The Untold Truth Of Paul Walker's Daughter

While some kids of celebrities are raised in the spotlight, some are more sheltered until later in life. Meadow Rain Walker is one of the latter. The daughter of "Fast and Furious" star Paul Walker, Meadow was thrust into the public eye when her father tragically died in a car accident when she was young. The unexpected death of the beloved actor devastated "Fast and Furious" devotees everywhere, leaving fans of the franchise to reconcile the loss of such an important part of their universe. The "Fast and Furious" family embraced Paul Walker's biological family in their shared grief, sending messages of support to his daughter, Meadow.

Though Paul had publicly talked about his relationship with his daughter in the past, it wasn't until he died on November 30, 2013 that the world truly turned their eyes on Meadow. Since then, she has become a beacon of light and hope for fans of the deceased actor, getting involved in the franchise, carrying out his legacy, and sharing bittersweet images and videos across social media. But she is also her own person. In the years since her father passed away, Meadow has grown up and has started to pursue her own career in entertainment and following her own dreams. This is the untold truth of Meadow Rain Walker.

Meadow Walker was raised by her mother, Rebecca Soteros, in Hawaii

Meadow Rain Walker was born to Paul Walker and Rebecca Soteros on November 4, 1998. Paul was just 25 and getting lots of work as actor, having just received attention for his feature in the acclaimed film "Pleasantville." The following year, he'd land roles in hits "Varsity Blues" and "She's All That," setting him up for his eventual worldwide superstardom in "The Fast and the Furious" in 2001. Just as his career was really taking off, his then-girlfriend Rebecca Soteros became pregnant. "The whole thought of being a dad was scary to me," he divulged to CosmoGirl in 2003 (via OK!). "I don't think anybody thinks that they're truly prepared or ready for that." 

However, he knew he had to be in his daughter's life. Meadow grew up in Hawaii with Soteros, and as Paul told WENN (via Young Hollywood), he "was providing financially." He explained to the outlet that he had to reconcile his ideas that "mom and dad were supposed to be together" and accept that he wasn't ready to settle down. The actor wanted to enjoy all the freedoms of his youth while still being there for Meadow. "I felt guilt, so I'd come around and do what I could do," he shared.

Meadow was very close with Paul Walker

In an interview with GQ that was conducted shortly before his death, Paul Walker said he was "brought up in a traditional Mormon family where these ideas about parenting are of structure and sacrifice." He continued, "To think outside of that idea of family and parenting that I've grown up with is tough, but also very freeing." 

Paul shared with CosmoGirl (via OK!) that growing up, his father wasn't afraid to show affection — a quality that he picked up. "My father is so the macho man, but when it comes to family and stuff, he's always like, 'What's up? I love you, bro,'" he said. Similarly, Paul often gushed about his daughter to the press and to his friends, colleagues, and anyone else who would listen. "[I]t always ultimately came back to family," Dwayne Johnson said of his late co-star to EW. "And very specifically the beautiful and important bond between a father and his daughter, and how we both realized that over the years."

Paul made the most of the time he and Meadow Walker spent together. From taking her on outdoor adventures and teaching her to surf when she was young ("Every day I pick her up from school and we go out on a longboard," he said in People in 2006) to taking her on set with him, he showed his daughter the different pieces of his life.

Meadow Walker was living with her father before he died

Paul Walker died in November 2013, just weeks after Meadow Walker's 15th birthday. That same year, Paul opened up to Entertainment Weekly about his bond with his daughter, who had "recently started living with him full-time" after spending most of her childhood with her mother. "There's a part of me who feels like I'm making up for lost time," he told the outlet. "I was like 'Okay that's it, I'm not working, leave me alone.'" But as the actor shared with GQ, Meadow wouldn't have it. "I thought at this point in my life I would need to be home with her, but she wants me to keep acting so she can travel around the world with me," he said.

