Who Are Brendan Fraser's Three Sons? Here's What We Know

Brendan Fraser has been riding the wave of a big comeback thanks to his starring role in the 2022 Darren Aronofsky film "The Whale," which has garnered him critical acclaim and award season success. This renaissance has also stirred up a lot of interest in the actor's personal life and his three sons, Griffin, Holden, and Leland Fraser. 

Brendan first met their mother, the actor Afton Smith, at a barbecue hosted by Winona Ryder in 1993 and the pair were married by 1998. "I knew I could combine my personal and professional ambitions and have a friend to be with in her," he later told USA Weekend, adding that it was love at first sight. Brendan's oldest son, Griffin Fraser, was born in 2002. At the time, he told CBS News that fatherhood had redefined his life completely. "[It] has just given me the absolute reason to do everything that I do with so much more certainty – and how much I get out of it, how much I love my wife more, how much I love this kid," he said. "Those of you out there who have kids, you know what I'm talking about."

While Brendan Fraser's children stay out of the limelight, their dad has shared a number of heartwarming details about them over the years. Keep reading to find out more about the actor's three sons.

His eldest son is on the autism spectrum

In a handful of interviews, Brendan Fraser has talked about his oldest son Griffin's autism diagnosis. As the Hollywood veteran said to GQ in 2018, "he needs extra love in the world, and he gets it." Noting his firstborn's openhearted nature, he also described Griffin as "a curative on everyone who meets him." Brendan continued, "They don't put themselves first so much around him."

Brendan also spoke to Howard Stern in 2023 about his bond with Griffin and why he always makes fans on the autism spectrum his number-one priority at conventions and meet-and-greets; it's important to the actor that everyone feel at ease and welcome. "I know how meaningful it is to their families and to them," he said (via USA Today). "It means a lot to feel like you can gratify someone just by showing up." Brendan also admitted that at first, he struggled with his son's diagnosis. "I want to know how to fix this. What's the cure? What does this mean?" he remembered thinking at the time. "Then you learn quickly that I wouldn't have any other way."

Brendan Fraser bonded with Griffin over horses

One way that Brendan Fraser bonded with his son Griffin was through their shared love of horses. The actor brought a horse called Pecas back to his New York ranch after filming the 2015 series "Texas Rising." As he told GQ in 2018, he connected with the gentle-natured Pecas after watching the other horses bite and kick him. "Without pretending that the animal is a human, he looked like he needed help. Like: Get me out of here, man," the "George of the Jungle" star recalled. 

So Pecas came home with him and became a companion for Griffin. "And even if he doesn't ride him, just give him a brush," Brendan noted, adding that his kid could spend hours out there with the steed. "The horse loves it, the repetitive motion that kids on the spectrum have that they love. And it just works." The Critics' Choice Award winner admitted that working on the horse became therapeutic for him as well. "If I ride, too, I just feel better. I just feel better."

Sadly, Pecas eventually had to be put down after suffering from melanoma-related complications. Brendan told GQ in 2022 that he and Griffin still speak about the beloved horse all the time.

Brendan Fraser's sons look out for each other

On a 2010 episode of "The Rachael Ray Show," Brendan Fraser shared that his three sons all have distinct personalities and interests. As People recapped, the actor said that middle child Holden Fraser, born in 2004, was pretty serious as a young kid and joked that he'd run for office one day. On the other hand, he described his youngest, Leland Fraser, as a "professional fire plug." Brendan continued, "He goes through brushes and briers and comes out on the other side scratched and smiling. It's all good!" 

Years later, "The Mummy" star told GQ in 2018 that the brothers have always worked as their own family unit, since Holden and Leland were so protective of eldest son Griffin Fraser. "Ever since they were small, one was always the spokesperson and the other was the enforcer," Brendan commented fondly, observing how they looked out for their big brother as a duo.

All three boys played a significant part in their dad's return to the silver screen and why he took on the lead role in "The Whale." "I spent the first, I don't know, 25 years of my career or so making films that I generated all the hope and aspiration and joy from what I believed to be coming from a character or a screenplay," he said to ET in 2022, "and then some alchemy happens when you have kids and suddenly everything clicks."

Brendan Fraser is no longer with his kids' mom

Afton Smith, the mother of Brendan Fraser's three sons, is also an actor. In the '90s, she appeared in films like "George of the Jungle," "Reality Bites," and "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe." And after she hit pause on her Hollywood career to focus on her family, she went on to write her own books: "Hollywood Picks The Classics" is a guide to the Golden Age of movies, and "Point to Happy" is a picture book she and her mother, Miriam Smith, created for autistic children.

