30 Celebs You Probably Didn’t Know Were Related

Yes, there may be 7.5 billion people on this planet, but the celebrity world is pretty small; probably smaller than you think. So much so that many of our favorite celebrities are actually related, but people don’t seem to know about it. So today, we’ll be looking at our top picks for celebrities you probably didn’t know were related – and some are really shocking!

#30. Jason Schwartzman & Sofia Coppola

Actor, musician and screenwriter Jason Schwartzman is not the only talented member of his family: his cousin is actually screenwriter, director, and producer Sofia Coppola. The Coppola family tree is truly amazing because it practically consists of just artists. Sofia’s father is the one and only Francis Ford Coppola, after all.

Photo: Courtesy of Ritely

Jason’s mother is Talia Shire, Francis Coppola’s sister, and she herself is an actress as well. She was in fact nominated for two Academy Awards, and is best known for her role as Connie Corleone in her brother’s The Godfather movies, where Sofia also starred. This family proves that talent is something you’re just born with! An there’s another very famous member of the family coming up later on our list…

#29. Denis Leary & Conan O’Brien

The funny bone also seems to be genetically-inherited, as Denis Leary and Conan O’Brien are cousins, and both made it big in the comedy world. Leary branched out from comedy and took on many roles on both the small and the big screen, while O’Brien has been in the late-night circuit for years. The two are third cousins, however. so they’re distant relatives, but the two are in fact friends.

Photo: Courtesy of Ritely

Leary even appeared on his cousin’s late-night show, and also joked about their resemblance on his own show, Rescue Me. In a scene where his character, Tommy, is talking to his friends, he asks them who he looks like, and they mention that he looks like “Willem Dafoe and Conan O’Brien“, a joke that is even funnier once you know they’re related.

#28. Guy Ritchie & Kate Middleton

Now this one is a real shocker. There are many old, wealthy families from England, and surprisingly, many celebrities are related because of this. Such is the case of director Guy Ritchie and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. As it turns out, several celebrities we all know and love come from the same ancestors that can be traced back hundreds of years.

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But how are Madonna‘s former beau and Prince William‘s wife related? The two of them are actually sixth cousins, so no, they aren’t close. In fact, they’ve never even met! It was the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston who actually found out about this odd connection when studying Middleton’s family tree for a book about her ancestry. And more celebs were found on that tree too!

#27. Kelly Clarkson & Reba McEntire

Turns out that country music legend Reba McEntire and American Idol‘s first winner Kelly Clarkson have more in common than their beautiful voices: they’re related, but their connection is not genetic. Clarkson is married to talent manager Brandon Blackstock, whose step-mother is McEntire. It sounds confusing, so let that sink in. The two beautiful singers are then step-in-laws.

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Reba married manager and guitarist Narvel Blackstock in 1989, and thus became the step-mother of his three children: Shawna, Chassidy, and Brandon. And, although Reba split from her husband, she is still very much close with the kids, especially with Brandon, who is basically like a son to her. In fact, they all spent last Christmas together. Both Brandon and Clarkson love Reba like a mother.

#26. Melissa McCarthy & Jenny McCarthy

Although they have the same last name, not many people know that these two are related. Melissa McCarthy made her way into Hollywood as an actress with her big break on Gilmore Girls when she was very young. She later went on to star in Mike and Molly, and her role got her the Emmy for best comedy actress, plus five other nominations.

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Growing up, she was extremely close with her cousin, Jenny McCarthy, who began her career as a Playboy model and later pursued a career in acting, like her cousin. One of her most memorable acting roles was in Two and a Half Men. They were best friends when they were little, and although they’re both very busy with their careers, they still find time to hang out like in the old times.

#25. Al Roker & Lenny Kravitz

Al Roker has been on TV since the 1970s. He began his career as a weather forecaster and journalist, and later grew a taste for acting and became an author. But did you know that there’s an actual Roker in his family tree? Rock and Roll superstar Lenny Kravitz is Roker’s distant cousin, and the two of them found out about it in 2011. When studying his family tree, Roker discovered a connection with the famous singer that dates back two generations.

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Their grandfathers were cousins, and Lenny’s mother, Roxie Roker, was the daughter of Albert Roker (yup, same name!), and the first cousin of the Today Show‘s weatherman. When asked about the connection, Roker said: “All I know is I’m going with it. Kids think it’s cool.” The two only met a few times in person, but always laugh about their strange connection when they get the chance.

