We have heard about the strained relationship between Michael Jackson and his father which impacted Michael’s life until the end. The direct relatives of many famous people have played an important role in their lives, touching them in different ways and making them what they are today. We don’t know much about their families because some like to remain out of the limelight. Did you know J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan never grows up in the books because his brother died before his 14th birthday, remaining a young boy in his mother’s eyes forever?
1. John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy had a sister named Rosemary. She would often indulge in rebellious behavior like sneaking out in the night and had frequent angry outbursts. Her father was worried she would embarrass the family, so he attempted to lobotomized her at 23 which failed and left her permanently incapacitated.
Being born “different” in a prominent family is what happened to Rose Marie “Rosemary” Kennedy. Since childhood, she was slower than her other siblings and had behavioral problems. Not wanting to embarrass themselves, her parents kept her concealed from the public eye, but as she grew up, she could no longer be tied down. She began to rebel and had violent mood swings. She would sneak out in the night from the convent school where she was being educated in Washington, D.C., and this frustrated her parents because they wanted all their kids to behave appropriately. Some observers believed that Rosemary behaved this way because of the constant pressure on her to match to the high standards her siblings had set.
Joseph Kennedy, worried that his daughter would harm his political career, asked doctors to perform a lobotomy on his daughter in November 1941 when Rosemary was 23 years old. His wife did not know about this. The lobotomy failed. Rosemary then behaved like a two-year-old child, could no longer walk, couldn’t speak properly and had lost her bladder control. After this, she was kept in an institution. Later, her father built a house for her where two Catholic nuns cared for her along with two other people who were there occasionally. Her mother, Rose, did not visit her for 20 years. The family kept telling the people she was “mentally retarded” and hid the fact about her lobotomy. On January 7, 2005, Rosemary died of natural causes with her surviving siblings at her side. (source)
2. Jim Hanks is Tom Hanks’ younger brother who often does substitute voice-over work for Tom as both of them sound very similar. Tom has an elder brother who is an entomologist.
James Mathew Hanks, aka Jim Hanks, is an American actor, camera operator, director, producer, and cinematographer, and a voice-over artist who has often substituted for Tom Hanks, his elder brother, as they sound similar. He first starred in Buford’s Beach Bunnies when Tom Hanks, who was first considered for the role, was unavailable. Interestingly, he won the role on his own merit and because of the fact that he looked like Tom Hanks. It was only when the paperwork was being done that his relationship was revealed. He has also acted as a body double for Tom in several scenes of Forrest Gump.
Tom Hanks also has an elder brother named Larry Hanks. He is an entomologist and a professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also holds a Ph.D. and has published a study on how the trees in the woodlands are free of pests because they contain natural pest-eating organisms..
3. Maria Anna Mozart was Mozart’s elder sister and was an excellent musician, considered to be one of the finest in Europe. Once she achieved “marriageable age,” her parents no longer permitted her to showcase her talents.
Nannerl, whose real name was Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart, was a genius musician, much like her younger brother. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. When she was seven, she learned how to play the harpsichord from her father, Leopold. She went on several concert tours to Paris and Vienna with her brother and her father and was applauded everywhere. Her talents were not less than that of her brother’s, and she was noted not only as an excellent harpsichord player but also as a good fortepianist. Sometimes, she received top billing (her name was displayed at the top of the credits displayed during the concerts).
Only if Nannerl’s parents had not stopped her from going to concerts when she turned 18, she would have etched her name even more gloriously in history. Because of the views of society in the 18th century, Nannerl was made to stay at home after she had reached a marriageable age. In his letters, Wolfgang has appreciated the musical compositions she wrote several times. Nannerl was an obedient child who did not go against the wishes of her father, and despite the fact that she fell in love with a captain and private tutor named Franz Lippold, at the age of 32 she married a widower who was a magistrate because her father asked her to in 1783. For 14 years, she was at home. (source)
4. Enrique Iglesias’ father, Julio Iglesias, is a professional footballer and a Spanish singer. He has sold more than 250 million records globally. In Spain, he has sold the most records in history making a total of 23 million records sold so far.
