Celebrities Whose Parents Trashed Their Careers

Pursuing a career in Hollywood is a bold decision. Those who seek success within the entertainment industry have high hopes, and sometimes this pays off, but it's a risky choice nonetheless. It is perhaps no surprise, then, that some celebrities' parents didn't support their careers in the beginning.

Although Emma Roberts was born into a famous family, her parents fall into this category. Her mother, Kelly Cunningham, had her doubts about her daughter following in the footsteps of aunt Julia Roberts and dad Eric Roberts. "She just didn't want me to go into it young," Emma said of her mom in an interview with Elle. "When you come from a family that's in the industry, they're always like, 'Be a doctor! Be a lawyer!' But we end up wanting to be actors."

It appears that Emma's mother was concerned for her daughter's well-being as an aspiring teen star, but some parents of celebrities simply didn't support their dreams. As unfortunate as it is, there are quite a few stars who left their parents disappointed when they entered the entertainment industry. Keep reading to find out more about these celebrities whose parents trashed their careers.

Jennifer Lopez was told her aspirations were 'really stupid'

Jennifer Lopez is one of the biggest stars in the world today, so it's hard to believe anyone ever doubted her potential. However, there was a time when the "Let's Get Loud" singer had to prove herself just like anyone else. Lopez came from humble beginnings, so her dreams of pursuing a career in the entertainment industry seemed out of reach to some — including members of her family. Per E! News, the "Marry Me" actor's parents disregarded her dream of stardom, telling her it was "really stupid" and "no Latinos did that." 

Things got so intense between Lopez and her family that she eventually found herself without a roof over her head. The songstress detailed the disagreement that led her to leave home to W Magazine. "My mom and I butted heads," Lopez shared. "I didn't want to go to college—I wanted to try dance full-time. So she and I had a break. I started sleeping on the sofa in the dance studio. I was homeless, but I told her, 'This is what I have to do.' A few months later, I landed a job dancing in Europe. When I got back, I booked 'In Living Color.' I became a Fly Girl and moved to L.A. It all happened in a year."

It appears that Lopez and her mother have since repaired their relationship; the two performed Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" together at the Vax Live concert in May 2021, per The U.S. Sun.

Jennifer Lawrence's family wanted her to return home

Before Jennifer Lawrence was a well-known movie star, she was just a small-town girl living in Kentucky. As she told Glamour, she realized she wanted to pursue a career as an actor when she was a teenager. While it seems that Lawrence was driven to chase her dreams from a young age, her family wasn't exactly on board. "I grew up in Kentucky, so nobody was like, 'You're gonna be a movie star,'" the "Don't Look Up" star said. "There just wasn't a possibility. And then, when I told my parents when I was 14 that I wanted to move to New York and become an actress, they were like, 'Well, no. Obviously.'"

The "Joy" actor went on to share that she saved up babysitting money to relocate to New York at 14. Her parents allowed her to make the move as long as her brother followed her to the city, but her mom secretly hoped it was just a phase. "My mom always says she...wanted me to fail so that I could come home, because not failing meant me being in New York," she said in the same interview. "She lost a daughter, really, at 14." The "X-Men" star went on to explain that her family eventually came around and they're now supportive of her career.

Katy Perry's parents 'disagree strongly' with her lifestyle

Katy Perry has been open about her strict religious upbringing and how it impacted her. In a 2011 interview with Vanity Fair, she explained that her parents' beliefs resulted in tension in the household. Her father, Keith Hudson, is a preacher. "I come from a very non-accepting family, but I'm very accepting," she shared. The "Harleys In Hawaii" singer also said, "I didn't have a childhood." She explained that she wasn't even allowed to say "deviled eggs" and that she had to listen to mainstream music in secret. 