#24. Dionne Warwick & Whitney Houston

At this point, it is safe to say that the entire world knows who Whitney Houston was: one of the best singers in the world and the most awarded female artist of all time. But what most people don’t know is that the incredibly talented performer was the cousin of the iconic singer and actress Dionne Warwick. The two made amazing duets together, and performed side by side several times.

Photo: Courtesy of Youtube

Whitney’s mother and Dionne’s aunt, Cissy Houston, is also known as a soul and gospel singer, so it clearly runs in the family. Not only were the two related, but they were extremely close friends. So much so, that Warwick said she was the last person to speak to Whitney before she passed away.

#23. The Manning Brothers & Taryn Manning

Cooper, Peyton, and Eli Manning are all well-known. Peyton is a former quarterback who primarily played with the Indianapolis Colts, and is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. His younger brother, Eli, followed his footsteps and is also a quarterback. The oldest of the bunch, Cooper, has his own show on Fox Sports: The Manning Hour. But there’s one more famous Manning out there.

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Taryn Manning has appeared on numerous films and shows, but is mostly known from her role in Orange Is the New Black, where she plays Tiffany Dogget. The odds of making it in these industries are almost one in a million, but somehow, four Mannings made it big. Not only are they talented, but they’re also very lucky. Taryn probably gets amazing Super Bowl tickets from her cousins!

#22. Shaquille O’Neal & Bill Bellamy

Legendary basketball player Shaquille O’Neal is considered one of the greatest players in NBA history, and also happens to be comedian Bill Bellamy‘s cousin. A giveaway of the surprising connection between the two is their height; Bellamy is 6’4″, while O’Neal stands at a huge 7’1″. They also enjoy the same music and go out a lot together.

Photo: Courtesy of Ritely

Another thing they have in common is their sense of humor.  Although there’s a seven-year gap between them, they’re as close as brothers. They even appeared in a Reebok commercial together in 1998. They’re often seen playing music at clubs, since Bellamy also works as a DJ. When asked about their relationship, Bellamy said:

With him, when we’re together, it’s just like boom, boom, boom. Everything’s funny.

#21. Emily Blunt & Stanley Tucci

Stanley Tucci is a renowned actor that you might remember from Monk, The Hunger Games, and many more films and shows. But one role that became part of today’s pop culture was his part in The Devil Wears Prada. It just so happens that one of his co-stars in the hit film was none other than Emily Blunt. It was during the filming of the movie that the two met and became friends.

Photo: Courtesy of Ritely

Several years later, after Tucci lost his wife – whom he had been married to for 14 years -, Blunt introduced him to her sister, Felicity, at her wedding in 2011, and the two fell in love. The happy couple got married a year later, and had two children together afterwards. To say that Emily was happy to welcome Stanley into her family would be an understatement; the two are closer than ever since then.

#20. Jessica Capshaw & Steven Spielberg

Actress Jessica Capshaw is best known for her role as Dr. Arizona Robbins on the hit show Grey’s Anatomy, but she has been in the business basically since she was born. Her mother is actress and producer Kate Capshaw, so acting is clearly in her blood. But there is one member of her family that takes the cake: acclaimed director Steven Spielberg. But, how are they related exactly?

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Jessica’s parents split when she was young, and her mother married Spielberg when Jessica was fifteen years old. The couple met during the filming of Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, where Kate played Willie Scott. They instantly hit it off, and have been inseparable since then. They’ve been married since 1991, making Spielberg Jessica’s stepfather of eighteen years.

#19. Rashida Jones & Quincy Jones

Legendary musician Quincy Jones has an impressive career that spans six decades. As a producer and composer, he garnered a total of 80 Grammy nominations, and won 28 of them. But what many don’t know is that he’s the father of actress Rashida Jones. If you look at them side by side, however, you can clearly see the resemblance, can’t you?

Photo: Courtesy of Ritely

Rashida didn’t pursue a career in the music business like her famous father did. Instead, she became known for her role as Ann Perkins in the critically-acclaimed comedy Parks and Recreation, and also appeared in The Office. She also worked on the big screen in movies like The Social Network and The Muppets. She did work with her father, however, when she produced and directed a Netflix documentary about Quincy’s life.

