In the entertainment industry, the branches of some family trees are much more extensive than others. Some of those branches even crossover with other famous family trees. When everyone in your family is in the business, and so is everyone you know, it’s kind of understandable though, isn’t it?
There are families that fans consider Hollywood royalty like the Sutherlands, the Brolins, and the Paltrows. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t know that Kiefer and Donald were related, that Barbara Streisand and Josh Brolin share blood, or that Blythe Danner is Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother.
We all even know that the famous parents have even more famous kids these days. Even Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s children entered the show business world, carrying on the family tradition.
There are, however, some families where people changed their name when they became actors or singers to step out of their parent’s shadows. There are also cases where celebrities married into families that had some even more famous faces, like Ryan Reynolds marrying Blake Lively, making him the brother-in-law of Teen Witch’s Robin Lively. Sometimes, these connections can be surprising.
Without further ado, here are the 17 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Related.
17 Hillary Clinton And Madonna
With a growing interest in genealogy, plenty of people have started checking to see if they’re connected to royalty. Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton can claim a very distant relationship to a different kind of royal-- Madonna, the queen of pop.
Clinton revealed that she and Madonna are 10th cousins during an interview with Ellen Degeneres, but it wasn’t the singer or the politician who figured it out. Instead, it was the Washington based genealogist William Addams Reitwiesner who did the research and published it.
In addition to the two being 10th cousins, Reitwiesner also found that they shared Angelina Jolie and Camilla Parker-Bowles as 10th cousins. All of the women are descended from the same ancestors-- 17th century French travelers who made their way into Québec and then further south in North America.
16 Ben Affleck And Matt Damon
Everyone is aware that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have the biggest bromance there is. The two have been friends nearly their entire life. Jennifer Garner even referred to Damon as her husband’s husband while married to Affleck. They also happen to be family, though the relationship is very distant.
The New England Genealogical Society is one of the most comprehensive compilations of ancestral data in the United States. It began its work with New England families and branched out from there, and it’s the work of genealogists in this society that discovered the connection.
Affleck and Damon are actually 10th cousins. Both men descend from William Knowlton Jr. Knowlton was a bricklayer from England who made his way to the United States in the 17th century.
15 Sofia Coppola, Nicolas Cage, And Jason Schwartzman
A lot of movie fans who keep up with their Hollywood gossip and trivia know that Nicholas Cage is related to the Coppola family, but so is Jason Schwartzman.
Nicolas Cage actually changed his name from Nicolas Coppola when he began acting. His father was August Coppola. August was the brother of famed director Francis Ford Coppola (who is Sofia Coppola’s father). The two are also the brothers of Talia Rose Coppola, who married Jack Schwartzman. Schwartzman and Talia Coppola are the parents of Jason Schwartzman.
With a family tree with many branches in the entertainment industry, Sofia Coppola, Nicolas Cage, and Jason Schwartzman are all cousins.
They might be the most recognizable names in their generation of Coppolas, but their siblings have also all worked in the entertainment industry as actors, writers, directors, producers, and even musicians.
14 Jason Momoa And Zoe Kravitz
Jason Momoa is known for his very physical role as Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones and for riding the waves as Aquaman in DC’s movie slate. He also is known for more than that at home, though-- he’s stepfather to Zoe Kravitz.
Zoe Kravitz is the daughter of Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz. The two went their separate ways when their daughter was very young, but Bonet and Momoa have been together for more than a decade now.
Momoa actually had a crush on Bonet as a kid-- he grew up watching her on The Cosby Show. They met at a jazz club through mutual friends, though he was engaged to someone else at the time. The two hit it off and eventually had two children, officially tying the knot in 2017. Zoe Kravitz is especially close with her family, even naming her band after siblings.
13 Cameron Diaz And Nicole Richie
Nicole Richie’s claim to fame used to be reality shows that included her and Paris Hilton working in small-town America. Since then, she’s carved her own path in the entertainment industry.
Likewise, Cameron Diaz moved far beyond her star-making turn in My Best Friend’s Wedding to pursue a variety of film roles. The two, despite occupying very different areas of Hollywood, happen to be very good friends, and now, sisters-in-law.
Nicole Richie and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte began dating in 2006 and married four years later. The duo have two children-- Harlow and Sparrow.
It’s actually Richie who can take the credit for getting Diaz as a sister-in-law. She introduced Diaz to Madden’s brother Benji. Benji Madden and Cameron Diaz married in 2015. Richie and Diaz have remained close as well. The two are regularly spotted by paparazzi out for lunch or shopping with the kids in Los Angeles.
