Celebrity Kids Who Grew Up to Be Stunningly Successful Apart From Their Famous Parents

From Dakota Johnson and Kate Hudson to Lily-Rose Depp and the Hadid sisters, a look at the kids with famous parents who made a name for themselves

By Natalie Finn May 27, 2020 2:00 PMTags
Watch: Celebrity Kids Who Are Successful Like Their Parents

Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis' little girl is celebrating her 21st birthday.

If Lily-Rose Depp already seemed fairly all grown up, being a Chanel muse will do that to a kid, but how time flies—especially when it used to be her parents who were the fresh new faces a few decades back.

When kids are born to a couple of well-off, connected, creative and, above-all, supportive folks, they're seemingly free to do whatever it is their heart desires for a living—and Lily-Rose couldn't help but be drawn to the arts. Blessed with a winning combination of her mother and father's genes, modeling was a given, and she's dabbled in singing (like mom) and has been busy building up her acting resume. She most recently earned solid reviews for her supporting role in The King, alongside now ex-boyfriend Timothée Chalamet, and she has at least three more films in various stages of post-production.

And throughout, though the association is unavoidable and the ability to detach is nonexistent, Depp has worked hard to get to where she is now, with a handful of movies in the pipeline and her own paparazzi escort when she steps out for coffee.

Celeb Kids Who Model

"My parents weren't very strict," she told The Sun last year. "They've always trusted me to be independent and make my own decisions. There wasn't really ­anything to rebel against."


In turn, she didn't see foregoing college to pursue her acting dreams as a scandalous turn of events for her family.

"They both left school when they were 15, so they can't really say ­anything," Depp shared. "I never thought of university as my goal. I've always just wanted to work [so] I didn't have any incentive to keep doing all that [school] work." And hats off to her parents. 

Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

"I just think it's really important to have a good ­support system around you and be grounded by those people," she said.

In her line(s) of work, there are more than a few other men and women who can relate. Show business is brimming with "the son of" and "daughter of so-and-so"—though there are only so many who truly break out of that celebrity-kid pack and go on to make their own careers.

Quite often, they did get a career boost from mom or dad, or both, to help get them going—or they can at least pinpoint early exposure to that film set or onstage life as the seed that was planted early on, sparking their own dreams of success in movies, music, modeling or any other creative outlet.

Sometimes the names have changed, and sometimes they're already familiar upon arrival, but here are some of the "celebrity kids" who have found success all their own:

Kate Hudson

Now a mother of her own three kids, Goldie Hawn's daughter with ex Bill Hudson impressively built her own perch in Hollywood with a star-making, Oscar-nominated performance in Almost Famous before becoming a veritable queen of rom-coms. In recent years she's been leaving more space in between movies to focus on her family and grow her booming active wear brand, Fabletics, which she co-founded in 2013.

Maya Hawke

Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman's daughter decided acting was for her too and made her TV debut as Jo March in a 2017 Little Women miniseries that premiered on BBC. Swiftly it was on to a role in Stranger Things (she'll be back for season four) and a small part as one of the Manson girls in Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood.

However, that part did not come about because her mother has been in three Quentin Tarantino films and Maya's known him since she was 2 years old.

"I got an audition for the project through the normal channels, through my agents, and I did an audition in my bedroom with my dad," Maya shared with The Hollywood Reporter. "We sent in the tape to Quentin and I got a callback. He actually organized a really amazing callback process that was unlike anything I've ever been through... except for maybe auditioning for drama school. It was all day."

Zoë Kravitz

Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz's daughter has been modeling and acting for years but the actress in films such as X-Men: First ClassDivergent and Mad Max: Fury Road and has seen a significant boost in name-brand recognition since co-starring in the phenomenon that was Big Little Lies. That in turn led to being cast as Catwoman in The Batman, opposite Robert Pattinson, and starring in her own series, an updated take on High Fidelity, starring Kravitz as the perennially brokenhearted record store owner played in the film version by John Cusack.

And though she's the spitting image of Mom, she's Dad's girl too: Zoë also fronts the band Lolawolf.

Rashida Jones

The younger of Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton's two daughters together made her acting debut in the 1997 mafia miniseries The Last Don and a few years later joined the cast of Boston Public. While racking up indie movie creds (including Celeste & Jesse Forever, which she also co-wrote), a memorable turn on Office Space led to being one of the stars of Parks and Recreation, after which she had her own TBS series, the cop spoof Angie Tribeca and popped up as a guest star on numerous shows. She's currently co-starring on Netflix's #BlackAF.

Sofia Coppola

Having the director of the most iconic movie saga of all time for a dad might prove intimidating to a kid who wants to make her own movies, but Francis Ford Coppola's daughter hardly let that stop her. Now a revered filmmaker in her own right, Coppola won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Lost in Translation (and was nominated for directing) and became only the second woman in Cannes Film Festival history to win the Best Director prize, in 2017 for The Beguiled.