As a young adult, Enrique’s father, Julio Iglesias, was a goalkeeper for Real Madrid Castilla in the Segunda Division. But his professional football career ended after he could not walk for two years due to an automobile accident. He studied law when he could still play football, but his calling was music. It was because of the accident that he discovered music as his nurse gave him a guitar so he could recover the dexterity of his hands. In 1968, he participated in a songwriter’s event called Benidorm International Song Festival in Spain, and won it for the song “La vida sigue igual.” His career took off as a musician after he signed a contract with the Spanish branch of the Columbia Records company.
Julio has sung in languages like French, German, Portuguese, English, Spanish, etc. He was celebrated in 1983 as he had recorded songs in most languages in the world. In 2013, he was recognized for being the Latin artist with most records ever sold. He has done over 5,000 concerts, is one of the top ten record music sellers in history and has sold over 250 million records globally. Julio’s ex-wife and Iglesias’ mother was a Filipina television host and journalist, Isabel Preysler. (source)
5. Brad Pitt has a younger brother named Douglas Pitt who is the first American to have scaled Mount Kilimanjaro and descended it riding a mountain bike.
A Goodwill Ambassador for the United Republic of Tanzania, Douglas Pitt, Brad Pitt’s younger brother is also the founder of Care To Learn, a USA-based, non-profit organization that takes care of the hunger, hygiene, and health needs of kids. He is also a businessman who founded ServiceWorld Computer Center in 1991 which then merged with TSI Global in 2013. He is also the owner of Pitt Development Group, a firm that specializes in the development of medical office space.
Fond of road and mountain biking, in January 2013, he became the first American to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and descend it on a mountain bike. Otherwise illegal in Tanzania, he got special permission from the government to bike on Kilimanjaro. He helped raise 250,000 dollars for clean water projects in the country through this trip. Once again, in March 2013, he took the trip, and this time it raised another 250,000 dollars. These mountain biking rides were sponsored by Hershey Company, Trek Bikes, and Eddie Bauer’s First Ascent. (source)
6. Kim Jong-nam, the elder brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was supposed to be the heir but fell out with his father, allegedly, after his failed attempt to visit Disneyland.
For seven years, the eldest son of Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-nam, was considered to be his heir instead of his younger brother and current leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. It was believed that Kim Jong-nam fell out with his father after he attempted to visit Tokyo Disneyland on a fake passport. This could have been told to the Japanese security forces by him as a joke because of Disneyland’s slogan, “I’m going to Disney World!” In 2001, Kim was arrested at Japan’s Narita International Airport. He was traveling under the Chinese alias of “Pang Xiong” with a fake Dominic Republic passport. When he was arrested, he said that he had come there to visit the Disneyland in Tokyo. He was traveling with two women and his four-year-old son.
After this incident, his father Kim Jong-il was embarrassed and canceled his planned visit to China. Kim said that he fell out with his father because he advocated reform. He was exiled from North Korea in 2003 and he died under mysterious circumstances in 2017. (source)
7. Alexander Graham Bell’s mother, Eliza Grace Symonds, was almost deaf but became an accomplished pianist. His mother’s deafness made him obsess over research in acoustics, ultimately leading to the invention of the telephone.
Alexander Gram Bell’s wife and mother both were deaf, and this deeply impacted Bell’s entire life. Most of his family was associated with his research in the field of speech and hearing. His mother’s deafness made him delve into the field of acoustics. Sensitive to those who were hearing impaired, he had also spent six months at the Boston School for Deaf Mutes to provide training in the Visible Speech System (a system of visible speech symbols invented by Bell) to the instructors there. When he got back home to Brantford, he began working on a “harmonic telegraph” that had a transmitter and a receiver, and messages could be communicated through a single wire.
