Celeb Nepotism Babies Who Actually Deserve The Fame

Hollywood's nepotism babies have been getting a lot of flack. There has been a rise in hate for the children of celebrities who have benefitted from their famous parents' fame in their own careers. Stars like Lily-Rose Depp, Billie Lourd, and Hailey Bieber, who proudly wore a "nepo baby" t-shirt, have all been criticized for reaching star status only because of a famous mom or dad.

Actor Maude Apatow was one of the first stars to be deemed a "nepo baby" after fans learned that the "Euphoria" star's parents were Leslie Mann and movie director Judd Apatow. Her famous father even gave her her first roles in his comedies "Knocked Up" and "Funny People." However, like most of Hollywood's nepotism babies, she's out to prove to the world that she's working hard for her career. "I try not to let it get to me because I obviously understand that I'm in such a lucky position. A lot of people [in a similar position] have proven themselves over the years, so I've got to keep going and make good work. It's so early in my career, I don't have much to show yet, but hopefully one day I'll be really proud of the stuff I've done by myself," Apatow told Porter.

And Apatow isn't the only nepo baby who feels this way. Despite being born into a family of Hollywood notoriety, the stars below have warranted a place among the entertainment industry's most talented. Here are celeb nepotism babies who actually deserve the fame.

Kate Hudson wanted to continue her family's acting legacy

Actor Kate Hudson doesn't want people to assume she got her career thanks to having mega-famous parents. Her mom is Oscar-winning actor Goldie Hawn, and her dad is singer Bill Hudson. After her parent's divorce when she was a baby, her mom went on to date Kurt Russell (who she refers to as her father), making the family all the more famous. Despite this, Hudson has stood her ground regarding how she landed her career.

During an interview with CNBC, Hudson shared that her parents, who came from nothing, found success thanks to their hard work, and they have instilled that same mindset in her and her siblings. "We grew up privileged, but our parents [Hawn and Russell] made sure we understood it. It was like, 'Hey kids, none of this belongs to you. You didn't earn any of this. You were just born into it.' So at a really young age, our parents were all about work ethic.'"

Hudson rose to fame by portraying Penny Lane in 2000's "Almost Famous." She won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Shortly after, Hudson would become the leading lady of many popular romantic comedies, including "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," "You, Me and Dupree," and "Fool's Gold." She's also not here for the whole "nepotism baby" thing, either. "I look at my kids and we're a storytelling family. It's definitely in our blood. People can call it whatever they want, but it's not going to change it," Hudson told The Independent.

John David Washington didn't lean on his famous dad for help

Actor John David Washington has some big shoes to fill, being the son of legendary actor Denzel Washington. However, he has been setting himself apart from his famous father. In fact, acting wasn't even John's first passion. The star played professional football briefly before retiring and setting his sights on acting.

John's impressive record-breaking college football career led him to have a short NFL career where he played with the St. Louis Rams in the 2006-2007 season. After his release, he played in NFL Europe for the Rhein Fire and played for the UFL in 2009 before the league's folding following the 2012 season. Coincidentally, when John decided to quit football, he still appeared as an athlete in the 2015 series "Ballers," where he began getting a lot of recognition. In 2018, John was cast as the lead in Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman" and was nominated for a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award.

His father swears he didn't help his son get to where he is today. He told People, "He's really good at what he does, and the fact that he's been fighting to make his own mark, he didn't want any help from me, I didn't help him get into 'Ballers' or anything like that. The only way I helped him get into 'Ballers' was introducing him to football as a kid, so maybe that helped."

Jamie Lee Curtis calls herself the 'OG nepo baby'

Many fans of "Halloween" actor Jamie Lee Curtis have no idea that her parents are movie stars from the golden age of Hollywood. Her father is actor Tony Curtis, whose acting career spanned six decades, having worked with the likes of Natalie Wood, Carey Grant, and Marilyn Monroe. Her mother, Janet Leigh, also had an impressive acting resume. She was best known for her portrayal in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." We guess Jamie Lee can thank her mom for her "scream queen" title.

In fact, Jamie Lee's movie debut was in 1978's "Halloween." The movie would define Jamie Lee's career, with the actors reprising her role as Laurie Strode seven times. However, Jamie Lee proved that she could act in more than just slasher flicks with films like "Blue Steel," "Freaky Friday," and "Everything Everywhere All At Once," in which she nabbed her first-ever Oscar nomination and win.

