The Tangled Life Of Jeremy Renner

The following article includes references to allegations of drug use and domestic abuse.

Jeremy Renner is one of Hollywood's most popular and prolific actors, having landed two Oscar nominations and a coveted role in the "Avengers" movies in just over five years. Unfortunately, he's not immune to controversy — however, not for the reasons you might expect. Yes, there's some messy relationship stuff that's led to Renner's personal life playing out like catnip for the press, but the Marvel hero has also gone viral many times for all the wrong reasons. 

Of course, it's not all bad. Renner is also a true Renaissance man, who pursues a surprising number and variety of passion projects when he's not helping to stop (or reverse) Thanos' intergalactic eugenics program. The actor who's brought Clint Barton to life on the big and small screens was even prepared to walk away from the Marvel Cinematic Universe if the powers that be didn't agree to a more flexible schedule that allowed for more father-daughter time with his child, Ava. "I said, 'Fine, recast me. I'm going to be here with my daughter.' It was pretty gnarly," Renner admitted to Men's Health. "Acting and everything else goes out the window until my daughter says, 'I want to hang out with my friends, and I don't want to be around you so much, Daddy.'" Luckily for Marvel fans, the contract renegotiation panned out. 

Want to find out more about the man behind the — well, Hawkeye doesn't wear a mask, does he? But you know what we're saying. Keep reading to discover the double life of Jeremy Renner

Jeremy Renner's divorce seemed pretty rough

In December 2014, it was reported that Jeremy Renner's marriage to Sonni Pacheco was ending after only 10 months. From the get-go, the divorce proceedings showed signs that things were about to get pretty ugly. According to court documents obtained by E! News, Pacheco — who shares daughter Ava with Renner — demanded that the actor "immediately return [her] stolen passport, birth certificate, social security card and be restrained from making further efforts to conceal same." She also wanted the couple's prenup to be invalidated due to alleged fraud.

Court papers filed in March 2015, and later obtained by The Wrap, shed further light on the couple's apparently messy marriage. In the papers, Renner alleged that Pacheco "exercises bad judgment" and once left their daughter at home "without any supervision for fifteen minutes."

Fortunately for Renner, the couple's divorce was settled less than a month after his statements to the court hit the press. As part of the settlement, he and Pacheco got joint legal and physical custody of Ava, according to People. Renner was also ordered to pay $13,000 a month in child support.

Things got awkward with Jeremy Renner's wife and their roomate

Incidentally, Jeremy Renner and Sonni Pacheco's brief marriage played out a little like "Three's Company." The reason: their home included a roommate, Kristoffer Winters, whom The Hollywood Reporter described as Renner's "live-in business partner" and whom Renner described as "my brother" in a 2012 profile. Winters wound up playing a key role in the actor's divorce from Pacheco by seemingly providing pretty damning testimony against Renner's now-ex-wife.

"On approximately eight additional occasions at our Franklin [Avenue] home, Sonni told me that she did not believe in marriage and only wanted Jeremy to marry her so that she could become a United States citizen and avoid returning to Canada," Winters claimed, according to court documents. "I heard Sonni say at least five or six times when we were together at the Franklin house that Jeremy should be nice to her and not fight her on green card or money issues or else she would release intimate videos of him to TMZ," he continued.

Winters also alleged he saw Pacheco "regularly smoke cigarette and drink alcohol" while she was pregnant. Per legal docs obtained by TMZ, Pacheco denied Winters' allegations of excessive substance use; however, she curiously did not address his extortion claim.

Jeremy Renner and his nasty custody battle

Jeremy Renner is currently playing his best role yet. In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, the star admitted that becoming a father kind of messed up his career because it's all he really cares about. "She's like number one in my life, and then now I get to do movies on the side. Daddy's my best role to date, I think," he said. Of course, since it's Renner, the new gig couldn't possibly come without controversy.