As you might have guessed by now, Perry's parents weren't exactly thrilled when their daughter began singing suggestive songs and wearing revealing clothing during performances and in music videos. According to the New York Post, the singer's mother and father were disappointed in her upon the release of her hit single "I Kissed a Girl." So much so, Keith went so far as to weave a reference to the song into one of his sermons: "I kissed God — and I liked it!" 

Perry's mom, Mary Hudson, also chimed in on the matter while speaking to the New York Post. "We cannot cut her out of our lives as she is our child, but she knows we disagree strongly with what she is doing and the message she is promoting regarding homosexuality, which the Bible clearly states is a sin," she told the outlet.

Heather Graham is estranged from her parents

One of Heather Graham's first roles was in the 1997 movie "Boogie Nights," in which she played a porn actor. This performance wasn't exactly celebrated by her parents. As noted in Tribute, Graham was raised in a strict Catholic household and her parents even hoped she'd become a nun one day. Clearly, she had a different aspirations. As Graham told The Guardian, she left home to embark on her acting career after graduating high school and severed ties from her mom and dad.

"My parents, they didn't really want to hear my point of view," the "Half Magic" actor explained to the outlet. "I think they were willing to hear it, but they would just then tell me about how their point of view was right and mine was wrong." Graham went on to share that her parents not only refused to accept her for who she is, but couldn't believe she wanted to leave home.

All these years later, Graham's parents maintain that the falling-out wasn't what it seems. "Every time we read these supposed reasons for why we are not part of Heather's life, it gets more and more frustrating as they are simply not true," her father told The Sun. So much for a happy Hollywood ending. 

Steve Martin's dad wrote a bad review of his big gig

It's safe to say Steve Martin's career has stood the test of time. The actor and comedian began working in the entertainment industry in the '70s and has maintained success ever since then. It might be safe to assume that Steve proved any doubters wrong, including his late father, Glenn Martin. Steve wrote about his father's life, parenting approach, and harsh criticisms in a piece published in Reader's Digest after his death.

"My father's attitude toward my show business accomplishments was critical," the comedian penned. "After my first appearance on 'Saturday Night Live' in 1976, he wrote a bad review of me in the newsletter of the Newport Board of Realtors where he was president. Later, he related this news to me slightly shamefaced, and said that after it appeared, his best friend came into his office holding the paper, placed it on his desk, and shook his head sternly, indicating a wordless 'no.'" 

While their dynamic was rocky for some time, fortunately, it didn't stay that way forever. On a 2016 episode of "The Howard Stern Show," he shared, "Later in life we reconciled, he became a fan, he would answer fan mail for me and he was an enthusiast." 

Leslie Jones revealed her father didn't find her funny

Comedian Leslie Jones put it all on the line when she decided to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. As she recalled to SanDiego.com, "When I did [stand-up] that first time, I quit basketball, I quit the scholarship and I left Colorado, came back to California, moved in with my boyfriend and started pursuing comedy." At the time, she was at Colorado State University on a basketball scholarship, and she'd even considered getting a degree in electrical engineering. Her father couldn't believe she was leaving all of this — mostly because he didn't find her that funny. 

On a 2019 episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live," Jones shared that her dad saw a headline in a local paper about her being "the next Eddie Murphy" and had a rather strong reaction. "I had to call my dad and tell him that I was quitting college to become a comedian and he was like, 'Eddie Murphy?!'" she said. "'Eddie Murphy ain't even Eddie Murphy. Diane, get on the phone and tell this girl she ain't funny! You ain't funny! You ain't never made me laugh, ever!'" Jones went on to share that she was so passionate about comedy that she didn't let her father's lack of encouragement get to her. Luckily, it looks like her determination paid off in the end.

Gemma Chan's dad didn't talk to her for months

Gemma Chan didn't set out to become an actor at first. In fact, she told the Evening Standard that her parents initially hoped she'd become a lawyer. She attended Oxford where she studied law, but modeling gigs helped her eventually fund an education at Drama Centre London. Chan's sister, who was once an accountant, also left her profession to pursue a career in public relations. "My parents thought they were getting an accountant and a lawyer," the "Eternals" actor told the outlet. "Instead they ended up with a PR and an actress."

