Hollywood is our favorite thing to talk about; it houses our favorite people to talk about, too. Whether it is a celebrity that had a bad night out, a celeb couple that just split up, or someone that talked bad about another on Twitter, we all love to be in the loop when it comes to celebrities and their dramatic yet exciting lives. Some of these celebrities have been around for what seems like forever, while others just splashed onto the scene and somehow are bigger and better than ever. For example, Emma Roberts, who is the daughter of Eric Roberts and the niece of Hollywood starlet Julia Roberts, has been around since the young age of thirteen. Others, like Cardi B and Becca Kufrin (our new Bachelorette), just splashed onto the Hollywood scene and somehow grew their popularity virtually overnight.
Below, we specifically highlight twelve child stars who have been around forever but are clearly only popular because of their famous Hollywood parents. Then, on the other hand, we talk about eight child stars who made it on their own — who really had no help when it came to making it big on the Hollywood stage. Read on to find out more about some of your fave celebs!
20 Famous Because Of Her Parents: Dakota Johnson
You know Dakota Johnson from her very famous role in the Fifty Shades trilogy. Before this, she starred in How To Be Single, 21 Jump Street, and Beastly. Her first major role was at the age of 21 as Amelia Ritter in The Social Network. She is currently dating Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin (yes, Gwyneth Paltrow's ex-husband), although very privately. Chris turned 41 this year and has two kids with his famous ex, while Dakota is nearly half his age!
Johnson's famous parents are actor Don Johnson of Miami Vice, and Melanie Griffith, known for movies like Lolita and Working Girl.
They've been a part of the Hollywood community for decades, so it is no wonder Dakota got into acting, too.
Of the profession, she says this, according to Interview Magazine: "I still feel like I don't know what I'm doing. Like, I'm unsure of what my life will be like. I mean, I have such an obsession with making movies that I probably will always do that. But sometimes my life can feel so suffocating, and then it can feel so massive, like I don't have a handle on it at all, and I don't know where it's going or what I'm going to do. Right now, I'm known for making movies. And I wonder if that's it. I don't know. It doesn't feel like it to me."
19 Made It On Her Own: Reese Witherspoon
Originally born as Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon in Louisiana, Reese Witherspoon absolutely made her success all on her own. Her parents, Mary and John, were both in the medical field. Her mother was an RN while her father was a military surgeon. The family settled in Tennessee and Reese started modeling at the young age of seven.
At age fifteen, she had her first major role in The Man in the Moon, alongside Sam Waterston. She went on to star in Fear, Pleasantville, and Election. One of her biggest roles as a young star was in Cruel Intentions, as the good girl that dated the wrong guy. Her biggest role to date, however, was as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Other great movies Reese has starred in? Sweet Home Alabama, Vanity Fair, Walk the Line, Four Christmases, Water for Elephants, Wild, and A Wrinkle In Time... to name a few! She is unstoppable in the acting world and didn't have any help from any parents or family members.
In fact, she had this to say about her parents' medical field careers, according to QuoteMaster: "I had parents who believed I could do anything — and I know how that made me feel. I think both my parents, having careers in the medical profession, feel they are helping people on a daily basis, and that was inculcated in me as a value. I had to struggle with giving up the idea of becoming a doctor myself."
18 Famous Because Of Her Parents: Emma Roberts
Emma Roberts is famous not only because of her famous father, Eric Roberts, who has starred in over 449 titles according to IMDb, but she also has a famous aunt, the famed and talented actress Julia Roberts, who very well may be one of the most renowned people on the planet! Julia Roberts, 50, has starred in roles in some all-time favorite movies like Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich, The Mexican, and Wonder, to name just a few. She also has a lot of famous friends like George Clooney and Tom Hanks.
So, it really is no surprise that her niece, Emma, is famous because of her family's incredible careers.
She used to hang out on sets with her father and was always intrigued with the idea of acting, but would she have been on sets in the first place if her father or aunt were not actors? We guess not. It wouldn't have been that easy for her to create her own career. Roberts, 27, had her own television show at the young age of thirteen! I mean — that doesn't just happen, right? We think not. Her movie roles to date include parts in Valentine's Day, Scream 4, Aquamarine, and We're the Millers.
