Growing Up As Paul Walker's Daughter, Meadow

The following article includes brief references to sexual abuse.

If there's one thing Meadow Walker is set on doing — it's carrying on her late father's legacy. Paul Walker is best known for starring as Brian O'Connor in the "Fast & Furious" franchise from its inception in 2001 up until his tragic death in November 2013. Paul died at age 40 when he and friend Roger Rodas took a Porsche Carrera GT out for a joy ride while the actor was on break from filming "Furious 7." Rodas, who was behind the wheel, lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree after reaching speeds of 100 MPH. Paul and Rodas were both killed instantly.

While "Furious 7," released in 2015, marked Paul's final appearance in the franchise, his on-and-offscreen impact has continued to live on through his only child: The franchise begins the end of its decades-long run with part one of its final chapter "Fast X" hitting theatres in May 2023, in which Meadow has a cameo role (but more on that later). Meadow, who was just 15 years old at the time of her father's death, has since grown up and launched her own successful career, all while carrying her famous dad with her in every milestone she achieves. "I love and miss you endlessly," the model wrote in a 2021 Instagram tribute on the anniversary of Paul's passing. "Today and everyday I celebrate your life, your love. And you, my best friend."

We're taking a look at what life has been like for Meadow Walker while growing up as Paul Walker's daughter.

Meadow Walker grew up in Hawaii

Meadow Walker had a unique childhood, one where her early years were spent enjoying the island vibes of the Aloha state. Born in Los Angeles, she later moved to Hawaii to live with her mother — Paul Walker's former girlfriend, Rebecca Soteros — for the first part of her life. Having spent much of her formative years by the water, the future model developed a passion for the ocean, which would later inspire her charity work, for which she's partnered with several marine organizations to raise money for the environment. Meadow even learned to surf at the age of seven, with Paul telling People in 2006, "Every day I pick her up from school and we go out on a longboard. She really loves it."

After Paul's career began to take off in Los Angeles, he brought his daughter to live with him. The "Fast & Furious" star told Entertainment Weekly in March 2013, "My heart was desperate for so many years with the situation with my daughter. She's living in Hawaii and she's there and I'm running here. My daughter lives with me full-time now and she's the best partner I've ever had." 

As for Meadow's mother, Soteros lives a life out of the spotlight and works as a primary school teacher. Opening up to People about his ex in 2011, Paul said that their daughter shares Soteros' free spirit. "She's a bit more like her mother, but she's also how I am innately," he admitted, adding, "[Meadow]'s more of a free roamer and she appreciates the little stuff."

She was incredibly close to her father

Growing up as Paul Walker's only child, it's no wonder that Meadow Walker formed a deep bond with her father. After she moved to Los Angeles to live with her dad full-time, the future model became incredibly close with him. The pair did everything together, and Paul admitted to People in 2011 that he delighted in the little moments he shared with his daughter — like driving her to school. "I just shut up, sit back, and stay quiet," he said at the time. "She opens up and reveals a whole lot. The trick is to not ask questions, just listen. I'm figuring it out."

Paul did figure it out, as he became Meadow's best friend. Their close relationship is evident in the many heartwarming Instagram tributes she shares in memory of her late father. At the May 2023 Rome premiere of "Fast X," Meadow revealed to E! News that she still feels her dad's presence. "For me, it's numbers, four and seven are my dad's favorite numbers," she said, adding, "And I swear whenever I'm doubting anything or whenever I'm in an argument with someone or anything, I start seeing four and seven everywhere. So I always know that it's him."

But despite the nostalgia that the final installments of the "Fast & Furious" franchise may bring, Meadow noted that she felt happy about the occasion more than anything else. "For me, this is super exciting, and he would be amazed that this is happening," she told E! News.

Meadow Walker was the face of Givenchy Beauty

Though growing up as Paul Walker's daughter might mean big shoes to fill, Meadow Walker has launched an impressive career all on her own. The "Fast X" star has become a successful model in the decade since her father's passing. Meadow signed with the New York City-based agency DNA Models in 2017, and she had the privilege to open for Givenchy at Paris Fashion Week in 2021. She also became the face of the Givenchy Beauty ad campaign in early 2023. Sharing her excitement about her work with the fashion brand in an Instagram post that featured this ad out in the wild, Meadow wrote in part, "WOW! Another dream come true!!" 

The model has made huge strides in the fashion world since she moved to NYC to pursue her dream. Having graced the cover of Vogue Korea in 2021, she's also been featured in both Vogue and British Vogue. The star has even strutted the runway for the likes of huge designers like Alexander McQueen and Proenza Schouler. 

Keeping things in the Givenchy family in her personal life, Meadow wore a custom gown from the designer on her wedding day in 2021. "One of the first people I called after I got engaged was my dear friend Matt," Meadow told Vogue. "I asked him if he would design a dress for me. He said absolutely and congratulated me. It wasn't until after the call that the shock set in that Matthew Williams had agreed to design custom Givenchy Haute Couture wedding dresses for me!"

Paul Walker's daughter sued Porsche after his death

Meadow Walker took her grievances to court following her father's death in 2015, when the Givenchy Beauty model filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche on the basis that the car manufacturer allegedly failed to effectively include necessary safety measures in the vehicle in which Paul Walker and Roger Rodas lost their lives. 