#18. Emma Roberts & Julia Roberts

Actress Emma Roberts slowly made her way into Hollywood at a young age. She was a Nickelodeon child star in the early 2000s, and then moved on to more mature roles in film and television, eventually landing a part as a series regular in American Horror Story. But it all started way before when she was very little. She used to spend time on the sets of her aunt Julia Roberts‘ films, which sparked a desire in her to follow in her footsteps.

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Emma has said that when she saw her aunt on the set of Erin Brockovich, she knew she wanted to do the same when she grew up. Julia has always been very supportive of her niece, and the two are seen together very often. But they aren’t the only famous Roberts out there. Emma’s father and Julia’s brother, Eric Roberts, is also a very successful actor.

#17. Kate Hudson & Goldie Hawn

Goldie Hawn has been in the show business since the 1960s. She rose to fame when she won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Cactus Flower in 1969. In 1975, she married musician Bill Hudson, and they had two children together: actors Kate and Oliver Hudson. Both children grew up admiring their mother and wanted to grow up to be just like her.

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Their dreams came true, because both of them became big names in Hollywood. Kate made it big in the early 2000s, with hits like How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and Almost Famous. She was inspired by her mom to pursue a career in acting, and also by her step-father, actor Kurt Russel. Goldie, Kurt, and their children are extremely close, and they all spend holidays together and go on family trips all over the world.

#16. Jayne Mansfield & Mariska Hargitay

Jayne Mansfield was a huge name in the 1950s. She was a pin-up model and an actress, and was one of the first women to appear on the cover of Playboy. Her blossoming career came to an end, however, when she passed away in a car crash in 1967. Luckily, her three children survived the crash, and one of them grew up to make it big in Hollywood as well: Mariska Hargitay.

Photo: Courtesy of Nicki Swift

Mariska decided to pursue a career in the show business just like her mother. She was very young when she lost her, and it wasn’t until she had children of her own that she felt truly connected to her. In an interview, she said:

Now I understand the love she had in her, and it makes me feel closer to her.

She had her big break on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit playing detective Olivia Benson, which got her multiple awards and nominations, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

#15. Virginia Madsen & Michael Madsen

Yes, the last name should be an obvious giveaway, but for whatever reason, not many people know that The Hateful Eight actor Michael Madsen and American Goth star Virginia Madsen are brother and sister. But it’s not just the last name; they also look so alike! The two were very close growing up, and they were both very passionate about becoming actors some day. They always encouraged each other, and of course, ended up succeeding.

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Virginia spoke about their shared passion in an interview, where she said:

There was nothing they could do to stop us — my brother and I were both very, very serious about it.

Michael starred in major projects like in Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill, and Virginia made a name for herself in Dune and Designated Survivor. They both have gained massive success in the industry since then, but they have yet to appear in a movie together.

#14. William Mapother & Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise is, without a doubt, one of the most famous people on this planet. So how come people don’t really know that he is actor William Mapother‘s cousin? The Mission Impossible star’s real name is Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, but that’s just too long for a celebrity name, so he cut it short. Although they rarely ever talk about their family bond, you can tell they’re related because they look so much alike.

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The two actually worked together a couple of times. For example, William appeared in Mission Impossible 2. He was never very keen on talking about him, because he wanted people to know him for his own talent, and not because of his superstar cousin. When asked about it recently, he said:

As I’ve amassed a body of work, the questions about Tom have gone away. I figured that if I did good work, I’d be seen for what I am.”

#13. Eve Hewson & Bono

Bono is one of the very few people in the celebrity world that can go by just one name and everyone will know who they are. The Irish rockstar rose to fame int he 1980’s with U2, and has also dedicated much of his time to philanthropy. His real name, however, is Paul David Hewson. Bono met his wife, Ali Hewson, when they were in school together, and the couple married in 1982 and had four children afterward.

Photo: Courtesy of Nicki Swift

One of his four children is actress Eve Hewson. Rather than taking after her famous father, she pursued a career in the film industry instead of becoming a musician.  Her first major role was in the movie This Must Be the Place, and she also worked on the TV series The Knick. Her biggest fans are of course her parents, who watch every single one of her performances.

#12. Liev Schreiber & Pablo Schreiber

Liev Schreiber reached fame in the late 1990s and 2000s due to his roles in the Scream movies, Ransom, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But what many people don’t know is that his brother – well, half-brother, actually – is Pablo Schreiber, who is mostly known as Pornstasche from Orange Is the New Black. The two actors are the sons of Tell Schreiber, a stage actor and director. He had his oldest son, Liev, with his first wife, whom he later divorced.