17 Famous Because Of Her Parents: Kelly Osborne
The Osbornes were first only famous due to the patriarch's crazy antics on stage. Remember the song Crazy Train? Yeah, that was Ozzy. Among several other singles and albums, the Osbornes emerged onto the Hollywood scene in the early '00s due to their MTV reality show. Kelly, their daughter, was barely into her 20s when it aired. However, this put her on the map as far as fame goes, because there was no career path for the young girl beforehand. After the reality show ended in 2005, she tried her hand at acting, but that never took off. Essentially, Osborne was only popular because of her odd antics and potty mouth on their reality show. Somehow, though, she managed to become someone called a "television personality" and someone that writes a memoir. Apparently, people want to listen to what she has to say.
When it was revealed that Ozzy had cheated on his wife due to severe personal struggles, the world watched as the family virtually fell apart. But Kelly, doing anything to stay in the spotlight, dished on how they, in fact, were still together. She had many appearances and interviews discussing their marriage but has done nothing herself in recent months as far as a career goes. It's clear that Kelly is almost famous because her parents are.
16 Made It On Her Own: Dakota Fanning
Dakota Fanning is only 24 years old, but the young actress is so talented that she has already made a name for herself in the big world of Hollywood. She was born in Georgia, USA to a sports-oriented family. Her mother was a professional tennis player, while her father played minor league baseball and sold electronics. Being spotted by people in her hometown early on, Dakota and her family were encouraged to move to Los Angeles to try and establish an agent and future career for the blonde cutie.
They eventually moved to L.A. permanently — and so began the career of Dakota Fanning.
Her first big roles included movies like I Am Sam, Sweet Home Alabama, Uptown Girls, and War of the Worlds. She even guest starred on Friends' last season. As she grew into a young woman, she took on more mature roles in movies like Push and The Twilight Saga (she played evil Jane with reckless abandon!). Currently, Dakota stars on The Alienist and will be in the upcoming all-female sequel, Ocean's Eight. Her talent came to her naturally and her parents, though they did work to help her, did not help her due to nepotism... and that is pretty incredible.
15 Famous Because Of Their Parents: Bella (And Gigi) Hadid
Brunette model Bella Hadid is most popularly known for dating rapper The Weeknd on and off for a few years. However, you also know her due to her famous mother and sister. Her father is a real estate developer while her mother, Yolanda Foster, was a famous model for several decades. Gigi, her older sister, is also a successful model. The girls, along with their younger brother, grew up in the L.A. area.
It's clear that Bella followed in her sister's modeling footsteps, riding the coattails of a family member that had already established her career. In late 2014, Bella attended school in New York City for photography but had to drop out due to her successful modeling career. Signing her contract in August 2014, Bella walked on the New York Fashion Week runways that fall. Was she that good — or was it easy to give her a spot because of her big sis?
These days, Bella has signed with several campaigns including Fendi, DKNY, and Moschino. Just this year, she has been announced as the face and model of many famous campaigns around the world. Further, she is friends with popular model friends Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner, so it's quite impossible for her career to slow down anytime soon.
14 Made It On Her Own: Kirsten Dunst
Beautiful blonde bombshell Kirsten Dunst has been around for decades. You probably remember her most from her role in Jumanji, as the young girl that got lost in the board game with Robin Williams' character.
Dunst grew up in New Jersey and started modeling at age three before her whole family moved to L.A. when she was 11 years old.
The role that got her an A-list status, however, was peppy and feisty cheerleader Torrance Shipman in Bring It On. After this role, her career skyrocketed; she was working on four to five movies per year with no plans of slowing down. She has starred in popular movies like Spider-Man, Mona Lisa Smile, Elizabethtown, All Good Things, and Bachelorette. Most recently, Dunst, 36, starred in FX's Fargo, where she met her fiancé and baby daddy, actor Jesse Plemons.
Talking about the industry in an interview with The Guardian in 2015, Dunst had this to say: “There are just too many movies being made, I think. So many of them get lost. Too many cooks in the kitchen – the studio’s editing it, the producers are editing it, the director’s editing, too. But everyone has their hand in it, so whose movie is it at the end of the day?" She went on to say, "People don’t need all the money they’re using. That’s the other thing: when you have too much time, too much money, the creative starts to slip away. It just does.”
13 Famous Because Of Her Parents: Liv Tyler
Liv Tyler is a household name, but most people that know her name probably could not name one movie she was in. You may wonder why that is, but that's because she isn't widely known for her talented acting skills. You can probably name pretty quickly, we bet, who her famous father is, though.