Kaia Gerber

Cindy Crawford's mini-me daughter with husband Rande Gerber isn't so mini anymore. Born Sept. 3, 2001, and old enough to vote and date Pete Davidson, she's now a full-fledged working model, having walked runways for Marc Jacobs, Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Versace since making her debut for Calvin Klein Collection at 15 in 2017.

Named Model of the Year at the 2018 Fashion Awards, Kaia also made her music video debut in 2019, in John Eatherly's "Burnout" video. Surely a Pepsi campaign is just around the corner...

Margaret Qualley

Andy MacDowell's daughter with ex Paul Qualley grew up far from the Hollywood craziness in North Carolina, where she studied ballet, then tried modeling for awhile until she finally pivoted to acting, heading off to London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

"I didn't want to act because my mom does that and...I think people often don't want to do what their parents did," Qualley told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019.

Margaret broke out playing Jill, the daughter of Justin Theroux's character, on The Leftovers and then scored dual plum roles in Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, playing Manson girl Pussycat, and in the FX series Fosse/Verdon, playing Broadway star Ann Reinking, a performance that earned her an Emmy nomination. Somehow, she also found time to date Pete Davidson for awhile.

Next up, Qualley is attached to co-star with Robert Pattinson in Claire Denis' next movie, The Stars at Noon.

Nicole Richie

It was looking a little dicey for The Simple Life star, who was adopted by Lionel Richie and his then-wife Brenda when she was 9, back in the mid-'00s. But Richie got it together, married Joel Madden, had two kids, and started her own fashion brand (and eventual full-on lifestyle company), House of Harlow 1960. She mainly stayed in the reality-TV and competition show realm, but don't miss her in the underrated Great News, which only lasted a season but is streaming on Netflix, or as her new web persona, Nikki Fre$h.

Miley Cyrus

Billy Ray Cyrus' daughter went from Disney Channel stardom on Hannah Montana to being the star of a much more interesting saga. That being her own life, which has included music, movies, TV, activism, and just being really interesting.

Colin Hanks

It's not a risky assumption to think that Tom Hanks' look-alike son would be a real sweetheart, but in case you were wondering... he is. The star of movies (Orange CountyThe House BunnyThe Great Buck Howard) has shared his talents with TV in the likes of DexterFargo and Life in Pieces—and with Instagram, when he made a lot of people smile mid-pandemic with his demonstration of how to make a mask out of a scarf and two hair ties.

Hailey Bieber

Née Baldwin, the daughter of Stephen Baldwin and niece of Daniel, Billy and Alec Baldwin pretty much ducked acting for the modeling world, walking runways and starring in campaigns for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Guess and Tommy Hilfiger. She also married Justin Bieber in 2018, so she's going to be famous forever, no matter what.

Ansel Elgort

The son of photographer Arthur Elgort and stage producer Grethe Barrett Holby practically had "New York art scene" tattooed on him at birth. He did theater in school and at Stagedoor Manor summer camp, and simultaneously worked on his career as DJ-producer Ansolo while pursuing acting roles. Elgort made his movie debut in the 2013 remake of Carrie, played Shailene Woodley's brother in the Divergent series and her doomed love in The Fault in Our Stars, and after starring in the likes of Baby Driver and The Goldfinch will be seen as Tony in Steven Spielberg's upcoming adaptation of West Side Story and playing a journalist in the HBO Max series Tokyo Vice.

Angelina Jolie

She's come a long way from making her big screen debut at 6 in Lookin' to Get Out, starring her dad Jon Voight. The Oscar-winning star of Girl, InterruptedTomb RaiderMr. & Mrs. SmithWantedThe Changeling, and Maleficent also writes and directs and has become one of the most talked-about movie stars and moms (of six kids she's co-parenting with ex-husband No. 3, Brad Pitt) of a generation.

Dakota Johnson

After small roles in The Social Network and The Five-Year EngagementMelanie Griffith and Don Johnson's daughter—a Miss Golden Globe in 2006—became a household name by landing the much-coveted role of Anastasia Steele in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy—movies you don't even want your parents to see, much less watch with them (or with your grandma, which in Johnson's case is screen legend Tippi Hedren).

But she has adventurously branched out into posher romantic thrillers such as A Bigger Splash, disturbing horror in Suspiria (both directed by Luca Guadagnino), true crime in Black Mass and small heartfelt dramas such as The Peanut Butter Falcon, and Guadagnino has said that if he ever makes a sequel to Call Me by Your Name, he wants Dakota in it.

Lily-Rose Depp

Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis' eldest child (and Marilyn Manson's goddaughter) was born in France, split her time between Europe and L.A. growing up, and continues to lead that jet-setting lifestyle as a model (she's been a Chanel brand ambassador since 2015) and actress who is a two-time César Award nominee.

In 2019 she was named Best Actress at the Los Angeles Film Awards for her performance in My Last Lullabye and her upcoming films include Dreamland, about the opioid crisis in America; Silent Night, a Christmas comedy; and Moose Jaws, the third of a trilogy of comedic horror movies that she has appeared in directed by Kevin Smith.

It also seems as if all of the above were at the Vanity Fair Oscar party this year. Which pretty much signifies that they made it.