The Truth About Barbra Streisand's Son, Jason

The name Jason Gould might not instantly ring familiar, but you will without a doubt know who his parents are. His father is Elliott Gould, the Academy Award-nominated actor best-known to the older generation for his leading performances in the Robert Altman films of the early '70s. Younger audiences are sure to remember him as Ross and Monica's bumbling dad, Jack Geller, in "Friends."

His mother, meanwhile, is a bona fide icon who has been a fixture of the stage and screen ever since she made her national TV debut on "The Tonight Show" with Jack Paar in 1961: the one and only Barbra Streisand.

Jason Gould has occasionally walked in similar showbiz circles but has largely kept a relatively low profile compared to many celebrity offspring. From personal projects to growing up in the spotlight, let us take a look at what we do know about the son of the late 1960s power couple.

Jason Gould was labeled the Million Dollar Baby

Forget Hilary Swank's Oscar-winning turn as a tragic boxer in Clint Eastwood's 2004 drama. The original Million Dollar Baby was Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould's first, and only, child. Yes, even before he was welcomed into the world, Jason Gould was creating headlines. And it was all down to his due date.

"In 1966, she had planned a twenty-city concert tour (in stadiums) which was projected to earn her well over $1 million — a staggering sum for that time," Allison J. Waldman recalled in "The Barbra Streisand Scrapbook." But when she fell pregnant in the spring of that year, the "Funny Girl" star had no option but to wave goodbye to both the planned shows and the seven-figure sum that came with it. Perhaps not too surprisingly, cancellation received a lot of attention. "The press dubbed the unborn child 'Barbra's Million-Dollar Baby,' a term she found offensive and crass," wrote Waldman.

Even so, Streisand didn't seem too concerned about missing out on such a bumper payday. In an interview with the Lubbock Avalanche Journal given shortly after her pregnancy was revealed, she said, "A stage performance is different. You do it and it's gone forever. It's not a tangible thing, is it? Having a baby. That's a tangible success."

When he was four years old, Jason Gould's parents divorced

Just three years after welcoming Jason Gould into the world, Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould decided to go their separate ways. And by 1971 the pair had officially divorced. Fortunately, their one and only son has continued to maintain a strong relationship with both of his parents over the years.

And it appears as though both parties couldn't be prouder of how Jason turned out. In 1999, Streisand gushed to The Advocate, "I would never wish for my son to be anything but what he is. He is bright, kind, sensitive, caring and a very conscientious and good person. He is a very gifted actor and filmmaker. What more could a parent ask for in their child? I have been truly blessed. Most parents feel that their child is particularly special, and I am no different."

And Elliott proved he was just as doting when he talked to Closer (via PressReader) in 2017. When asked who Jason takes after, the "Ocean's" franchise star responded, "Both of us. He's got my eyes. And he's brilliant. He sings. He's artistic. In some ways he and Barbra look alike." The veteran actor also acknowledged that Jason was the glue that held his first family together in another chat with the same magazine: "Barbra is a very significant part of my life, no less significant than the rest of my family. Jason is the light of our lives. Barbra adores him. So we have contact."

Jason Gould initially pursued a career as an actor

Jason Gould had no choice over, and indeed no awareness of, his screen debut. The youngster was only a toddler when he appeared in "Up the Sandbox," a curious 1972 fantasy-drama which starred his mother Barbra Streisand as a frustrated housewife.

It would be another 16 years before Gould added another acting credit, appearing as Henry in an episode of inner-city high school drama series "The Bronx Zoo." And the teen appeared to enjoy the experience, because in 1989 he landed his first notable role, partygoer Mike in Cameron Crowe's classic rom-com "Say Anything."

Gould went on to show up in Kirk Cameron's college debate drama "Listen to Me," act in Kevin Bacon comedy "The Big Picture," play opposite his real-life mother again in her directorial effort "The Prince of Tides," and end up much further up the bill than usual in action B-movie "Subterfuge." But following a brief stint in the 1997 London staging of Jonathan Tolins' acclaimed play "The Twilight of the Golds," Gould appeared to go AWOL. In 2001, he told The Advocate, "I still act. I admit I haven't pursued it with the intensity of some young actors, probably because I grew up around the business." Yet Gould hasn't added to his IMDB page since.

Tabloids outed Jason Gould

In 1991, while shooting "The Prince of Tides" alongside his mother Barbra Streisand, Jason Gould was outed by the tabloid press (per SFGate). Not only did they reveal to the world that the then-actor was gay, they also claimed he'd got married to another man.

According to Closer, Gould had already come out to his parents on his own terms three years earlier. But he was still left stunned at how the media was able to publish such a story without his consent, and one that was half-based on complete fabrication as well. In 2000, Gould told SFGate, "It was shocking because it's so untrue. It was just so grotesque to me that they could make up a story like that and claim they had seen pictures of my wedding to a man. And then print this story even though I deny it ... I never was hiding the fact that I was gay. I never felt like I needed to come out because I never felt like I was in, you know? I'm pretty comfortable with my sexuality."

