawford last name, Kaia is making big waves in the fashion industry.
7 Norah Jones: Daughter Of Ravi Shankar
The smooth, sultry sound of Norah Jones didn't just happen in her sleep. She is the daughter of Indian musician Ravi Shankar. He's the most famous sitar players in the world. So famous, in fact, that he was the one George Harrison collaborated with when George incorporated the sitar into Pop music.
Born Geetali Norah Shankar, her mother was Sue Jones who was a New York concert producer. When nature combines two successful musicians, it's sort of a given that their child will also be a musician, which she is. Eight time Grammy winner, in fact! Norah has cut out an undeniable place for herself and she did it without going by her famous father's name.
6 Mariska Hargitay: Daughter Of Jayne Mansfield
For all your Law & Order: SVU fans out there, did you know Olivia Benson has a bombshell for a real-life mom? Yep, actress Mariska Hargitay is the daughter of Jayne Mansfield. The blonde beauty was known for her voluptuous figure, infamous (and numerous) publicity stunts in the form of wardrobe malfunctions, and her constant need for a variety in regards to companionship.
If you put them side by side, their faces are nearly identical. Their personalities, however, are not at all alike. This only makes sense as Mariska was only three at the time of her mother's death. She was in the back seat of the car during the crash that took her mother's life. Using her father's name, Mariska has become a household name...err, Olivia Benson has become a household name.
5 Anderson Cooper: Son Of Gloria Vanderbilt
Son of writer Wyatt Emery Cooper and fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt, Anderson Cooper has become one of the most well-known American journalists of all time. And to top it all off, he has absolutely no need to work at all. On his mother's side, he is one in a long line of millionaires. His great-great-great grandfather founded Vanderbilt shipping and railroad. Still, even with the clout the Vanderbilt name holds, he goes by his father's name of Cooper.
Because he truly lacked the need to earn an income, he was able to gallivant around Africa for several years and gradually climb up the journalism ladder at his own pace. Granted, there were times when he was filming 20/20 during the day and newscasting for ABC at night. Regardless of his status, this fellow knows how to work.
4 Keira Knightley: Daughter Of Sharman MacDonald
Keira Knightley, daughter of Will Knightley and Sharman MacDonald, became internationally known when she played Elizabeth Swann on the Pirates of the Caribbean series. She's actually a British actor and has worked both in the British and American film industry. One film that she especially loved was Pride and Prejudice. Another that really got her big bucks was Love Actually.
It only makes sense for her to follow in her parents' footsteps as both of them were theatre actors in London. Her mother was especially successful as an actress, screenwriter, and a Scottish playwright. Unsurprisingly, her mother Sharman never took her husband's last name, but Keira did. Although her mother's name would have been a bigger foot in the door, she chose to remain a Knightley.
3 Kate Hudson: Daughter Of Goldie Hawn
If ever golden goddesses descended to Earth in the form of mother-daughter duos, it would surely be these two. Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson have strikingly similar images and personalities. She was born the daughter of Bill Hudson, an actor, comedian, and musician. But, her parents divorced when she was only 18 months old.
She moved to Colorado with her mother who eventually started her famous 30+ year romance with Kurt Russell. Hudson considers Russell to be her dad and claims her biological father doesn't know her at all. Still, she kept his last name. And, it didn't even matter, because she's talented enough without using the Hawn or Russell name to open doors.
2 Angelina Jolie: Daughter Of Jon Voight
The tumultuous father-daughter relationship between Jon Voight and Angelina Jolie is well-known in Hollywood. The difficulty began when her father walked out on the family when Angelina was less than a year old. Her mother Marcheline Bertrand had an incredibly difficult time with Jon's alleged infidelity and his success as she had quit her acting career to focus on her kids. She later admitted that she had a hard time even looking at young Angelina because she looked so much like her father.
The relationship between Angelina and her father has never been smooth. In fact, during an especially rocky time, she petitioned the courts to remove her last name Voight and officially use her middle name of Jolie. Going by Angelina Jolie was the right move for her. Now, she's one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood and she did it all without the Voight name.
1 Gwyneth Paltrow: Daughter Of Blythe Danner
Sometimes having Steven Spielberg as your godfather helps you to make a big splash in the world. Plus, being raised in the heart of Hollywood by actress Blythe Danner and producer-director Bruce Paltrow doesn't hurt your walk to fame either. That was the childhood of actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
Obviously both of her parents were well-known names in Hollywood, but just in different ways. Her mom was out front while her dad did the behind the scenes kind of stuff. So, it only makes sense for her to use her mother's last name of Danner. But, she stuck with Paltrow and made a way for herself anyhow. From early on in her career, she was known as having her mother's charisma of making the camera fall in love with her.
Sources: www.people.com, www.eonline.com, www.nytimes.com