As for being a child of two movie stars, Jamie Lee proudly declared herself "an OG Nepo Baby" in a lengthy post on Instagram in December 2022. "The current conversation about nepo babies is just designed to denigrate and hurt," she wrote. She added, "I have suited up and shown up for all different kinds of work with thousands of thousands of people and every day I've tried to bring integrity and professionalism and love and community and art to my work. I am not alone. There are many of us. Dedicated to our craft. Proud of our lineage."

Ice Cube's own son played him in a movie

O'Shea Jackson Jr. is extremely proud that his father, rapper and actor Ice Cube, helped pave the way for him to get into the entertainment business. In a Twitter post in 2022, the actor admitted to being thankful for having a parent in the industry who helped guide him but revealed that he had to work just as hard as anyone else. The actor even had to audition for the role of his own dad in 2015's "Straight Outta Compton," which he ultimately nabbed. It also became his film debut.

Speaking of his dad, Jackson Jr. tweeted, "The work he put in to get us to a place of opportunity. And for me to ignore that or not accept and use [it] as a guide would be foolish and disrespectful. I am grateful and I use his teachings daily." The actor made it a point to state that despite having a successful father, any parent would work extremely hard to help their children succeed.

During an appearance on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," Jackson Jr. reiterated his statements, telling the singer, "I'm forever grateful for everything that my dad had to do to get me the opportunities that I have. And if I were to run away from that or shy away from it in any way, in my eyes, that's disrespectful to everything he had to go through." Besides starring in "Straight Outta Compton," Jackson Jr. has also starred in the TV series "Swagger" and the film "Cocaine Bear."

Dan Levy worked behind the scenes of Schitt's Creek

Dan Levy shot to stardom after starring in the award-winning television series "Schitt's Creek." Despite working alongside his famous father, actor Eugene Levy, in the show, it made for one outstanding sitcom. Of course, it wasn't complete without the superb cast, including Catherina O'Hara, Annie Murphy, Chris Elliot, and Levy's real-life sister, Sarah Levy.

For "Schitt's Creek's" sixth and final season, the actor won four Primetime Emmy Awards for Best Comedy Series, Best Supporting Actor, Best Directing, and Best Writing for a Comedy Series. The show would end up hitting a new record for the most wins in a single season for a comedy series, with Eugene taking home his own Emmy for best actor in a comedy series.

To much surprise, Dan told Page Six that he never asked his famous father for acting advice. "I've never really turned to my dad for anything. I think out of fear of the label of nepotism. Entertainment seems to be the only arena where children who pursue the work of their parents, which is an inherently natural thing to do, is met with a lot of skepticism. And so for my whole life, leading up to ['Schitt's Creek'], I've always tried to do everything on my own, I guess to prove, mainly to myself, that I could do it," Dan shared, adding that it all changed when he began working side-by-side with his dad on the series. 

Jon Voight wouldn't have much influence over Angelina Jolie's career path

Angelina Jolie's first role was at age five when she starred alongside her father, Jon Voight, in 1982's "Lookin' to Get Out." Voight is an acting veteran and has worked since the late '60s. He won an Oscar for his performance in 1978's "Coming Home" and took home four Emmy Awards, including one for his role in the TV series "Ray Donovan." 

However, it wasn't her famous father that made Jolie consider an acting career. He and Jolie would end up having a flawed relationship, which began when he left the family when Jolie was just two. Jolie was influenced by her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, who was also an actor. As reported by the People, Jolie shared at the Toronto International Film Festival, "I grew up around film, and I grew up in a town where film was so important that it's all anyone talked about. It was the thing to be." She added, "I did start to get into acting, and I did it partially because it was something to do with my mom, and it made her so happy."

Jolie shot to fame after winning the Oscar for the 1999 film "Girl, Interrupted." She also made waves as the gaming heroine Lara Croft in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" and would go on to star in several action-packed films like "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" and "Salt." Jolie has also worked behind the camera as a director. Her work, mainly war dramas, includes 2011's "In the Land of Blood and Honey" and 2017's "First They Killed My Father."