Gould also said the story impacted his career: "I did get a lot of attention for 'The Prince of Tides,' but I think with (the tabloid exposure) going on at the same time, suddenly the industry knew I was gay. So the only roles I would be offered were gay roles. And most of those were stereotypical gay roles, which I had no interest in playing."

Jason Gould directed a film based on his own experiences

Jason Gould followed in the footsteps of his mother Barbra Streisand once again in 1996 when he took to the director's chair for the first, and so far last, time. "Inside Out" was a 27-minute short film about a celebrity offspring who's wrongly reported to have married a man by the tabloid press. It was a storyline plucked straight from Gould's very own personal life, of course.

Indeed, back in 1991, Gould faced the exact same scenario himself. And nine years on, he told SFGate that he enjoyed blurring the boundaries between truth and fiction: "I knew I was being provocative. I liked walking that line. I knew that may be confusing, but I thought that would be interesting ... I'm the inspiration, I guess but the character is not named Jason. And when I see it, I see a character, a story. I don't see a re-creation of my life because it's not that."

As SFGate noted, the film premiered at Sundance Film Festival, and in 2000 it was included in an anthology of LGBTQ shorts titled "Boys Life 3." By this point, Gould was able to recognize that the movie had a different purpose than what he'd first thought. "When I made it I didn't really realize what I was communicating through the film," he shared with the outlet. "It's taken me a little bit of time and depth perception to see that it really is about self-acceptance."

The 'simple things' are good for Jason Gould

His mother Barbra Streisand may be renowned for acting the diva — see the time she, as the Independent recounted, supposedly forbade the entire staff of the Las Vegas MGM Grand from making eye contact with her, for example. But Jason Gould doesn't appear to have inherited her demanding genes.

During a 2018 interview with HuffPost, he was complimented on his seemingly humble nature. And it's a trait that he appears to pride himself on, responding, "I mean, I've never been an arrogant p****. As I've done more and more work on myself, I know who I am, and that's a quality [humility] that I like in myself and others."

Gould also claimed that as well being an all-round good egg, he's also a relatively easygoing one: "I'm a pretty laid-back guy. I like hanging out with friends, going to the movies and playing games. I have a dog, which brings me tremendous joy. I'm not somebody who is going to be out at the clubs smoking a cigarette and drinking. The simple things in life fulfill me."

Jason Gould isn't particularly comfortable with fame

As the son of two Hollywood A-listers, Jason Gould was thrust into the spotlight from a very young age. This was a man who was dubbed the "Million Dollar Baby" before he was even born, don't forget. But even with his years of being trailed by the paparazzi, the entertainer has never quite got used to the idea of fame.

In 2000, Gould told SFGate, "When I was a kid I couldn't go anywhere without photographers in our face ... I don't like cameras snapping in my face. It's like being attacked." He went on to explain that the constant attention was one of the reasons he essentially quit the acting game following 1991's "The Prince of Tides," adding, "I don't like fame and what goes with that. I grew up in it."

Gould did manage to achieve a level of catharsis in 1996 when he made his one and only film "Inside Out." As SFGate recapped, in one particular scene, his character Aaron hides away in a portable toilet after realizing that a creepy photographer is watching his every move. But he soon realizes that enough is enough and decides to give the voyeur a piece of his mind.

Like his mother, Jason Gould is a crooner

After appearing to retreat from the limelight for more than a decade, Jason Gould made a surprising return to showbiz in 2012 when he launched a music career. The one-time actor and director released a self-titled EP featuring a mixture of both originals and covers including "How Deep is the Ocean," the Irving Berlin number he'd later record with his mom Barbra Streisand on her 2014 duets LP "Partners."

Gould also put his own spin on several other classic songs on his first full-length studio effort, "Dangerous Man," in 2017. And alongside renditions of Fred Astaire's "The Way You Look Tonight," Donny Hathaway's "For All We Know" and Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," the singer also contributed several self-penned numbers. Gould told Billboard that songwriting has always been in his blood: "That's really how this journey all began for me. I was a kid who came up with melodies. I would sit at the piano and work out chord progressions I liked, but I never had the confidence to complete a song."

Luckily, Gould was given the confidence by a pretty impressive name, as he explained to People (via Yahoo!), "Quincy [Jones] had heard my version of 'Nature Boy' and he came up to me and said, 'We're going to make an album together.' And I said, 'We are?' And now we have. That he would want to work with me is still sort of stunning to me."

Working with family works for Jason Gould

Jason Gould obviously has no qualms about drawing upon his famous family connections. While directing his 1996 short "Inside Out," he roped in his father Elliott Gould to play his on-screen dad. And he's collaborated with his mother Barbra Streisand on the stage, the screen, and in the studio.

In addition to teaming up for "Up the Sandbox" and "The Prince of Tides," Jason and Babs' paths have most often collided in the music world. In 2014, they duetted on a cover of Irving Berlin standard "How Deep is the Ocean" for Streisand's 34th LP, "Partners." And two years previously, audiences at her North American tour got to witness the two generations showcasing their talents in person.