According to TMZ, Renner became embroiled in a new nasty custody battle with his ex-wife. The pair's originally agreed-upon joint custody arrangement for their daughter, Ava, went out the window when Pacheco allegedly tried to walk back on their deal. In September 2019, she filed for sole custody with monitored visitation rights for her ex. In the past, she's claimed his gun collection put Ava at risk. In response, Renner asked the courts for the same thing, per TMZ. He claimed that he should have sole custody and Pacheco should only have monitored visitation rights.  

From this latest custody gridlock came even more ugly allegations, again via TMZ, in which Pacheco accused Renner of drug use, as well as verbal and emotional abuse and violence, including "fir[ing] a gun into the ceiling while Ava was asleep in her bedroom." Through his rep, Renner refuted these allegations, saying, "The dramatizations made in Sonni's declaration are a one-sided account made with a specific goal in mind."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

The actor's app won't be avenged

Jeremy Renner is used to battling super villains, so you'd think internet trolls would be no problem, yet trolls are exactly the thing that led to the demise of his personal app, which was basically Instagram if Instagram only featured pictures of Renner and was difficult to use. It's hard to imagine living in a world where celebrity vanity apps are actually a thing, but it's even harder to imagine a world where a bored Deadspin journalist could take one down by using a single reference to adult films. Nonetheless, this is the world we live in. 

In an essay for Deadspin, Stefan Heck took credit for being the troll that launched a thousand trolls, who subsequently flooded the app's comments section. "I posted the screengrabs on Twitter, everyone had a good laugh, and I went through with my weekend plans — a camping trip," Heck wrote, noting that by the time he returned, "Dozens of false Renners had sprouted up, sowing chaos."

Per The New York Times, Renner ultimately requested that Jeremy Renner Official be shut down by EscapeX, the app's developers. According to EscapeX CEO Sephi Shapira, who spoke to Wired, the demise of Renner's app was "a freak situation." That's perhaps what made it legendary enough to spawn a fan-created app where users can pretend to be Renner on the final day of his app's existence. 

Wait, Jeremy Renner has a music career?

As of this writing, Jeremy Renner's acting career is coming off an all-time high thanks to "Avengers: Endgame," "Hawkeye," and "Mayor of Kingstown," but the star is still dipping his does into different industries. Whether he's transforming into a could-be HGTV host or a rock star, like the many actors who came before him — and reality stars like Paris Hilton and Heidi Montag — Renner has had surprising endeavors into music. 

According to IndieWire, Renner's music career has always kind of been in the background, which is why you might have never heard of it. He's particularly prolific on movie soundtracks, having recorded songs for his and Charlize Theron's drama "North Country," the Brad Pitt Western "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," and 2006's "Love Comes to the Executioner." He even released a cover of "The House of the Rising Sun," yet somehow, fans are still puzzled about his musical direction. 

One Twitter user claimed the track "Heaven Don't Have a Name," a re-imagined version of the 2018 Sam Feldt single on which he sang, sounded like "Taylor Hicks fronting Imagine Dragons." Another alleged, "Jeremy Renner does not have friends who are honest with him." In 2019, Renner released three songs in partnership with Jeep, because of course he did. BuzzFeed News likened one of those songs, Renner's single "Main Attraction," to a "bargain-basement Imagine Dragons." Ouch. At least Renner's getting paid. It seems like the guy can monetize anything.

Gay rumors have plagued Jeremy Renner for years

According to Queerty, rumors about Renner's sexuality began in 2010 in part because of the following quote his old teacher gave to The National Enquirer: "I have never had the pleasure of meeting Jeremy's boyfriend, but the fact that Jeremy is gay has never been a primary concern."

Renner finally spoke out about the rumors to The Hollywood Reporter in 2012, expressing disgust with the media for linking him to everyone from his best friend, Kristoffer Winters, to his "Hurt Locker" co-star, Anthony Mackie. "I want my personal life to be personal, and it's not f***ing true," he said. "And I don't care if you're talking about things that are true, you're still talking about my personal life. ... It's none of your godd*** business."