Stella McCartney wanted to change her last name

Fashion designer Stella McCartney is by far Paul McCartney's most famous child. The Beatles star and his late wife Linda McCartney's daughter had a knack for fashion since she was a child. McCartney entered the fashion industry at 15, interning at Christian Lacroix, and learned how to tailor from famed pattern maker Edward Sexton. In 1995, Stella graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.

Speaking to Glamour, Stella shared that she knew the importance of hard work thanks to her parents. "My mom and dad had creative jobs, but our family was a working family — so there wasn't an option of 'Oh when you're older, you're not going to have to work," she shared.

Despite living a life of luxury, Stella even tried to distance herself from her famous last name. "When I started college, I tried to under a different name, and I would never tell anyone. The discovery was always a bit painful, when you could tell people in the corridor are looking at you differently ... it was always a bit oh god, they know," Stella told BBC's Radio 4. Two years after graduating college, Stella was named the creative director of Chloe. While most people believed she was hired for the role because of her namesake, she would prove them all wrong with her designs, with Chloe becoming one of the most fashionable designers on the market. In 2001, Stella launched her label under her name, and she's become one of the most successful designers of our time.

Gwyneth Paltrow believed she had to work twice as hard because of her famous family

Gwyneth Paltrow has been in the entertainment industry for so long people forget that she is the daughter of Emmy and Tony-award-winning actor Blythe Danner. Danner has been acting since the late '60s, but she might be most recognized these days for her work in "Meet the Parents" and its sequels, "Meet the Fockers" and "Little Fockers." Gwyneth's father was Bruce Paltrow, a movie director who gave his daughter her first role in the 1989 TV movie "High."

Gwyneth knows that her parents are Hollywood royalty but believes she had to work ten times harder for her career. During an interview with Hailey Bieber on her YouTube channel series "Who's In My Bathroom?" the "Avengers" actor shared, "As a child of somebody, you get access other people don't have. The playing field is not level in that way. However, I really do feel that once your foot is in the door, which you unfairly got in, then you almost have to work twice as hard and be twice as good because people are ready to pull you down."

The actor has had one of the most thriving Hollywood careers. She won the Oscar for 1999's "Shakespeare in Love" and has starred in several successful Marvel movies, including 2008's "Iron Man." When she's not acting, Paltrow is focused on her wellness and beauty brand, Goop.

Maya Hawke is honing her craft

When discussing nepo babies in Hollywood, Maya Hawke is somewhat of a newbie. As the daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, Maya got her acting start in 2017 when she was cast as Jo March in the BBC's adaptation of "Little Women." She starred in director Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon A Time in Hollywood" and found fame portraying Robin in "Stranger Things." 

Maya's famous parents weren't keen on their daughter getting into the business. "They were wary of the public life side of acting and the difficulties of that. They also tried to protect me from falling into acting. They wanted to ensure I had a strong enough backbone, my own passion for it, and work ethic. They didn't want to cart me along every red carpet or have me do bit-parts in their movies. Once I was old enough, and it was clear they were my choices, they were very supportive," she told The Guardian.

Maya is also a talented singer and has released two studio albums. However, if she had to pick between singing and acting, she told Rolling Stone it would be the latter. She's working hard at it and hopes others see that. "I've always had a real romantic idea about being excellent at one thing. I'm not excellent at acting yet, but I am further along the way of knowing it and understanding it really well, both from a historical perspective and a practicing perspective," Maya shared.  

Jack Quaid didn't want his parents help

Actor Jack Quaid did whatever he could to find his own path into acting despite his father being Dennis Quaid and his mother being Meg Ryan. According to his famous father, Jack even declined to use his dad's agent to help launch his career. "My agent wanted to represent him, and he said, 'No, I want to do it on my own,'" Dennis shared on The Kelly Clarkson Show

More so, Jack had also thought about changing his famous last name to set him aside from his parents. "I knew that people would constantly say, 'Oh, I know how he got that job,'" Jack told Thrillist. He added, "And they're still going to say that. It's fine. But as long as I knew how I got there, that would be enough." Jack got his first major role portraying Marvel in "The Hunger Games." He starred in Martin Scorsese's television series "Vinyl" and has been starring as Hughie Campbell in the popular Amazon Prime series "The Boys."