When Chan told her parents that she planned to become an actor, they weren't open to the idea of her pursuing such an uncertain career path. The star and her father even stopped speaking to one another for months. "I completely understand why they were fearful and upset, because, you know, I don't come from a show-biz family," she said in a separate chat with Allure. "We have no connections to anyone in the business." Chan has said she and her parents are on good terms now, and they're understandably proud of how far she's come.

Madonna's dad 'does not acknowledge' her fame

Madonna's childhood was full of hardships, and many of these challenges stemmed from her strict upbringing. In 1991, the legendary singer opened up to Carrie Fisher in an interview for Rolling Stone about some of the rules she had to adhere to in her Catholic household. "My stepmother told me I wasn't allowed to wear tampons until I got married. Can you imagine?" she told Fisher. The "Material Girl" singer also shared that her parents basically pretended she wasn't one of the biggest stars on the planet. "When I go home, my father absolutely does not acknowledge that I'm famous, or a star, or a celebrity, or that I've made it in any way," Madge said. "He doesn't talk about it so I can fit in and not feel the scorn of my brothers and sisters. I'm not sure that I like that."

The "Like a Prayer" songstress continued to open up about her complicated dynamic with her father. She admitted that she wished he would initiate a conversation with her about her life as a superstar, but would never go so far as to force the conversation on him. "I would like it if he talked about it, actually, but he never does. Maybe I want him to recognize it so that finally I'll have his approval," she said. Thankfully, Madonna and her father's relationship improved over time.

Megan Fox's mom 'never really believed' she'd make it

Much like a few other celebs on this list, Megan Fox was raised in a strict religious household. The brunette beauty's mom doubted her potential at first. "My mother never really believed that I would be successful, but I never second-guessed it at all," Fox revealed to The New York Times in 2009. "I never once even got depressed. I'm my own thing. I don't feel like there's anyone else like me."

Despite her mother's doubts and her strict upbringing, Fox was determined to make a name for herself. One of her first acting gigs was a minor role in "Bad Boys II" that her parents might not have approved of. "They put me in six-inch heels and a stars-and-stripes bikini," Fox said in the same interview. "Sent me to Michael [Bay]. He approved me. Then they put me in the scene under a waterfall. You got $500 extra if you were willing to get wet, and I was thrilled to get wet."

Luckily, Fox's mom eventually came around and even helped her achieve success. According to GQ, the mother relocated to Los Angeles to make her daughter's dreams a reality. Fox was only 14 at the time, and she also landed a few modeling gigs that likely helped the family get by. At the time, she and her mom lived in The Oakwood, an apartment complex geared toward aspiring child stars.

Randall Park's parents said making it would be 'impossible'

"Fresh Off the Boat" actor Randall Park had a hard time convincing his parents that he made the right decision when he entered the entertainment industry after graduating from UCLA. Park detailed the experience while speaking at the University of Southern California in 2019. "My mom actually worked at UCLA ... and she would hear first-hand stories about how hard it was," He shared. "And she would tell me, especially as an Asian person, how impossible it would be. And she was right, it was really hard."

Park went on to share that he now feels differently about his family's words of discouragement. "I say my parents didn't support my career," he continued. "But with the perspective I have now, they really supported me during my pursuit of this career because they housed me, they fed me sometimes and maybe did my laundry here and there."

The "Blockbuster" star revealed more about his relationship with his family during an appearance on "Live With Kelly and Ryan" in 2018. He said he held off on telling his parents about his acting career dreams for as long as possible. They suspected something was up when he started showing up in TV ads, but he assured them he wasn't taking it seriously. In reality, he was taking it incredibly seriously, and once he came clean his family accepted his decision to embark on the journey to becoming an actor.