Speaking to USA Today about one particularly momentous Streisand show, Jason admitted, "I did not know if my knees would buckle. I did not know if I could do it. I didn't want to set this up. I learned I could do it. It's been weeks afterward, and I cannot believe I sang in front of thousands of people at the Hollywood Bowl. I don't know who that person is."

Jason Gould didn't initially appreciate his mother's gay icon status

For a certain generation, Barbra Streisand will always be the ultimate gay icon. As Playbill recounted, she kickstarted her glittering career at The Lion, one of Greenwich Village's most popular gay joints, at the turn of the 1960s and has since become a vocal advocate for LGBTQ rights, too (per Today). However, her own son wasn't initially enamored with her mother's status.

In 2001, Jason Gould told The Advocate, "At one point I was very uncomfortable with it. Now somebody can be a fan of hers and it's not threatening to me. There was a time when I was uncomfortable and not sure whether people like me for me or liked me because they liked her. But that can be pretty transparent after about 10 minutes."

Gould appeared to be even more at ease 16 years later when he was asked by Billboard about navigating the dating scene as the son of a gay icon: "Well dating is challenging, period, isn't it? But I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin now. It's hard to tell what other people may know or not know, or project, or assume about you. All I can do is be myself." Contrary to tabloid reports in 1991, Gould has never married and details about any long-term relationships appear to have been kept under wraps.

Jason Gould has changed his political viewpoint

During his most revealing interview with The Advocate in 2001, Jason Gould claimed that he had no interest in becoming political like his mom Barbra Streisand. "It separates people and creates these polar opposites — Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative — and it's not realistic," he said. "What it does is create differences in people who are not really that different. And so do the terms 'gay' and 'straight.' I don't really want to support any of it."

Step forward nearly 20 years later and Gould's Instagram page suggests that his attitude toward political matters has drastically changed. Indeed, his account is littered with quotes from and images featuring liberal figures such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Martin Luther King and the Obamas. It also contains its fair share of anti-Republican content, with unflattering cartoons of Donald Trump a particular favorite.

Following Joe Biden's successful presidential election bid in November 2020, Gould took to the photo-sharing platform where he captioned a drawing of the 46th and Vice President Kamala Harris, "I hope America can heal from the divisiveness and dishonesty of these past years." His mother Streisand had also been a vocal supporter of Biden, having performed in a virtual fundraiser for his campaign several months earlier (per Independent).

Jason Gould is something of a feminist

Just like he appears to have been influenced by his mother's political leanings in recent years, Jason Gould now seems to be chaneling Barbra Streisand's feminist streak, too. In 2018, he was asked by HuffPost what three wishes he'd liked to be granted if a genie suddenly popped up. And the singer's first answer would no doubt make his mom proud.

"I'm very excited about women claiming and reclaiming their power," Gould shared. "I think we're in the midst of a revolution of female energy. I'd love for more women to step into positions of power in terms of politics." The one-time filmmaker — who could only think of one more wish, a change in the administration's attitude toward the environment — was echoing similar sentiments made by his mother in a Q&A with the AP four years earlier.

"I think women are still treated as second-class citizens," Streisand said. "We still don't get equal pay ... The average woman doesn't get the same pay; she gets 77 cents on the dollar that a man gets. I'm so involved in women's heart disease and trying to raise awareness and funds; Even in medical research, women are not treated equally ... So since women are 51 percent of the population I think we should really have that represented in Congress as well."

Al-Anon 'sort of inspired' one of Jason Gould's songs

In a 2017 interview with Billboard, Jason Gould opened up about a piece of his personal life.

When asked about what he considered to be the highlight of his debut album, Gould replied, "It's hard to pick a favorite, but 'Dangerous Man' holds a special place for me. I'm a strong proponent of self-awareness. I spent many years going to Al-Anon meetings and studying the 12 steps, which sort of inspired the song. It's unusual in that it turns on itself. I like that." Al-Anon is a support group for family and friends of people who are addicted to alcohol. 

The singer didn't reveal any more details about his time in Al-Anon, but when questioned whether music had been a positive influence on his recovery, he answered, "Music has phenomenal healing power. It speaks to the heart. So many people have found a sense of acceptance and belonging through music. So absolutely — that's all I really care about in the end."

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

How much is Jason Gould worth?

Jason Gould might have inadvertently cost his mother one million dollars before he was even born. But that's small change compared to the figure that Barbra Streisand currently has in her bank balance now. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the "Woman in Love" singer is worth $400 million, making her one of the wealthiest women in the music industry in the process.

Elliott Gould, Jason's father, might not be anywhere near his ex-wife in the showbiz rich list. Still, the $20 million that he's reportedly accrued over the years is nothing to be sniffed at, either.

But what about Jason himself? Well, Celebrity Net Worth says the singer isn't that far behind his dad in the financial stakes: Jason apparently has $15 million to his name. While he's led a career of his own, having two superstar parents probably doesn't hurt the bank account.