Born in New York City, Liv is the daughter of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and model Bebe Buell. Liv did not know the famous singer was her father until she was almost double digits. By age 12, however, she had taken her father's name. That was probably easier, we assume, to start her modeling and eventual acting career just two years later, when she and her mother moved back to New York after living in Maine. Having your dad's famous moniker certainly didn't make it difficult for her, one could say.
According to IMDb, Liv Tyler has 34 titles to date that she has worked on. Some of the big ones include Armageddon, The Lord of the Rings, Jersey Girl, and Wildling. She also starred in the HBO hit The Leftovers. She now has three children — two sons and a daughter — and has a decent relationship with her once-struggling father.
12 Famous Because Of Her Parents: Nicole Richie
Nicole Richie was not a child star by any means, but she still is only famous due to her patriarchal roots; that we are for sure of. Richie was born in California in late 1981. Famous singer Lionel Richie, who is famous for songs like "Endless Love" and "Dancing on the Ceiling", adopted Nicole with his wife, Brenda Harvey.
Richie attended Kindergarten at the famous Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, CA, where she met her famous future socialite friend, Paris Hilton.
Due to this adoption that went through when she was nine years old, Richie became famous as she grew up because of her famous father. Her parents split when she was young, too.
She and Hilton went on to star in the famous reality show series, The Simple Life, which ran for four years back in the early '00s. She has also had roles on shows like 8 Simple Rules, Chuck, and Great News. Richie, 36, was never really into acting, though, and has since started several fashion lines thanks to her adopted father's success over the years. We think having that famous last name is really half the battle in Hollywood (or maybe it's simply the only battle).
11 Made It On Her Own: Christina Ricci
You know Christina Ricci and her unique looks from the Addams Family movies that debuted in the early 1990s. Ricci, 37, played little Wednesday Addams, a negative little girl that enjoyed bringing pain to those who were mean to her. She was one of our favorites! As a young girl, she also starred in Casper, The Ice Storm, and Sleepy Hollow. As she grew, she started taking on more risqué roles and starred in movies like The Gathering, Monster, Black Snake Moan, and the famous TV movie Lizzie Borden Took an Ax, playing Lizzie Borden, the title character.
She had no help creating this successful career, however. Born in California, Ricci's parents were Sarah, a realtor, and Ralph, a lawyer. She made her own way through the concrete and two-faced Hollywood jungle — and she grew to be just as talented and successful as many of our other stars on this list.
When asked by Parade Magazine in 2014 why she takes on darker roles, she had this to say: "I think that unhappy — dare I say unhappy? — complex people make the most interesting characters to play. They’re the most proactive people; they’re the people who get themselves into the most trouble. Happy, settled, contented people don’t really do much. They don’t have a lot of motivation to go out. A lot of stuff doesn’t happen. I think [dark roles] provide the stories. They end up in the most interesting situations for a character, at least for me."
10 Famous Because Of Her Parents: Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson is a very successful and independent woman that has certainly made a career for herself. Despite being estranged from her father, Hudson's mother is none other than Goldie Hawn, famous actress best known for her role in Overboard; she has been around for decades. Further, Hudson's stepfather, who practically raised her, is none other than Kurt Russell, who has been with Hawn for almost thirty years! Russell has starred in famous movies like Poseidon, Miracle, Vanilla Sky, and 3000 Miles to Graceland.
Hudson, 39, was born in Los Angeles and has a whole array of family members in the business, ranging from record producers to publicists to actors.
It really is no wonder she ended up in the spotlight, but all of these Hollywood ties most definitely played a part. She has starred in popular films like Almost Famous, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Skeleton Key, Fool's Gold, Bride Wars, Deepwater Horizon, and Marshall. She has a new movie coming out later this year and one currently in development. Her acting career speaks for itself, but so does Hollywood's nepotism and we think Hudson had lots of help creating this successful career she prides herself in.
9 Made It On Her Own: Jennifer Lawrence
Blonde, intelligent, and relatable Jennifer Lawrence, 27, is certainly not an actress in Hollywood that has gotten help from anyone when it comes to being successful. She was born in Kentucky in the summer of 1990. Her parents, Karen and Gary, were workers at a children's camp and a construction company, respectively. She traveled to Manhattan at age fourteen with her mother for an audition and begged to stay there after agents said such wonderful things about her talents. After a summer in NYC, the entire family moved to Los Angeles.
