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I'm Rolling My Eyes At These 13 Times Famous Parents Defended Their Kids From "Nepo Baby" Criticism

I'm Rolling My Eyes At These 13 Times Famous Parents Defended Their Kids From "Nepo Baby" Criticism

The whole "nepo babies" discourse has been raging for a couple of years now. Plenty of children of the rich and famous have spoken up to defend their privilege — and so have their parents.

Here are 13 famous parents who defended their nepo babies' privilege:

1.Ryan Phillippe, the father of actor/musician Deacon Phillippe and model/actor Ava Phillippe, told Extra, "That's what always annoys me about this whole nepotism talk with the industry. You know, so many people grow up and end up doing what their parents do, you know, to some degree or another... To me, I always get offended for the children of actors and entertainers when people bring that up because yeah, of course, that's what they've grown up around."

Ryan Phillippe in a suit without a tie, standing before event backdrops
Ryan Phillippe in a suit without a tie, standing before event backdrops
Ava and Deacon posing together, her in a crop top and jeans, him in a casual shirt and hat
Ava and Deacon posing together, her in a crop top and jeans, him in a casual shirt and hat

Kevin Winter / Getty Images, Wwd / WWD via Getty Images

He continued, "By the way, that familiarity makes them handle some of what is hard about this industry. You've gotta have a thick skin. There's so much rejection and nasty things that can be said about you. It's not all celebration. These kids have grown up watching on set with Reese [Witherspoon] or with me. It seems natural, I think."

2.Ethan Hawke, the father of actor/singer Maya Hawke, told Today, "I feel sorry for this generation that this word [nepotism] has somehow turned into being derisive when it's the history of mankind."

Ethan and Maya posing at an event, her in a strapless gown and him in a suit
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

"The apple doesn't fall from far from the tree' is a very old expression. I like what [college football coach] Deion Sanders says about it. When he works with his kids, he says, 'Have you seen them play?'" he said.

3.Meg Ryan, the mother of actor Jack Quaid, told Glamour, "Jack is really talented. He's more of a natural than I'll ever be. That nepo stuff is so dismissive of his work ethic, his gifts, and how sensitive he is to the idea of his privilege."

Meg and Jack sitting courtside at a basketball game
James Devaney / Getty Images

She realized he was a talented actor at an early age. She also said, "I remember seeing him in a middle school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. He was playing Bottom. I was newly divorced from his dad, and he was seated at the other side of the gym. I had my head in my hands and was like, 'Oh, no. He's good. He's really good.' I leaned forward, and I see Dennis [Quaid], and he's also leaning forward with his head in his hands. I just knew."

4.Gwyneth Paltrow, the mother of model Apple Martin (and also a nepo baby herself), told Bustle, "Now there's this whole nepo baby culture and judgment that exists around kids of famous people. She's really just a student, and she's been very... She just wants to be a kid and be at school and learn. But there's nothing wrong with doing or wanting to do what your parents do. Nobody rips on a kid who's like, 'I want to be a doctor like my dad and granddad.'"

Gwyneth Paltrow in a tuxedo-style blazer and sheer top at an event
Gwyneth Paltrow in a tuxedo-style blazer and sheer top at an event
Apple in a checkered jacket with a purse standing indoors
Apple in a checkered jacket with a purse standing indoors

Donato Sardella / Getty Images for Saint Laurent, Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

"The truth is if you grow up in a house with a lot of artists and people making art and music, that's what you know, the same way that if you grow up in a house with law, the discussions around the table are about the nuances of whatever particular law the parents practice. I think it's kind of an ugly moniker. I just hope that my children always feel free to pursue exactly what they want to do, irrespective of what anybody's going to think or say," she said.

5.Will Smith, the father of rapper/actor Jaden Smith, singer/actor Willow Smith, and actor Trey Smith, addressed criticism he got for casting his kids in his movies. He told SiriusXM, "I grew up in a family business, so for me, my father and my mother taught me on the family business. We were working together, was how we were raised. So, for me, that's how I wanted to raise my kids."

the Smith family posing together on the Oscars red carpet
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

He continued, "That's how I wanted to teach my kids in seeing me in my best light and doing my art, the thing I do best, and they're right there. And I get to teach them in the actual moments of creation, so I was willing to have that backlash."

6.Martin Lawrence is the father of Jasmin Lawrence, who had a small role in his movie Bad Boys For Life. Discussing criticism his costar Will Smith got for casting his kids in other films, he told Sirius XM, "My daughter auditioned for the movie. I didn't give her nothing."

Jasmin and Martin posing together, her in a sparkly dress and him in a suit
Jemal Countess / FilmMagic / Via Getty

"Will didn't give her nothing," he added. "She auditioned for it."

