How Oliver Hudson Reconnected With His Estranged Father

The actor's once "contentious" relationship with Bill Hudson has settled

By Zach Johnson Mar 27, 2018 1:50 PMTags

It's never too late to start over.

On Larry King Now Monday, Oliver Hudson said he has reconnected with his estranged father, Bill Hudson. "Well, we're trying right now," Oliver said. "We've shot some texts back and forth."

Ironically, their reconciliation was spurred by Oliver's controversial Father's Day joke in 2015. "There was an incident that happened via my Instagram. I had posted something that was darkly comedic and it blew up into something, and actually it helped us with our relationship," said Oliver, who stars in ABC's Splitting Up Together. "So, now we're kind of keeping in touch."

Three years ago, Oliver, 41, posted a photo of himself with sister Kate Hudson, 38, and Bill, 68, on Father's Day, joking, "Happy Abandonment Day…@katehudson." When he first spoke to his biological father after posting the photo, Oliver described their relationship as "contentious"— quite an understatement. In response to Oliver's Instagram post, Bill issued a statement to the U.K.'s Daily Mail. "I say to them now, 'I set you free.' I had five birth children and I now consider myself a father of three," the musician said. "I no longer recognize Oliver and Kate as my own."

Famous Family Feuds

In hindsight, Oliver understands Bill's reaction. "He did an interview and talked s--t. He felt hurt by it. I called him and we got on the phone and talked. It was really productive," he said. "Then we saw each other, had breakfast, and it was the first time I had seen him in 12 years. It was really amazing to see him. We talked it out and we had a really great three-hour conversation."

Kurt Russell, who raised Oliver with Goldie Hawn, told E! News in 2015 that Oliver meant no harm with his Instagram post. "I understood Oliver's sense of humor," he explained. "Since then, there's been some nice back and forth between Bill and Oliver, and that's nice to see..."

Later that year, Oliver spoke to Andy Cohen about fixing things with Bill. "It actually started a dialogue. I haven't talked to my father in 12 years. In my sort of dark, crazy sense of humor, I posted this 'Happy Abandonment Day' thing, which, you know, everyone went crazy about. I was just trying to be funny. At the end of the day it was a good thing. We're communicating now. I had an amazing three-hour conversation with him," he said on Watch What Happens Live. "We're texting and we're trying to see each other. We might be mending something."

In his Larry King Now interview, Oliver also discussed growing up in the spotlight. "The toughest part, especially as a young kid, is people wanting a piece of your parents. We're not cognitive enough of it at that age to understand what it is, so all we—or I—saw was these fans taking my mother away, meaning taking her time and attention away from me. It bothered me. It really, really bothered me. Now it's a different story. But as a kid, I remember feeling anger and frustration that these people were infringing on our lives," the actor said. "So, that was tough."