Though their life together was just taking shape, any plans Paul had made were cut at the knees when he died in a car crash alongside his good friend and advisor, Roger Rodas, while attending a philanthropic event. Rumors spread that she was at the scene of his death, but they were quickly shot down by Paul Walker's official team on Facebook (via Yahoo!). "We want to clarify that Paul went to the event alone," the statement read. "Meadow was not at the charity event on Saturday and thankfully, did not witness the accident."

Meadow Walker inherited millions

Paul Walker was reportedly worth $25 million when he died, and according to People, his will named Meadow Walker as the sole heir. And as USA Today reported in 2016, Meadow also won $10.1 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the estate of Roger Rodas, Paul Walker's friend and financial advisor who was driving the Porsche at 100mph when he crashed into a lamppost, trapping and killing himself and Paul in the crash and subsequent explosion. Her lawyer noted to USA Today that the money she won was "a fraction of what her father would have earned had his life not been tragically cut short." 

But Meadow's legal battles weren't over. As her attorney explained to USA Today, "Meadow's lawsuit against Porsche AG — a $13 billion corporation — intends to hold the company responsible for producing a vehicle that was defective and caused Paul Walker's death." According to ABC News, the suit against Porsche was settled privately in 2017. According to the outlet, Meadow's suit maintained that "the car's 605-horsepower engine and lack of safety features" as well as the seatbelt were at fault.

In 2020, The Hollywood Reporter reported over 20 of Paul's vehicles were auctioned off, bringing in $2.3 million. The money was set to go to a trust for Meadow.

Meadow Walker was at the center of a custody battle after Paul Walker died

After her father died, Meadow Walker found herself at the middle of a custody battle. In February 2014, TMZ reported that Paul Walker's will indicated he wanted his mother to be his daughter's guardian should anything happen to him. Speaking with E! News in 2018, Paul's brothers, Cody and Caleb Walker, said their famous sibling reached out to them and their mom right before he died. Cody told the outlet that Paul said he wanted their mother to retire and "be full time for Meadow."

In March 2014, Paul Walker's mother, Cheryl Ann Walker, filed to be the official guardian of Meadow, according to The Wrap. The court documents obtained by the outlet "claim that the teen's mom, Rebecca Soteros, is unable to care for her because of alcoholism" and noted that Cheryl "hoped to fulfill her son's final wish that she have custody." A source told E! News that Soteros "doesn't have a problem or a serious drinking problem" and said her relationship with Meadow "is excellent."

Eventually, Cheryl acquiesced and let Rebecca have custody, ending the drawn out feud. (According to TMZ, Cheryl reportedly "promised she would drop her bid for guardianship if Rebecca successfully completed the [rehab] program," and Soteros reportedly obliged.) An insider told E! News at the time that Meadow was "happy" with the outcome and "will live with her mother and they will be getting a place [in California] and the agreement does involve both the guardianship and estate issues." 

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).

She helped found the Paul Walker Foundation

Meadow Walker has some of her funds to pay homage to her dad in the sweetest way: starting a philanthropic foundation. Paul Walker had his own non-profit called ​​Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW), connecting people with opportunities to use their skills to help in times of crisis and, on the night he died, he had just attended a charity event.

Keeping the tradition, Meadow helped found an organization named after her father to donate to things he would have cared about. According to its mission statement, the Paul Walker Foundation is "focused on his passions and dedicated to his legacy, also asserting that "Paul's passion for the ocean, a curious mind and a spontaneous heart lives on in The Paul Walker Foundation." In the Instagram post announcing the launch — which debuted in 2015 on what would have been Paul's 42nd Birthday — Meadow wrote, "I wanted to start this foundation because I want to share that piece of him with the world. I want to share that part of him with others."

The Foundation spans many topics, but focuses on marine life and conservation. Per EW, Paul once shared in an interview that he studied to be a marine biologist before acting, saying he "thought [he]'d make one movie, pay off my loans, and go back and finish school." Obviously, this did not pan out but his passion for the environment remained and is still part of his legacy, thanks to Meadow. 