Photo: Courtesy of Nicki Swift

Tell later moved to British Columbia and had Pablo with his second wife, while Liev stayed in New York with his mother. The brothers grew up separately, but always had a good relationship. Liev caught the acting bug early and inspired his little brother to become an actor too. Once his big brother made it into Hollywood, Pablo followed suit, and always looked up to him. The two became close as grown-ups, and still maintain a really good relationship.

#11. Phil Collins & Lily Collins

Phil Collins became a staple of rock music for his work as a singer and drummer for the legendary band Genesis, and later produced smash solo hits such as In the Air Tonight. One of his proudest achievements, however, is being the father of actress Lily Collins. Phil married Jill Tavelman in 1980 and welcomed Lily with his wife in 1989. The marriage didn’t last, however, and Lily lived with her mother most of the time.

Photo: Courtesy of Nicki Swift

Because of the divorce, the distance between the father and daughter grew wider every day. When she grew up, she decided to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and luckily reconnected with her father in 2016. She made a name for herself and became known for her talents rather than for being Phil Collins’s daughter, which is why many people actually don’t know they’re related.

#10. Sissy Spacek & Rip Torn

These two don’t seem to have much in common, but if you put Sissy Spacek and Rip Torn side by side, you can see how much they look alike, and that’s because they’re actually cousins. Torn began his career after high school when he left his native Texas to pursue acting in Hollywood. He made his debut in 1956, and slowly made his way up the superstardom ladder. His performances inspired his younger cousin Sissy to chase her dreams as well.

Photo: Courtesy of Nicki Swift

Spacek credits her cousin for encouraging her acting career, and also for helping her move to New York to make it come true. Torn’s real name is Elmore Rual Torn, but he decided to go by his family nickname, which inspired Sissy, whose real name is Mary Elizabeth, to do the same. He told her: “you shouldn’t change what you are in search of success“, and those words stuck with her forever.

#9. Lily Allen & Alfie Allen

These two literally look like twins, and obviously have the same last name. Yet, not many people seem to know that singer Lily Allen and actor Alfie Allen are brother and sister! Lily made a name for herself in the music industry, when her first ever single, Smile, quickly climbed to the top of the charts. She even made a song about her little brother on her first album, which was also a big hit.

Photo: Courtesy of Nicki Swift

Alfie, on the other hand, pursued a career in the acting world. He became known for his role as Theon Greyjoy on the critically-acclaimed Game of Thrones. On season two of the show, his character travels back to his place of birth and meets his sister Yara, who is played by actress Gemma Whelan. The producers of the show initially offered the role to Lily, however, since she’s Alfie’s real sister, but she declined. Hopefully, we’ll see these two share the screen someday!

#8. Jason Sudeikis & George Wendt

Comedian and actor George Wendt became a household name thanks to his role as Norm Peterson on the TV sitcom Cheers, which got him a whopping six consecutive Emmy nominations. But his biggest admirer was his young nephew Jason Sudeikis, who was an aspiring young actor at the time and wanted to be just like his uncle. So much so, that he would visit him on set, and ask for his advice whenever he got the chance.

Photo: Courtesy of Ritely

One piece of advice that stuck with Sudeikis was that his uncle told him to “get on one of the best sitcoms of all time and then ride it outjust like he did. Although he took his advice into consideration, he didn’t end up following the same path as his uncle did. He started out doing improvisational comedy and later became a writer for Saturday Night LiveIt wasn’t until 2011 when he jumped into the big screen with his role in Horrible Bosses, which made him an instant star.

#7. Brandy, Ray J & Snoop Dogg

You could say that most people know that singer Brandy and rapper Ray J are brother and sister, but many people don’t know that the siblings are Snoop Dogg‘s cousins. The latter revealed their family connection in an interview with MTV in 2006, saying:

Brandy’s my first cousin. We never really told the world because we weren’t trippin’ off of that, but that’s my family.”

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Just like many celebs, they wanted to keep their careers and personal lives separated, so they all decided not to talk about it that much. However, they aren’t shy when it comes to working together. Brandy collaborated with her cousin in his song Special, along with Pharell, and Snoop featured on Raj J’s Hallelujah, and even interviewed him on his web show.

#6. Riley Keough & Elvis

Riley Keough is known for her work as an actress, mostly in collaboration with director Steven Soderbergh in films such as Magic Mike and Logan Lucky. She also appeared in Mad Max: Fury Road, and earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in The Girlfriend Experience. But did you know that she’s actually Elvis Presley‘s granddaughter? She’s the daughter of musician Danny Keough and Lisa-Marie Presley, Elvis’s daughter.