12 Lea Thompson And Zoey Deutch
Zoey Deutch appeared in dozens of movies and television shows, but hasn’t hit that A-list status just yet. With Lea Thompson as her biggest fan-- and mother-- she might well be on her way.
Thompson is best known for her popularity in '80s films, like Back to the Future and Some Kind of Wonderful. She saw a resurgence in popularity when she starred as a mother whose daughter was Switched At Birth in the Freeform television series.
Deutch followed in her mother’s footsteps. She got her big break on the Disney Channel, but also appeared in a few projects with her mother. The Thompson connection gave her a bit of an edge in the industry.
Not only did she and her sister play Thompson’s daughters in Mayor Cupcake, but she appeared in episodes of Switched At Birth. She also stars in Thompson’s directorial effort The Year of Spectacular Men.
11 Rip Torn And Sissy Spacek
Sissy Spacek hit it big when she starred as the title character in Carrie. She might not have landed that leading role if it wasn’t for the support of her cousin Rip Torn.
It was actually Torn, who was an established actor when Spacek was a teenager, who got her interested in the industry. As soon as she graduated from high school, Spacek moved in with her cousin in New York and set about learning everything she could.
Torn didn’t give Spacek an in with casting directors or anything like that, though. Instead, he paid for Spacek to take acting classes while she lived with him and went on auditions. At the time, Torn was appearing on stage, but he also had plenty of movies and television appearances already.
10 Rob Schneider And Elle King
When Elle King burst onto the music scene with her catchy single “Ex’s and Oh’s”, many thought that she was brand new to the world of entertainment. That’s not the case, though, as she’s the daughter of model London King and actor Rob Schneider.
King and Schneider divorced when Elle King (born Tanner Elle Schneider) was a child and her mother remarried. It was her stepfather who actually nurtured her interest in music. When she decided to pursue a career in the industry, she didn’t want to be remembered as an actor’s little girl, so she legally changed her name.
King and Scheider are still very close, though King joked in an interview with ABC News in 2015 that Schneider offered her no advice about show business, but he also didn’t try and talk her out of it, wanting her to keep his last name.
9 Liev Schreiber And Pablo Schreiber
The surname might give away the fact that these two actors are related, but the half-brothers didn’t even meet until Pablo Schreiber was 16 and saw Liev Schreiber in a play!
The brothers share the same father, acting teacher Tell Schreiber, but were both raised primarily by their mothers in very different places. Liev was born ten years earlier than Pablo, raised by his mother on the Lower East Side. Pablo was born in Canada, but grew up in Seattle.
According to an interview with the NY Post several years ago, Pablo stayed away from acting for a long time simply because it was his dad’s world, while Liev was interested in it for the same reason. Pablo Schreiber eventually attended school for drama just as Liev’s career took off!
8 Al Roker And Lenny Kravitz
The morning television weather expert and the fashionable rocker happen to be cousins, though Al Roker might not have realized the exact relationship until Lenny Kravitz appeared as a guest on The Today Show and the two got to talking.
While some outlets reported that Roker was cousin to Kravitz’s mother Roxie Roker, who appeared on The Jeffersons, that isn’t entirely the case. Their grandfathers were cousins, as Roker revealed on The Today Show when Kravitz was scheduled for a performance in 2011. Kravitz’s revealed that his grandfather Roker was from the Bahamas.
Kravitz’s mother was thus Roker’s second cousin, making Lenny Kravitz his third cousin.
After the reveal, Roker jokingly explained on the morning show, “All I know is I’m going with it. Kids think it’s cool.”
7 Goldie Hawn And Oliver Hudson
There’s a lot of emphasis placed on the fact that Kate Hudson is Goldie Hawn’s daughter-- especially when she signs on to do another romantic comedy-- but some forget that Hawn is also mother to actor Oliver Hudson.
Oliver Hudson is Goldie Hawn’s first son, and he and sister Kate were born during Hawn’s marriage to musician Bill Hudson. When the two divorced, the elder Hudson was no longer a part of his children’s lives. Hawn has been with Kurt Russell for nearly 35 years, and the siblings have treated him as their father.
Considering that Kate Hudson has the higher cinematic profile, it’s no wonder that people forget the relationship to Oliver Hudson. He’s definitely got a higher profile on television though with roles in Dawson’s Creek, Rules of Engagement, and recently, Nashville.