Meadow Walker announced her campaign to help build a school

In addition to the Paul Walker Foundation and her charitable efforts for the environment, Meadow Walker has used her platform to build a school for less privileged children with Pencils of Promise. "With the support and leadership of Paul Walker's daughter, Meadow, PoP has partnered with the Jasikan community to support construction on a new classroom block and create a quality learning environment for hundreds of students and teachers," reads the nonprofit's site.

Meadow announced the project in a 2019 Instagram post. "Today, I am launching a campaign with @pencilsofpromise to build a school," she wrote. "This is the season of giving and my biggest wish is to provide a space for these children to learn. Everyone deserves a good education. We are dedicating this school to my dad, Paul Walker." Having grown up with advantages and access, Meadow is keenly aware that not all children have the same opportunities as she does — or even the same basic resources.

Meadow Walker has launched a modeling career

Having inherited her father's good looks, Meadow Walker is branching into modeling. In the era of legacy celebrities, it isn't uncommon that many of the most famous models often come ready-made with recognizable last names and coveted superstar lifestyles. And Paul Walker's daughter sure seems to be making it work.

In 2021, she scored the coveted opening spot at the Fall/Winter 2021 Givenchy show. What's more, she landed a Proenza Schouler campaign and walked the runway for the womenswear brand. When Vogue asked her about these milestones, she said it was "an absolute dream come true." Here's a bit of trivia: Vice President Kamala Harris' step-daughter Ella Emhoff was also in the Proenza Schouler show. 

But wait, there are even more modeling credits to go over. As Meadow's profile indicates, Walker was featured on the covers of Pop Magazine and Re-Edition Magazine, plus she walked in a Marc Jacobs show. With both runway and catalogue shoots already under her belt, her career is poised to take off whenever she is ready.

The tomboy side of Meadow Walker

While Meadow Walker always stuns at premieres for the "Fast and Furious" franchise and has earned attention for her impeccable fashion style, she admits to being a shameless tomboy, especially when she was younger. She credits her father, Paul Walker, for raising her without an emphasis on how she looked. "With my dad, there wasn't a focus on [makeup]. We would do boys' activities, roll around in the mud, play soccer and just be crazy," she divulged in an interview with Vogue. "It wasn't until I was a bit older that I discovered magazines, fashion and seeing models."

It seems Paul's determination to keep Meadow from the darker sides of fame paid off. In a 2003 interview with Cosmogirl (via OK!), Paul said bringing up Meadow in nature would help her with growing up in the spotlight. "I think sometimes it may be overwhelming for her," he said. "I just know that the only way to offset that would be to make the outdoors a key part of her life." 

His grounded influence stuck with Meadow. She told Vogue, "I was lucky to grow up in the way that I did because it didn't affect how I saw myself." And her tip for feeling confident? "Do what makes you feel good about yourself and try to shut out the rest."

Kaia Gerber and Meadow Walker are close pals

Meadow Walker has fellow model Kaia Gerber, who has been stomping the runway since high school, in her corner. As she shared in a 2021 interview with Vogue, Walker values the power of friendship and leaning on people with similar life experiences. "It's good to talk to people, especially with someone you feel comfortable talking to who understands and knows you," she said. Having both grown up with famous parents and immersed in the celebrity world with modeling ambitions, Kaia Gerber seems to fit the bill.

The two have been close for years, and have shared many sweet photos of each other on social media. The pair of friends are not shy with their affection. As Daily Mail noted, Walker called Gerber "Love of my life" on Instagram in 2020. That same year, Walker posted an Instagram of Gerber and wrote, "all the love in the world for you." In the post, Gerber is practicing sound healing using a sound bath. This is one of the interests they both share, as Meadow has also mentioned her love for alternative healing and good vibes. "I'm really into wellness, especially natural holistic medicine," she said in Vogue. "And I'm into crystals. I grew up with crystals in the house and I actually have my dad's entire collection."

How does Meadow Walker remember her father?

In the years since his death, Meadow Walker has talked openly about her love for her father. She makes sure to remember Paul Walker in a positive light, posting happy throwbacks of them together on social media and always looking on the bright side. On the anniversary of his passing in 2020, she posted a personal photo of her sleeping on her dad's lap when she was a child. "a silly day to remember in sadness," she wrote. "today's a celebration of the love and happiness you brought to the world."

