Inside Dakota Fanning And Elle Fanning's Fractured Sibling Relationship

If you have seen Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning in, well, pretty much any movie or TV show, it's impossible not to know they are sisters. Aside from sharing a last name, the two look almost exactly alike. But how close are the Fanning sisters, really? While they surely have plenty of love between them, some of the interviews the sisters have given over the years suggest that their relationship has not always been smooth sailing.

From Elle's place as the younger-but-taller sister to their four-year age gap, there are a few clues that, like any siblings, the Fannings have not always gotten along. "There are a few years where you're both experiencing such different things; age nine and 13 — nothing in common; 12 and 16 — we didn't know what to do with each other," Dakota Fanning said to Marie Claire UK in 2017. "Now, as she's getting older and I'm getting older, we're getting closer... and that's really lovely."

Here's what fans should know about Dakota and Elle Fanning's relationship. What they lacked in closeness as children, they're making up for as adults.

Elle and Dakota Fanning 'would fight all the time' as kids

Pretty much everyone fights with their siblings, so this isn't the juiciest news. Still, it's a little comforting to know that even the biggest celebrities disagree with their family members from time to time. "When we were little, we would fight all the time. I'm taller, so I would be the one beating her up," Elle Fanning told Nylon of her sister, Dakota, in 2015 (via the Daily Mail). Of course, that was years ago, but it still shows that there was a little bit of tension between them at one point.

As for those fights, though, it sounds like they are ancient history. In May 2020, Elle spoke with Marc Malkin at Variety, and she said that she and her sister have been baking together during the quarantine. (Yes, even the stars stress-bake!)

"I've been with my sister and my mom and my grandmother, cooking and baking a lot," Elle said. "My sister has been doing paint by numbers, and also this kind of bedazzling thing. Everyone's embroidering. We're getting creative. I'm doing a jigsaw puzzle of the Top Gun movie poster." Painting, baking, and puzzles? Sign us up!

Elle and Dakota Fanning worked together on the upcoming movie 'The Nightingale'

While Elle Fanning played the younger version of her sister's character, Lucy, in 2001's I Am Sam, the upcoming film The Nightingale will be the first time the pair has acted alongside each other. There's clearly no love lost between them if they are collaborating on professional projects!

While The Nightingale, a World War II movie, won't be released until 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Elle spoke with Variety about the upcoming movie, and it sounds like now is exactly the right moment for the sisters to work together.

"I think it's the right timing in our lives now. It's really going to mean something because it's not like we're just super young doing it. Right now we're women," the Maleficent star said. "Our relationship, too, is also more friends at this point because we're only four years apart. When you're young, your sisters and you are fighting all the time and stealing each other's clothes." The actor also called The Nightingale "a true sister story," so it sounds like Fanning fans are in for a treat. And if Elle's latest statements are any indication, the stars are just as close off-screen these days as their characters are in the movie.

The Fanning sisters don't turn to each other for acting advice

Being in Hollywood can be isolating, so it's natural to assume that it would be comforting to have a sibling in the industry. But for Dakota and Elle Fanning, it doesn't sound like the sisters use each other as sounding boards for their acting projects.

"We've really kept that part of our lives separate," Dakota told Teen Vogue in 2014. "She's never asked me whether she should do a movie or not. I always know what she's filming and where she is and who she's working with, but I don't give her advice on it. We both have our own paths that we're confident in, so she's never asked me," the elder sister added. "Of course, I'd tell her if she wanted me to, but I also think that choosing the films that you want to do is a really personal thing — it's kind of just a feeling that you get and you're the only person who understands it."

In a way, that could be a blessing — the two sisters don't have to worry about having each other's approval before embarking on their own projects. And when they do want to work together, they can join forces, like with the upcoming The Nightingale. It sounds like the siblings' relationship really is the best of both worlds.