Photo: Courtesy of Nicki Swift

Although musical talent is in her blood, she pursued acting instead of following her grandfather’s footsteps. In fact, she never felt very connected to him, because she never got to meet him in person. When asked about her legendary grandpa, she said:

The reality is I know as much about my grandpa as you’d know about a grandpa you never met.

#5. Nicholas Cage & Sofia Coppola

As we mentioned before, the Coppola family tree is full of artists, and one Hollywood A-lister also belongs to it: Nicholas Cage. Cage is just his stage name, as his real name is Nicolas Kim Coppola. His father, August Coppola, was Francis Ford Coppola’s brother,  and worked for many years as a film executive. Cage’s two brothers are New York radio personality Marc Coppola and director Christopher Coppola.

Photo: Courtesy of Ritely

And that’s just to name a few. The rest of the Coppola cousins are also involved in the film industry, like director Roman Coppola, Sofia’s brother, and film producer Gian-Carlo Coppola. With such a prestigious last name, one may wonder why Nicholas chose to change it… The truth is, he didn’t want to be known as “Coppola’s nephew” and wanted to make it on his own, so he changed his last name to Cage in honor of Marvel superhero Luke Cage.

#4. Warren Beatty & Shirley MacLaine

Warren Beatty has an impressive Hollywood career. He has been nominated for fourteen Academy Awards for his work as an actor, writer, producer, and director, and won the Oscar for best director in 1981 for Reds. Also, eight of the films he produced have earned a total of 53 Oscars, so it’s safe to say he knows what he’s doing. Surprisingly, however, he has never shared the screen with his sister, who happens to be Shirley MacLaine.

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MacLaine made her film debut in Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Trouble with Harry and has had an impeccable career since then. Like her brother, she has won an Academy Award, and is not only known for her singing, acting and dancing, but also for her incredible work as an activist. But why don’t people know that they’re related? The truth is that, on top of Shirley’s name change, they’ve never worked together, because they wanted to keep their careers separate from their personal lives.

#3. Meryl Streep & Brooke Shields

Meryl Streep and Brooke Shields are both household names. Shields started out as a model when she was just a child and later pursued a career in acting, while Streep is known for her versatility and impressive acting skills, which got her 21 Oscar nominations, and 3 statues. But, what do these two really have in common? Well, DNA (although they look nothing alike).

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Streep and Shields are second cousins. With such long careers in Hollywood, it is surprising that these two never shared the screen on any acting project, but at least they share the same genes. Shields is also the second cousin of another award-winning actress: Glenn Close. But this celebrity connection is nothing like the one on our #2 spot…

#2. Ellen DeGeneres & Kate Middleton

We all know the one and only Ellen DeGeneres is a Hollywood royalty. Surprisingly, however, she does have a real connection to the British royal family. A few years ago, the 60-year-old TV host revealed on her show that she was Kate Middleton‘s fifteenth cousin. She found out about it through the same study that revealed Middleton’s connection to Guy Ritchie. The world is much smaller than we think, isn’t it?

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Their ancestral connection goes all the way back to the 1500s. The New England Historic Genealogical Society discovered that they’re related through Sir Thomas Fairfax and his wife, Agnes Gascoigne, who lived in England in the early fourteenth century. How crazy is that?! Middleton never commented on it, but DeGeneres has said she’s determined to reconnect with her distant cousin someday.

#1. Brad Pitt & Barack Obama

Nope, that’s not a typo: they’re actually related. The same guys behind Kate Middleton’s ancestry study found out something even more interesting. Hollywood A-lister Brad Pitt and the United States’ 44th president are ninth cousins, linked together by Edwin Hickman, their common ancestor, who lived in Virginia. What’s more, Obama’s lineage actually connects him with six US presidents.

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Among them are George W. Bush, his father, George H. W. Bush, and Gerald Ford. But there’s also crazy connections on Pitt’s side too.  His former wife, the one and only Angelina Jolie, is also related to a prominent figure in politics: Hillary Clinton, who is also a distant relative of Madonna and Celine Dion. Therefore, the Jolie-Pitt children are actually related to all these people. Just imagine what that family reunion would look like!

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    Angeles

    24 - Argentina.

    She's a journalist and a website developer based in New York.

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