7.Tom Hanks, the father of actors Colin, Chet, Truman, and Elizabeth Ann Hanks, told Reuters, "Look, this is a family business. This is what we've been doing forever. It's what all of our kids grew up in. If we were a plumbing supply business or if we ran the florist shop down the street, the whole family would be putting in time at some point, even if it was just inventory at the end of the year."

the Hanks family posing together on the red carpet at the Golden Globes
Future Publishing / Future Publishing via Getty Images

He said, "The thing that doesn't change no matter what happens, no matter what your last name is, is whether it works or not. That's the issue anytime any of us go off and try to tell a fresh story or create something that has a beginning and, a middle, and an end. Doesn't matter what our last names are. We have to do the work in order to make that a true and authentic experience for the audience."

8.Rob Lowe, the father of fellow actor and Unstable costar John Owen Lowe, told Men's Health, "I’m just saying, are you telling me that the world would be better off if Kirk Douglas didn’t have Michael Douglas?"

John Owen and Rob smiling, John Owen in a patterned suit, Rob in a turtleneck and blazer at an event
Gregg Deguire / FilmMagic / Via Getty

He also said that he and his wife Sheryl advised their kids to graduate college and try other fields of interest before going into the entertainment industry.

9.Noel Gallagher, the father of model Anaïs Gallagher, told Absolute Radio Breakfast, "It depends which way you look at it. My daughter, she follows me around with a camera and she films me and all that. She did a film about the making of the album. I guess you want to keep things close to home, but they have to be good at what they do."

Noel in 'POP' shirt and Anaïs in casual jacket standing outdoors
Dave J Hogan / Dave J. Hogan / Getty Images

He continued, "It's not the worst thing in the world if you get your kids working for you, They're cheap, do you know what I mean?"

10.Robin Wright is the mother of actor Hopper Penn and actor/model Dylan Penn, who both appeared in Flag Day with their dad, Sean Penn. She told E!, "It just was happenstance. None of this was planned. And they did their own things together...John Cassavetes, Jenna Rowlands, and then Nick Cassavetes's their son, was a director...This is a family unit. We've always been a unit, and I think, I hope that we'll always work together."

Dyland, Robin, and Hopper standing together at an event, dressed in formal attire
Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for InStyle

She also said, "It is the nature of the beast...They get your gene. And when they get your gene and it works, what's wrong with that?"

11.Vanessa Paradis, the mother of model/actor Lily-Rose Depp, told the French publication Madame Figaro, "Today, everyone has an opinion to give, social networks, the tabloid press. 'Nepo babies,' just the expression is awful. A child whose parents are famous already has a part of [their] personality removed from [them]: people are interested in [them] to reach [their] parents. People are wrong. Doors open for these 'children of,' but they are not always the right doors."

Vanessa Paradis in a sparkling dress and Lily-Rose Depp in a patterned outfit at an event
Stephane Cardinale - Corbis / Corbis via Getty Images

She continued, "Sure, the temptation is probably great to suggest a 'child of' in a casting call, but if [they're] bad at [their] job, [they're] not going to stick around for long. And then, above all, [they] will be involved in bad projects. My daughter, I have seen her work for eight years. She is a hard worker like you rarely see. She works hard on her roles and her auditions. She did a lot of castings where she wasn't chosen, and she was unhappy about it, like the others. I truly believe that those who succeed are those who work hard and are talented, whatever their name is. My daughter is one of them."

12.Katey Sagal, the mother of actors/singers Sarah and Jackson White (and a nepo baby herself), told The List, "What I know about it is — because I also have children that are artists — it doesn't matter. Once you get in the door, which is definitely hard to get in, then you're on your own. It doesn't matter what your name is. It doesn't matter who your parents are. It doesn't matter. Your talent has to stand on its own, or it's not going to happen. It's such a hard industry to break into that if you have a connection, use it. And also, as a parent of kids that both do this, I would be the first one to say to them, 'Don't do this. You're not good enough. It's too hard. Go find something else.'"

Katey and her family posing together at an event
Tasia Wells / FilmMagic / Via Getty

She continued, "In my case, my two older kids are very talented. So, I don't feel like my son, who is an actor, is leaning on [nepotism]. He doesn't even tell people that I'm his mom, and they both have a different last name. They barely tell people that I'm involved with them, and they get jobs on their own."

13.And finally, Julianne Moore, the mother of actors Liv and Caleb Freundlich, told Express, "I think it's kind of this weird thing that's happening on social media. A lot of us have advantages that are given to us by our families and by our relationships, and certainly, in terms of community building, you always want to help your family and your friends."

Julianne, Liv, and Caleb together at Tribeca Film Festival
Mireya Acierto / FilmMagic / Via Getty

"People should be given opportunities wherever. But, honestly, we only succeed based on our hard work and our abilities," she said.

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