Paul Walker often spoke about wanting to be a better father. Months before he died, he said to AP, "I'm still finding my step. I think you always are ... You want to be better at it, just something hasn't clicked yet." But despite his own perceptions of his effort, Meadow remembers him as her "best bud" and "the most beautiful soul." Her frequent social media posts of him, often with simple captions like "miss you" or "happy place," show how much he meant to her. She has even taken on some of his interests — not just a penchant for philanthropy, but also his more private nature, and his love for the natural world with things like crystals and wellness (via Vogue).

Meadow Walker consults on the Fast and Furious movies

Starring in "The Fast and the Furious" launched Paul Walker's career as a leading man. After filming five flicks in the franchise before he died, his legacy is forever tied to the series and the cast became akin to family. Fans are devoted to the franchise and were devastated when he died, and the tributary song "See You Again" became an anthem that achieved global success. With so many people feeling the loss, the "Fast and Furious" franchise has been mindful of his legacy in their approach to the subsequent films.

What's more, Meadow has even weighed in on how to present her father's legacy in the "Fast" series. In an interview with Sirius XM, Ludacris said, "I always miss him ... his daughter being on set and his brothers being on set constantly telling us, consulting and telling us how they feel ... how his legacy can be incorporated, he's present spiritually at all times."

Without giving too much away, "F9" pays homage to both Paul Walker and his "Fast" character — and his co-star and dear friend wouldn't have it any other way. As Vin Diesel told ET in 2021, "I can't envision making a 'Fast' film continuing this mythology without my brother Pablo's soul being the guiding spirit."

The Fast and Furious cast is like family to Meadow Walker

Paul Walker often spoke about his relationship with the cast he met on set of "The Fast and the Furious"' in 2001, a closeness which continued until he died. Speaking with Extra in 2021 to promote "F9," Vin Diesel opened up about the bond he forged with Paul. "The whole point of the 'Fast and Furious' saga is the idea that brotherhood can be created by bond and not necessarily blood," he said, before bringing up Meadow Walker, who is his goddaughter. "To see her with my children is one of the most beautiful things ... I feel very protective. It goes beyond the movie."

Meadow has also spoken often about how she considers members of the cast her family. She called Jordana Brewster her "best friend, big sister and mama" on Instagram, and Jordana gushed to Access that Meadow "feels so comfortable with us and she feels so included in [their] universe," confirming their connection, and even saying that they text each other about fashion.

Meadow's link to Diesel and his children seems to be the strongest. As the "Guardians of the Galaxy" actor shared with Extra, she reaches out to him on Father's Day and often sends him throwback pictures. In 2020, she shared an Instagram photo with Diesel's children — one of whom is named Pauline in honor of Paul Walker — with the caption "family, forever."

Could Meadow Walker have a cameo in F10?

Those involved with the "Fast and Furious" franchise keep their plans for each new movie under lock and key. However, some of the big players in the films have hinted that there's a chance that Meadow Walker could make an appearance in the near future as a tribute to her late father, Paul Walker. 

Jordana Brewster told Access that the cast would welcome Meadow into the series with open arms, and that "her being on screen ... just would be natural." That said, there may not be too many chances left: As the AP reported, Diesel confirmed at a press conference that there will only be two more "Fast" films following "F9."

The "Fast" franchise is not the only production with its eyes on Meadow Walker. A source divulged to OK! in June 2021 that Meadow was reportedly "being pursued by practically every studio in town and some TV networks as well." However, though it may be "natural" to have Meadow take her talents to the big screen, the source suggests she may not yet ready to foray any further into the acting world. "She's flattered, but she doesn't want to rush into anything," they said.

She might not want a full-blown acting career, but that doesn't mean a "Fast" cameo is off the table. "Let me just—without giving you all of the secrets of 'Fast 10,'" Vin Diesel teased to E! News. "Let's just say nothing's ruled out."