Sadly, Afton Smith and Brendan Fraser announced that they were going to file for divorce in 2007. "They continue to maintain a close and caring friendship," a source told Us Weekly after the news broke. That friendship was threatened by a messy court battle, however, since Fraser asked the courts to reduce his annual $600,000 alimony payments in 2011 and Afton responded by accusing him of hiding his contracts for two movies. Eventually, the court denied Fraser's motion and ruled against Afton's accusation of fraud, while noting, "To their credit, both parents are actively engaged in the lives of their sons."

Brendan Fraser's younger kids are models

Brendan Fraser's sons Holden and Leland are both aspiring models who are signed with the Marilyn Agency in New York. "They're big, handsome boys. They are the matinee idols now," Brendan told The Telegraph in February 2023, observing that they are way too young to remember when their dad was a young hunk in Hollywood. "And I mean, I'm older now; I don't look the way I did in those days, and I don't necessarily want to," he added. "But I've made peace with who I am now."

He may not have necessarily encouraged his boys to go into show business, but Brendan did note on a 2010 episode of "The Rachael Ray Show" that all children are inherently gifted actors. Observing the drama that could take place between his three sons, the veteran movie star noted there isn't anything quite like a kid's unbridled, natural reactions. "They're like little Greek tragedians. They're so pure," he commented, describing the way they expressed their rage at bedtime or their joy while spending time with their dad. "That's what they teach in actor's school, and all kids do is that."

His sons have helped him connect with roles

Brendan Fraser's 2010 movie "Extraordinary Measures" was inspired by the true story of John Crowley, a father who fought to find information on the terminal genetic disorder that was killing his two children. "Maybe, while doing the movie, I'd come home and hug my boys a little tighter," he told Parade at the time, reflecting on how grateful he was that Griffin, Holden, and Leland Fraser were all healthy. "I always hug and kiss them whether they like it or not. I'm like, 'Come here, you,' and you blow raspberries on them," he shared. 

He went on to say how deeply he related to Crowley as a dad who would do anything for his kids. "It makes my heart stop beating for a moment to think it were true that my children might be in any kind of jeopardy," Brendan insisted. He went on to say he would stop at nothing to shield his sons from harm, before adding, "That doesn't mean you can protect them from everything, but you have to try."

In a separate chat with Interview, Brendan opened up about how his love for his loved ones helped shape his acclaimed performance in "The Whale." "Being with my kids and their mom and our family has given me such love that if ever I needed to hold something of value up to try and translate that to what was important to Charlie, I didn't have to look far," he said. 

Brendan Fraser's kids give him career advice

In the aforementioned 2022 GQ interview, Brendan Fraser admitted that he consults his kids about film offers and asks them for career advice. His son Holden Fraser is a fan of the indie studio A24 Films, for example, so he was very excited by the news that they would be distributing "The Whale." "He was like, 'What? No way! Really?' Like, that's how sophisticated the cinema mind is in a lot of these teenagers now," Brendan said.

Not all of their advice was a guaranteed winner, however. Holden wasn't as enthusiastic about his dad being offered a role in DC's "Batgirl" movie but declared that he should definitely take it for the sake of his career. When Brendan asked his middle child what his reasoning was, Holden replied, "Marvel, DC movies, they always win. Everybody sees them. Even when they lose, they win. They win! Do it! Yes, absolutely. Even if it sucks, it's awesome. Do it!" As Brendan wryly observed, that wasn't exactly true in the end. "Batgirl" ended up being completely written off by Warner Bros. As Variety reported, the studio stopped it from being released on any platform despite its $90 million production budget.

His sons surprised him after his Oscar nom

After spending some time out of the spotlight, Brendan Fraser's film career was reinvigorated by a starring role in Darren Aronofsky's 2022 drama "The Whale," which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. In a statement to People, the actor stated that he was beyond honored to be up for the prestigious award, expressing his gratitude towards Aronofsky as well as the other cast and crew. "A gift I certainly didn't see coming, but it's one that has profoundly changed my life," Fraser said. 

What made his nomination even more special was the incredibly sweet way Griffin, Holden, and Leland Fraser celebrated the career milestone. "My kids surprised me with cake and balloons," Brendan revealed to Extra, describing the moment as a core memory that he would cherish. "They sneaked into the house, they had a plan." He also credited his kids with inspiring him to reach for an Oscar nomination. "I think it's a fulfillment of an aspiration that I would have never even thought to dare to have allowed, let alone to myself," he said.

Chatting with Willie Geist on "Sunday Today," Brendan noted that while it wasn't always the case, his sons are now old enough to appreciate his filmography. "Now dad's cool," he laughed. "We'll see how long that lasts."