Renner bluntly discussed the rumors again in a 2015 profile for Playboy. "When you Google yourself and the first thing that comes up is 'Jeremy Renner gay,' it's like, 'Oh, now you've arrived. You're now a giant movie star,'" he said. "To suggest that it's negative, that being gay is a terrible thing, a perversion or whatever — I just don't get it. Don't you wish we were in a world where we're not shaming, judging, and boxing people in?" Mic drop.

That one time Hawkeye did not have Black Widow's back

In April 2015, Jeremy Renner experienced a major online backlash after calling Black Widow a "sl*t" for her romantic involvements with characters in the "Avengers" series. The jaw-dropping interview forced Renner and co-star Chris Evans — who called Black Widow a "wh**e" — to issue immediate apologies. "I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone," Renner said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour."

Yet, strangely enough, Renner seemed to shrug off the controversy during a subsequent interview on "Conan." "I'm pretty unapologetic about a lot of things," Renner said. "But yeah, I got in a lot of Internet trouble. I guess that's a thing now. ... Mind you, I was talking about a fictional character, and fictional behavior."

"If you slept with four of the six Avengers, no matter how much fun you had," Renner said, addressing host Conan O'Brien, "You'd be a slut. ... I'd be a slut. Just saying." Oy.

Remember Jeremy Renner's joke about J. Lo?

Jeremy Renner vs. the internet might as well be a setup for a new Marvel movie. In January 2015, he battled critics after making a joke about Jennifer Lopez's, uh, physical features while presenting an award at the Golden Globes. "You want me to do it? I have the nails," Lopez asked Renner before opening the envelope. "You've got the globes, too," Renner retorted.

While the ensuing backlash dubbed the quip as sexist, it also sparked support from Renner fans and even a Glamour op-ed piece claiming those who were offended should lighten up — and the controversial situation once again prompted Renner to respond on social media. "A reminder not to take this s**t so serious," Renner tweeted. "Thanks Jennifer — you're a gem." In his defense, Lopez told E! News that she didn't mind Renner's joke. "That was really funny. He's a very funny man. It even made me a little hot," she said.

Achieving equal pay in Hollywood isn't Jeremy Renner's job

From a publicity standpoint, 2015 wasn't exactly the strongest year for Jeremy Renner. Following those controversies surrounding Jennifer Lopez and Black Widow, Renner drew more criticism for his response to an essay on equal pay in Hollywood written by his "American Hustle" co-star, Jennifer Lawrence. When asked by Business Insider if he would negotiate pay alongside his female co-stars, Renner said, "That's not my job. ... I don't know contracts and money and all that sort of stuff. ... I'm a performer and I know human behavior. When it comes to that sort of stuff I let other people deal with that."

Renner's comments generated a lot of press, in part because they contrasted with another "American Hustle" castmate, Bradley Cooper, who publicly and clearly supported Lawrence. Naturally, Renner took to social media to clarify his comments. "On the issue of gender equality, I have always supported women deserving equal pay. Period," Renner tweeted, calling the story a "media spin" and noting that things like creed, gender, race, and sexuality shouldn't have an impact on how much someone is paid.

He continued: "I have always asked for all of us to move towards a unity and equality not just in pay, but social acceptance and discover compassion and tolerance within ourselves, to bridge our differences; united we stand. We will always be one. Like it or not."

Fans keep thinking Jeremy Renner is on The Masked Singer

"The Masked Singer" has redefined reality TV singing competitions — if only for fans of silly outfits and karaoke. For those who haven't witnessed the show's bizarre allure, it features celebrities who battle each other in sing-offs. The catch is that they're all wearing masks so no one knows their actual identity. It's like "Dancing With the Stars" meets "American Idol" meets "The Voice" meets "Carpool Karaoke." When a disguised celebrity loses, they must reveal their face. Of course, that means fans are in a fervor trying to guess who's who.