Tracee Ellis Ross' mom is a legendary Motown singer

Actor Tracee Ellis Ross' claim to fame didn't come until later. As the daughter of Motown's most successful songstress, Diana Ross, and powerful music executive father Robert Ellis Silberstein, it would seem inevitable that Tracee would shoot to stardom. However, she explained to The Guardian that auditioning for roles was brutal despite her famous lineage. "I kept getting rejected," Tracee shared. Though she would land the role of Joan Clayton in the popular 2000s series "Girlfriends," it didn't lead to much success for a few years. "When 'Girlfriends' ended, I thought the pearly gates of Hollywood were going to open. They did not," she told The Atlantic.

The actor's career turned around when she starred in 2014's "Black-ish." The show ran for eight seasons and has won numerous awards. Tracee won a Golden Globe Award and received multiple nominations for her portrayal of Dr. Rainbow Johnson. After the show concluded, she co-created the series' spin-off "Mixed-ish" which ran for two seasons. 

Tracee has managed to make her career her own, even if that meant facing rejection after rejection. "Early in my career, I was very specific in that I had no interest in using who my mom was to get things," she told Parade. She added, "Even now, a bell is going off in my head because I know that answering one question about her is going to be a headline."

Zoë Kravitz found her own fame

Zoë Kravitz has creativity in her blood. As the daughter of legendary rock musician Lenny Kravitz and the daughter of actor Lisa Bonet, it was safe to assume that she would follow in one or both of her parent's footsteps. Her first major acting role was portraying Angel in 2011's "X-Men: First Class." She later went on to star in projects like "Divergent," "Mad Max: Fury Road," "Big Little Lies," and "The Batman."  She's a singer and songwriter, too. She has a song titled "Don't" on the "Big Little Lies" soundtrack, and she co-wrote two songs on Taylor Swift's "Midnights" album.

Although she grew up with more tools at her disposal than most, her father told The Independent that he didn't lend a hand in her success. "I'm extremely proud of her ... She did it on her own, with no help from myself or her mother other than her upbringing and what she was exposed to," he shared. 

And when it comes to the term "nepo baby," Zoë made it clear that it didn't bother her one bit. She's proud of how hard her parents worked to get where they are at. In fact, it was her grandmother, Roxie Roker, best known for her role on "The Jeffersons" that really paved the way for what Zoë called "the family business" when speaking to GQ

Margaret Qualley's acting resume is quite impressive

Margaret Qualley broke into Hollywood by starring in 2013's "Palo Alto," and she has been quickly making a name for herself in Hollywood. The daughter of actor Andie MacDowell has been setting herself apart from her famous mom with her brilliant acting range.

Qualle's most notable roles include starring in HBO's "The Leftovers" and Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon A Time in Hollywood" opposite Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Leonardo DiCaprio. In 2021, she nabbed the lead role in the Netflix series "Maid," starring as a single mom working as a maid after leaving an abusive relationship. She even convinced the show's producers to cast her mom to play her fictional mother in the show. "When you walk into a room and your mom is there, that does something to you. Not only do you have permission to touch her like family, but rolling your eyes is a built-in response in the same way that tearing up from a well-timed hug is," Qualley told Harper's Bazaar. Having an acclaimed actor as your mom is definitely a great perk. 

Besides "Maids," Qualley has also starred as the lead in the 2022 films "Stars at Noon" and "Sanctuary," where she portrays a dominatrix. Talk about nailing a variety of roles!

Dakota Johnson was destined to be an actor

It was only a matter of time before Dakota Johnson would follow in her family's acting footsteps. Of course, most people know that her mother is Melanie Griffith, who starred in movies like "Working Girl" and "Something Wild," and her father, Don Johnson, starred in "Miami Vice." However, her grandmother, Tippi Hedren, is just as famous, having been an iconic Hollywood actor best known for her work in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." Acting definitely flows in Dakota's veins.

To much surprise, Dakota's father did not want her to pursue an acting career despite Dakota knowing her destiny was acting. She told The Mirror, "I was obsessed. I always wanted to be an actress. When my parents were on set, I wanted to be on set with them." She added, "I thought, this is just what my family does. My dad tried to make me go to college, but I refused. I wanted to act, and that was that." 

Dakota's first role was in her mom's 1999 film "Crazy in Alabama." She's starred in "The Social Network" and "21 Jump Street." However, she shot to fame with the "Fifty Shades" film trilogy.