The double life of Jeremy Renner

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 lead 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. 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 has a daughter, Ava, with Renner — demanded that Renner "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 "fraud."

Court papers filed in March 2015, and later obtained by The Wrapshed 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, the couple 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 Renner's divorce from Pacheco by 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 said, 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 substance abuse, however, she curiously did not address his extortion claim. 

Jeremy Renner is in a 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 is 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 (which didn't contain a bow and arrow despite the fact that he's Hawkeye) put Ava at risk. In response, Renner asked the courts for the same thing, according to 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 and violence, including "[firing] 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."

Jeremy Renner'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. According to The New York Times, Heck "joked about it on Twitter and went camping," then returned to what he described as "dozens of false Renners" — and a rogue fake Casey Anthony — "sprouting chaos." Renner ultimately asked EscapeX, the app's developers, to shut it down and refund all recent transactions. 

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, 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 a baffling music career. 

According to IndieWire, Renner's 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. 

As IndieWire pointed out, 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 claimed, "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. How about I go peek in your window, take what underwear you wore last night, whose husband you were f***ing, and shove that in the megaphone throughout your neighborhood? How does that feel? It's none of your g*****n 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 (via People). "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.

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 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 wrote, calling the story a "media spin," adding, "Gender, race, creed, or sexual orientation should have absolutely no influence in pay, positively or negatively."

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."

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.

The backlash once again prompted Renner to respond on social media. "A reminder not to take this s**t so serious," Renner wrote. "Thanks Jennifer — you're a gem." In his defense, Lopez later told E! News she was flattered by Renner's joke. ""That was really funny. He's a very funny man. It even made me a little hot," she said.

Is Jeremy Renner 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.

As of this writing, Season 2 is only just gearing up for its premiere, but fans already have some guesses about the celebrities behind the masks. According to Deseret News, many believe that the character of the Fox is Renner. In a sneak peek episode, the character hints "this superhero is ready to devour the competition." The star did release three new songs in 2019, and told People that his second love — behind his family — was music. It makes sense, but we'll have to wait and see.

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 took the job because he "enjoys painting" and found it a "great way to hit on chicks." He continued after moving to Los Angeles, but found a more lucrative gig 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 shows 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–k-you money. 'No, I don't need your godd–d movie; f–k you, I'll go build another house with my brother.'"

Of course, the acting thing does pay for Renner, now. The star has an estimated net worth of $50 million. We're still crossing our fingers for his HGTV debut.