She had small roles here and there, but her big break came in the form of the role she played in Winter's Bone in 2010. The next year was her first X-Men movie, where she starred as Mystique. The year after that was the release of the first Hunger Games movie, where she starred as Katniss Everdeen. And so her career was born — thanks to dedicated parents and undeniable talent. She went on to star in Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, Joy, Passengers, and Red Sparrow. According to IMDb, Lawrence has eight projects up and coming and she shows no signs of slowing down. That sounds like a superstar in the making!
8 Famous Because Of Her Parents: Hailey Baldwin
There are several Baldwin brothers that have made a name for themselves throughout Hollywood. Alec, Daniel, William, and Stephen make up the famed family. Throughout the years, they have each had children that have, or have not, risen to fame in their own way. But, of course, Hailey Baldwin had clear help with her dad being famed actor Stephen Baldwin. Stephen, 52, is known for roles in movies like Bio-Dome, Friends & Lovers, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Shelter Island, and Fred Claus, among several others. The famous actor actually has 103 titles to his name, according to IMDb.
Hailey Baldwin, Stephen's daughter, was born in November 1996; she was not a child actor, however, she did make an appearance next to her uncle, Alec, on Saturday Night Live, when she was younger.
Further, she made appearances with her family as a little girl as well. She also made a name for herself in the modeling world, thanks to her famous dad and uncles. She has had several modeling campaigns since 2014 and has been linked romantically to people like singers Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes. Further, she has now made friends with fellow models Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner. Thanks to her famous father, she will probably be in the spotlight for years to come.
7 Famous Because Of Her Parents: Zoe Kravitz
Zoe Kravitz is the uniquely beautiful love child of famous singer Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet. Born in 1988 in Los Angeles, Zoe grew up with a love for acting, similar to her mother. During her senior year in high school, Zoe started work on two films, beginning to establish her career. She has also dabbled in the singing world, following in her father's footsteps, being the lead singer in the band "Elevator Fight".
Most recently, Zoe, 29, has worked on movies like Allegiant, Rough Night, and Mad Max: Fury Road. Do we think she would have wounded up in the acting world, though, if her mother wasn't famous for it? We think her last name furthered her career. Not to diminish the hard work she put in, but we think it may have made it slightly easier for her.
When talking about her mother to Daily Mail in 2011, Zoe once said: "She walked away from being famous because she didn't really care about it. She is the most true artist I have met. She doesn't change for anybody... I admire her so much — and the fact that she's my mom is just so cool!'"
6 Made It On Her Own: Emma Watson
Emma Watson is well-known for her role in the Harry Potter franchise as Hermione Grainger, as well as for her role as beauty brunette Belle in the 2017 remake of Beauty and the Beast. She was born in Paris to English parents; both of them were lawyers. She knew at the young age of six that she wanted to be an actress and studied singing, dancing, and acting at Stagecoach Theatre Arts. The first Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, turned out to be Emma's screen debut; she was just 11 years old.
Fast forward 17 years, Emma is now a very established actress, no thanks to those persuasive lawyer parents of hers!
We'll leave you with this inspiring quote from Emma: "Becoming yourself is really hard and confusing, and it’s a process. I was completely the eager beaver in school, I was the girl in the front of the class who was the first person to put her hand up, and it’s often not cool to be the person that puts [herself] out there, and I’ve often gotten teased mercilessly, but I found that ultimately if you truly pour your heart into what you believe in — even if it makes you vulnerable — amazing things can and will happen."
5 Famous Because Of Her Parents: Alison Williams
Alison Williams was born in April of 1988. She was raised in New Canaan, Connecticut by her father, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, and her mother, a television producer, Jane Stoddard. She obviously had a clear future in the business, as both of her parents were successful in it. After graduating from Yale University in 2010, Williams starred in various shows, including The League and The Mindy Project. Her first big role, though, she snagged in 2012 as Marnie Michaels in the HBO hit, Girls. The show ended in 2017 — and since then, Williams has only starred in two shows, Patrick Melrose and A Series of Unfortunate Events.
When talking Girls with Refinery29, Williams had this to say: "I also try to be as present as possible. That can be as simple as not wearing headphones in the subway or simply feeling my toes in my shoes. Something that reminds me that I'm alive — right now — and that circumstances could change dramatically at any minute. I spend so much time in a technology-mediated world...don't even ask me how much television I watch. It's unhealthy (but so, so good! The Bachelor? Most important part of my week). But I try to get out into the world every once in a while! We're here, after all. We might as well interact with it."