At the onset of Season 2, fans began their guessing game — and they pointed their fingers right at Jeremy Renner. According to Deseret News, many believed that the character of the Fox was the "Avengers" star. In a sneak peek episode, the character hinted "this superhero is ready to devour the competition." It made sense. The star released three new songs in 2019, and told People that his second love — behind his family — was music. Alas, the rumors didn't pan out. The Fox did make it to the final episode, but the person behind the mask was actually Wayne Brady. 

That said, fans keep rolling with the idea of Renner on "The Masked Singer." Some news outlets speculated that he was behind the Armadillo in Season 7. That turned out to be Duane Chapman, but there's always a chance in the future.

Jeremy Renner is serious about his side hustle

Acting didn't always pay the bills for Jeremy Renner, and even after he became a megastar, the actor enjoyed keeping a side hustle. While most of us picture the Marvel hero in a stereotypically burly side gig (chalk it up to his penchant for motorcycles), he once served as a makeup artist at a Lancôme counter in a Modesto mall. Yes, Hawkeye knows his way around a contour.

According to Women's Wear Daily, Renner enjoyed the painting aspect of the gig, but he also quipped that he found it a "great way to hit on chicks." He continued after moving to Los Angeles, but found a more lucrative job in real estate. The star teamed up with his close friend, actor Kristoffer Ryan Winters, to launch a house-flipping business. According to a 2016 Bloomerg profile, they had already remodeled over 20 homes in their then-15-year partnership, and Renner showed no signs of stopping. "This acting thing doesn't pay. We make money in real estate. And that affords me, as an actor, to not have to take things because I need money," he told WWD in 2010. "I call it f***-you money. 'No, I don't need your godd*** movie; f*** you, I'll go build another house with my brother.'"

Of course, the acting thing does pay Renner for now — though we're still crossing our fingers for his HGTV debut.

His snowplow accident was worse than originally reported

In 2023, Jeremy Renner rang in the new year with a horrific tragedy. According to TMZ, the star suffered a serious accident while snow plowing driveways on New Year's Day at his and a neighboring home in Reno, Nevada. After a neighbor called 911, Renner was airlifted to the hospital, where he underwent two surgeries for "blunt chest trauma and orthopedic injuries," as his spokesperson revealed to CNN.

As news began to trickle in from major outlets, it became clear that the accident was worse than reports initially let on. According to a harrowing 911 call obtained by NBC News, Renner was "crushed" by his 7-ton PistenBully snowplow, with a neighbor telling dispatchers there was "a lot of blood." Instantly, rumors began to fly with some fans speculating that Renner needed a leg amputation. "It's much worse than anyone knows," a source alleged to Radar. "...The right side of Jeremy's chest was crushed, and his upper torso had collapsed. He also had a bad head wound that was bleeding and a leg injury."

Renner took to Instagram to set the record straight, posting an image with both legs intact. "These 30 plus broken bones will mend, grow stronger, just like the love and bond with family and friends deepens," he wrote in part. Since the accident, Paramount cleaned up Renner's roughed-up face in the promotional poster for "Mayor of Kingstown" out of respect for his recovery, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Jeremy Renner almost turned down the role of Hawkeye

Jeremy Renner has a wealth of gritty film roles under his belt — from his starring role in 2002's twisted drama "Dahmer" to playing the lead in pandemic thriller "28 Weeks Later." It's not surprising he completely embodies the grit of Marvel's Hawkeye. Renner first debuted his character in an uncredited role in 2011's "Thor." Since then, Hawkeye has appeared in four separate films and even landed his own TV miniseries ... but Renner almost wasn't part of any of it. Why? He was worried about being middle aged in tights.

"You got to sign on for like, you know, a bunch of 'Avenger' films and potential 'Hawkeye' films," he told Vanity Fair in a 2021 interview. "They kind of sign your life away. I'm like, 'Wait, man, I might be 50 in tights?' That was like my main concern. I'm like, 'I don't know if I want to do this.'"

Luckily, Renner threw caution to the wind (or, more realistically, hosiery), and the rest is Marvel history.