Inside Billie Eilish's Relationship With Her Parents

In just a few short years, Billie Eilish has become one of the most influential and hyper-visible pop stars of our time. The singer is known for her colorful, eccentric looks, complete with brightly colored hair, gaudy jewelry, long acrylic nails, and baggy clothing. She rose to fame after her 2015 breakout hit, "Ocean Eyes."

By 2020, with two albums under her belt, Eilish had created an enormous following of loyal fans, including other celebrities. According to a June 2020 interview with Zane Lowe (via Vanity Fair), Lady Gaga wanted to mentor the 18-year-old Eilish. She sent her flowers and "a note" after she won five awards at the 2020 Grammys, which included the coveted song of the year and album of the year. 

But Eilish isn't the only talent in her family. Her brother Finneas Baird O'Connell, known in music as FINNEAS, is an award-winning record producer and songwriter in his own right. In fact, he's the genius who wrote "Ocean Eyes," originally for his high school band. Seriously, where did all of this talent come from? Let's take a deeper look into the parents of these two music stars.

Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas were homeschooled

It's not that surprising that Billie and Finneas Eilish both ended up being artistically inclined. According to a 2019 Rolling Stone interview, Eilish's parents, Maggie Baird and Patrick O'Connell were "mostly unemployed actors who put their careers on hold to home-school the kids." Their home-school curriculum wasn't the same as what typical high school students were learning either.

O'Connell said, "Our whole stance was, general knowledge is all. You need to know why the sky is blue, but you don't need to memorize a bunch of esoterica you'll never use." Eilish and her brother were able to focus on art and music, visit museums, and even attend science programs at the California Institute of Technology. Eilish not only passed her high school equivalency exam, but she graduated at the age of 15.

While this method may not be for everyone, the freedom allowed Eilish to explore music wholeheartedly. Per Rolling Stone, she grew up surrounded by instruments, including three pianos and a guitar-playing mom.

Her parents worked in the arts

Maggie Baird and Patrick O'Connell worked extremely hard to make sure Billie and Finneas Eilish got to follow their dreams, and they've managed to cross a few milestones of their own, too. Per her IMDb profile, Baird has over 50 acting credits, which start as a supporting actress in the 1981 TV series Another World. She voice acted in video games — "EverQuest II," "Rogue Galaxy," and "Saints Row 2" to name a few — and starred in and co-wrote the 2013 film, "Life Inside Out," a movie inspired by her own performances at open mic nights, per Seventeen.

While O'Connell may not have a verified Instagram like the rest of the squad, he has some pretty amazing titles to his name as well. He holds 25 acting credits, beginning with the 1983 TV series "Loving," and is most known for his appearance in 2008's "Iron Man."

In May 2020, Eilish and her dad began the radio show "Me & Dad Radio" on Apple Music, where the father-daughter duo co-DJ. Eilish told Apple Music's Zane Lowe (via Variety), "My dad and I have had this relationship over the years of sharing music with each other. My dad has shown me some of my favorite songs in the world and I've shown him songs that he loves and adores also." With supportive, talented, and music-loving parents like these, of course, Eilish would take the world by storm.

Maggie Baird taught her children how to write music

Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas have their mother, Maggie Baird, to thank for their songwriting prowess. As it turns out, it was Baird who taught them the ABCs of songwriting, even holding informal classes at home so they could learn properly.

"Because the class was for kids, I had to simplify it," Baird shared with Variety, explaining that all she did was make learning fun and easy for her children. "The class was just an hour a week for 10 weeks or so — but Finneas was like [mimes 'Eureka!' moment], and in a few months he formed a band. All I had to teach him was the basics, and he immediately got it — and the same with Billie." Their father, Patrick O'Connell, would sometimes join the class, too. "Once in a while, I would ask my husband to come to class and play the piano for the movement section," she shared with Music Together. "There's a video of Billie in a pink tutu, with Patrick practicing on the piano, and she's just dancing all over. That little clip is now in many different videos about her."

Per Eilish, she wouldn't get to churn out beautiful songs if it weren't for her mother. "I feel like I was always, I wanted to write songs just because my brother did, and also my mom did," she told Harper's Bazaar. "She taught both of us how to write and so I always have high standards for writing. If I didn't, I'd have 2,000 songs."

Her parents didn't have connections in the entertainment industry

Billie Eilish and FINNEAS would like to be excluded from the "nepo baby" discourse. Despite their parents having worked jobs in the entertainment sector, FINNEAS clarified that he and Eilish didn't have a leg up when they were starting, as Maggie Baird and Patrick O'Connell had zero connections anyway.

In 2020, when a fan told FINNEAS to "check your privilege," the songwriter fired back and said that while their parents had acting credits, those gigs were not enough to raise them. "During my life time, our parents were never able to fully financially support us off their work as actors," he wrote in a since-deleted tweet (via MTV). "Our dad worked 12 hour days 7 days a week as a construction worker for Mattel and our mom was a teacher. Our parents gave us love but knew no one in the record industry."

He also revealed that he paid off their mortgage while Eilish offered them a stipend so they could join their tour, even though "they have told us many times they would work for us for free." While they weren't capable of providing ample financial support, they put time and energy into nurturing their children's talents.