4 Made It On Her Own: Courteney Cox
Brunette beauty Courteney Cox is nothing short of a superstar when it comes to acting. She made that very clear in her role as Monica Geller in Friends from 1994-2004. The famous actress was born in Alabama in the summer of 1964. She grew up and decided to go to school in Washington D.C., however, she did not complete her architecture degree, as she decided to pursue a career in modeling and acting.
This was in 1982, and since the decision to change career paths, she has been a successful actress.
Her success from Friends garnered her incredible roles, like those in the Scream movie series, 3000 Miles to Graceland, and The Longest Yard. Further, she was able to star in two more successful comedies after the end of Friends, including Dirt (2007) and Cougar Town (2009). Of her famous roles, Cox had this to say to Vanity Fair in 2014: "I am Monica. I am Jules [from Cougar Town]. I mean, I am still “that girl from the Bruce Springsteen music video.” It makes my head turn, because I am sure I look nothing like I did that long ago. Especially in New York, because there are so many Bruce fans. People love the Boss so much here."
3 Famous Because Of Her Parents: Blake Lively
This one surprised us due to Lively's superstar success in the business; however, when you look at her IMDb page, it is actually pretty obvious. Lively was born in California in late August of 1987. Her mother was an acting coach and a talent manager, while her father was an actor and a teacher (starting to make sense yet?). Further, two of her siblings are actors as well. In 1998, her first role was the tooth fairy in the musical Sandman, which was directed by her father. Then, she got the role that would make those blonde locks famous: Bridget in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. According to Blake herself, all she did to land the role was leave a picture of herself with the agents.
She went on to star in movies like Accepted and Simon Says before she landed her next big role as Serena in the hit series Gossip Girl on The CW. Since the show ended in 2012, Lively, 30, has gone on to star in Savages, The Age of Adaline, and The Shallows. She even met her future husband on the set of The Green Lantern (2011); he is none other than Ryan Reynolds, fellow actor. The couple now lives in upstate New York with their two daughters, James and Ines, but we know Lively would not have had this incredible life without the help of her parents.
2 Famous Because Of Her Parents: Kristen Stewart
Stewart is mostly famous for her big role that made her successful in the Twilight series as Bella Swan, alongside big names like Robert Pattinson, Nikki Reed, and Peter Facinelli. The movies came out throughout the years 2008-2012 before ending for good. Most recently, Stewart has starred in Snow White and the Huntsman, Camp X-Ray, Café Society, and Lizzie. She has taken more indie roles since the huge success of the Twilight series. Looking back on her childhood and teenage years, it is clear, though, that Stewart was made for acting thanks to her family's careers in the business.
Born in Los Angeles in 1990, Stewart was welcomed into the world by her parents John and Jules who both work in film and television.
Her family knew many people in the industry and not long after her 11th birthday, she starred in the suspenseful hit Panic Room, alongside Jodie Foster, and so began her famous Hollywood career. Before Twilight's success, she also starred in Cold Creek Manor, The Messengers, and Jumper. It is no doubt Stewart is talented, but she, no doubt, had some help at a young age. With a promising career, Stewart has four projects coming up in the next few years.
1 Made It On Her Own: Jennifer Aniston
Aniston is another superstar starlet on our list that made it all on her own without the help of her family in the crazy tense world we call Hollywood. Born in Sherman Oaks, California, Aniston was raised in New York City for a short time after her parents' divorce. She went on to begin her professional training at New York's School of Performing Arts before graduating in 1987.
In 1990, her acting career took off — and the first big role she landed, after four years of acting, was Rachel Green on the hit sitcom Friends. Her fame knows no bounds and, after the show ended in 2004, Aniston went on to star in incredible movies like Along Came Polly, The Break-Up, Marley & Me, Just Go With It, We're the Millers, and Mother's Day, among many others.
She has eight projects coming up over the next few years and, turning 50 next year, there really is no stopping her!
Of acting and the talent people bring to it, Aniston had this to say, according to Elle: "I'll never forget my high school acting teacher, Anthony Abeson, who said, 'it starts with the shoes.' When I think about a character, it does start with the shoes: What kind would she wear? How would she walk in them? If I'm going to put on a dress for a role — I don't care if it's the hardest dress to put on — I have to put the shoes on first. The physicality leads me to the character."
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