He soon began experimenting with hearing devices which eventually led him to the invention of the telephone. He was awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876. However, Bell thought the telephone was an intrusion in his life and disturbed him as a scientist which is why there was no telephone in his study. (1,2)
8. Penelope Cruz has a younger sister named Monica Cruz who is a Spanish actress and dancer and has appeared in several movies. She also played her body double for the movie Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides.
To study ballet and flamenco, Monica Cruz, the younger sister of Penelope Cruz, went to The Royal Academy of Dance and then for seven years worked at the Joaquin Cortes flamenco dance company. In 2002, she left the company to pursue acting and bagged roles in several Spanish TV shows like Un Paso Adelante, Silvia Marty in 2005. After that, she appeared in some French, Italian, German, and British movies like Iron Cross, Asterix at the Olympic Games, The Enquiry, etc.
In 2010, when Penelope was filming the Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides, she was pregnant. The first half of the shooting schedule went fine, but during the second half, Penelope was heavily pregnant and something had to be done about it as her character in the movie was not. Enter, Monica. She acted as a body double for her sister and appeared in all the long shots, while Penelope appeared in the close-up ones. (source)
9. Jackie Chan’s father was a spy. His mother was involved in shady activities in the Shanghai underworld.
Traces of the Dragon: Jackie Chan and His Lost Family is a documentary by Mabel Cheung and Alex Law that revealed some secrets about Jackie Chan’s family that he did not know himself. When he learned about those, he was shocked. In 1949, after the Communists came to power, Jackie Chan’s parents fled China and went to Hong Kong. Their children from previous marriages were left behind. This was common in China then and a must for survival. His father’s first wife had died, and he had two sons from that relationship. His mother’s first husband had died too, and she had two daughters.
No one knew that Chan’s father, Fang Daolong (nicknamed Chan Chi-Long, also known as Charles Chan), was a Nationalist spy who met his mother Lee-Lee Chan when he arrested her for being a part of certain illegal activities in Shanghai’s underworld. His mother had resorted to the underworld to be able to support her daughters. After fleeing to Hong Kong and in 1954, Jackie Chan was born. He was christened Chan Hong-San. Both his parents then worked at the French Embassy in Hong Kong. Lee-Lee worked as a dancer, and Charles worked as a cook. Charles also taught kung fu. (1,2)
10. Writer Ernest’s Hemingway’s brother Leicester wrote a biography and earned enough from it to create the micronation of New Atlantis off the Jamaican coast. Hemingway’s mother often dressed him in lacy, flowery dresses of his sister to fulfill her desire to be a mother to twin girls.
In 1961, when famous writer Ernest Hemingway’s brother Leicester published a biography titled, My Brother, Hemingway, it brought Leicester recognition as a writer. From the money that he earned through this book, he built the micronation of New Atlantis on a 2.5 meters by 9 meters barge (a flat-bottomed boat built for carrying freight) off the Jamaican coast in July 1964. He had towed the boat for around 12 nautical miles and through the Guano Islands Act of 1856, he claimed half of the barge as a new nation and half as a part of the United States. He also created a constitution for the nation which was a copy of the U.S. Constitution. New Atlantis was a marine research headquarters that was to generate money for oceanographic research by selling coins and stamps. It was destroyed in a storm in 1966 and then ransacked by local fishermen.
Hemingway’s mother, Grace, who always wanted to have twin girls, started dressing him up in his elder sister’s, Marcelline’s, clothes. She would refer to her kids as “sweet Dutch dollies” and tell strangers that Ernest was a girl child like Marcelline. To fulfill her fantasies, Grace held back Marcelline a year in school so she and Ernest would be in the same grade and sometimes called Ernest as “Ernestine.” Ernest was always embarrassed about his childhood and once threatened that he would cut his mother off financially if she gave an interview about his childhood to anyone. (1,2)