According to the court documents obtained by People, Meadow's lawyers claimed the company "[knew] that the Carrera GT had a history of instability and control issues" and that the vehicle "lacked safety features ... that could have prevented the accident or, at a minimum, allowed Paul Walker to survive the crash." The legal team further alleged that Porsche "failed to install its electronic stability control system" that was "specifically designed to protect against the swerving actions inherent in hyper-sensitive vehicles of this type." Meadow's lawyers also claimed that a faulty seat belt design broke Paul's ribs and pelvis, preventing him from escaping the car before it burst into flames.

Meadow settled the wrongful death suit against Porsche in 2017, but the details of the agreement were sealed off. Porsche also came to a settlement in a separate wrongful death lawsuit that was filed by Paul's father in 2015, which mirrored Meadow's claims. It isn't the only case the model was involved in following her father's fatal accident, however. Meadow was previously awarded a $10 million settlement in 2014 from the estate of Roger Rodas for his part in being behind the wheel that day, per TMZ.

She's founded The Paul Walker Foundation

In the spirit of her father, Meadow Walker is giving back. The "Fast X" actor started her own charity in 2015, called The Paul Walker Foundation. "Reflecting on my father, I found myself reflecting on his passions. His passion for the ocean, his passion for rescuing animals, his passion for helping people, and his passion for spontaneous goodwill," Meadow shared in an Instagram post on Paul Walker's birthday that September. "I wanted to start this foundation because I want to share that piece of him with the world."

As per The Paul Walker Foundation's official website, the charity inspires young people to give back to the environment. The PWF also awards scholarships for change-makers aged 16-19 who have made a substantial difference in their communities. With an emphasis on impacting marine life, the foundation has partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society.

Meadow also partnered up with Soma Sara to start the Everyone's Invited movement, launching a website where survivors of sexual abuse are encouraged to share their stories anonymously. For her part, Sara has openly called out private school education in the U.K. for allegedly perpetrating sexual abuse and misogyny, and hopes that the website will expose these education systems. Meanwhile, Meadow has also worked closely with Pencils of Promise, an organization aimed at building schools for underprivileged kids. On behalf of her work for the charity, Paul Walker's daughter received an activist award in 2022.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Vin Diesel walked Meadow Walker down the aisle

In terms of fatherly figures, it seems no one could do a better job for Meadow Walker than her father Paul Walker's former "Fast & Furious" co-star and close friend, Vin Diesel. Diesel has starred as one of the main characters in the franchise since 2001 and formed a close bond with Paul in their decade-plus of working together. The "Guardians of the Galaxy" star is also Meadow's godparent, having known her since she was just a young child. The two have gotten even closer following Paul's passing, and Diesel even walked Meadow down the aisle at her 2021 wedding ceremony. 

Meadow married her husband, British actor and model Louis Thornton-Allan, in the Dominican Republic in a private beach-side ceremony that October. Though the COVID-19 pandemic restricted several friends and family members from attending, Meadow told Vogue the tight-knit celebration went off without a hitch. "We couldn't have imagined it to be any more perfect and personal — and honestly it was easy and simple. Louis and I knew exactly what we wanted from the start. It was a very intimate celebration," she said.

The Paul Walker Foundation founder sought help from her Aunt Paloma to help plan the logistics of the celebration, which was followed up by a beach party. "We were all barefoot, dancing in the sand," Meadow told Vogue. "To finish the night, there was a wonderful display of fireworks, and we lit lanterns into the picturesque night sky."

She opened up about having an abortion

Following the monumental decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the landmark case of Roe v. Wade in June 2022, Paul Walker's daughter had some powerful words. After nearly 50 years of Roe v. Wade establishing a pregnant person's federal right to seek abortions nationwide, allowing abortions — and on what terms — is now a decision left to each state. 

Meadow Walker took to Instagram to share her own story, where she opened up about having an abortion in the past. Calling the court's decision "a profound injustice" and an "assault" against people seeking an abortion, she wrote in part, "When the world was collapsing during the pandemic, I sought an abortion. It is a very private and personal experience — the way it should be. I was lucky enough to have a great doctor who supported me through the debilitating process — with their help, I am able to be the happy and healthy person I am today."

The model went on to state, "Banning abortion doesn't prevent abortions, it prevents safe abortions." While the post garnered mixed reactions in the comments section, several fans showed their support for Meadow and her vulnerability. "So very brave of you to share such a hard, personal experience with the world," one user wrote.

Meadow Walker has a cameo in Fast X

What better way to honor her late father than for Meadow Walker to star in one of the final installments of the "Fast & Furious" franchise? After over two decades of movies, "Fast X" — the 10th main iteration — would debut in May 2023. This two-parter story sets the scene for the final chapter closing out this action series. Meadow makes a cameo appearance in the film, and she shared her gratitude for the role via Instagram ahead of the premiere. "The first 'fast' was released when I was one year old!" she wrote in part. "I grew up on set watching my father, Vin, Jordana, Michelle, Chris, and more on the monitors. Thanks to my dad, I was born into the 'fast' family. I can't believe now I get to be up there too. With those who have been around to see me grow up."

"Fast X" features scenes that were filmed across Europe and the U.K. With Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Michelle Rodriguez, and several other fan-favorites reprising their roles, the film follows protagonist Dom Toretto (Diesel) as he navigates the threats against him and his family by the son of drug lord Hernan Reyes. 

Speaking with E! News on possibly taking on more acting gigs, Paul Walker's daughter said at the Rome premiere, "I'm thinking about it. Modeling is my focus and that's my big passion, but I could see myself potentially in the future breaking out a little bit."