6 Ariel Winter And Jimmy Workman
Though Ariel Winter tried to keep her family life private, at the age of 14, when she requested to be removed from her mother’s care, plenty of speculation hit the press. Winter moved in with her sister Shanelle Gray, but one item that gets glossed over is that she has another older sibling, Jimmy Workman.
Workman made his acting debut in the '90s movie The Addams Family. He was asked to read for the role of Pugsly when seen playing near the set. His sister Shanelle was actually there to audition for Wednesday, though she lost out to Christina Ricci. Winter was the baby of the family, born nearly a decade later.
Though Winter and Gray maintain that their mother was emotionally abusive and manipulative, and both were emancipated from her care, Workman has continued to support their mother, and attempted to gain temporary custody of Winter.
5 Ashlee Simpson And Tracee Ellis Ross
Most people are familiar with Ashlee Simpson’s famous big sister Jessica, but she’s got an equally famous big sister-in-law in Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross.
Ashlee married Evan Ross just a few years ago. The duo have a daughter named Jagger Snow. Evan and Tracee Ellis Ross are siblings-- both children of music legend Diana Ross. Lest anyone think the Ross and Simpson kids don’t get along, Ross put that idea to rest when she appeared on Watch What Happens Live.
One viewer asked Tracee Ellis Ross about her relationship with the Simpson sisters, and she referred to them as her sisters too. The women hang out together with their young kids on a regular basis. In fact, Ross referred to them as “cross pollinating” because the families spend so much time together.
4 Sam Waterston And Katherine Waterston
Katherine Waterston’s last name might sound familiar to TV fans. That’s because her father is Sam Waterston. He played lawyer (and then judge) Jack McCoy throughout the Law & Order franchise.
The actress showed interest in the industry from a young age, so she did what any aspiring actor in New York would do as a right of passage-- auditioned for a role on Law & Order.
Funnily enough, even though her father was a franchise mainstay, Waterston never landed a role. She recently revealed that information while appearing on Conan O'Brien's late night show. She auditioned for day player roles a few times, but never got a gig. Her siblings did, however.
Luckily for Waterston, she didn’t need a Law & Order appearance to jump start her career. She’s now one of the main cast members of the Fantastic Beasts series.
3 Jonah Hill And Beanie Feldstein
Audiences know Jonah Hill for his comedic timing, but now, they might start to know him as the big brother to Beanie Feldstein.
Hill is nine years older than Feldstein and changed his last name when he entered the entertainment industry. His sister decided to keep her name in tact. She was bit by the acting bug when she was just nine years old and undergoing speech therapy and singing lessons due to vocal nodules. She decided if she was going to work so hard on getting her voice back, she was going to use it.
These days, Feldstein has been on Broadway in Hello, Dolly and is turning heads in Lady Bird on the big screen. Though she’s primarily been known for work in theater while Hill has been on film, that might be changing.
2 Halle Berry And Sarah Palin
Halle Berry is one of the most famous actresses on the planet and Sarah Palin is one of the most infamous politicians in the United States. The two don’t travel in the same circles, but surprisingly, they are distantly related.
Even Halle Berry isn’t entirely sure how the two are related, though. Berry appeared on the television program Extra in 2012 to promote the release of her movie Cloud Atlas. In talking about the connections between people, Berry revealed that she knew she was related to Sarah Palin.
Berry elaborated by explaining, “In some twisted way… somebody sent me the information that she was my distant…” before trailing off and leaving the familial connection a mystery.
It sounds like the information might have been uncovered in a genealogical survey, like Elle and Dakota Fanning being distantly related to royalty, or the Afflecks and Damons being 10th cousins.
1 Reba McEntire And Kelly Clarkson
Even before they were family, Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson were huge fans of one another. The musicians participated in the CMT program Crossroads singing duets of their most famous songs, and even recorded new versions of their music together. Now, they’re in-laws.
Kelly Clarkson married Brandon Blackstock, McEntire’s stepson from her marriage to Narvel Blackstock. Narvel Blackstock acted as manager for both McEntire and Clarkson for several years as well.
After 26 years of marriage, Blackstock and McEntire divorced in 2016 and shortly after, McEntire began managing her career commitments herself with the help of her own team. While McEntire had intended to maintain a professional relationship with her ex-husband, for reasons she didn’t reveal, she said it was “impossible.”
However, McEntire and Clarkson remain close.
Did we hit you with a surprising celebrity relationship? Or did you already know about all of these famous family members? Let us know in the comments!
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