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Denzel Washington Was Honest With His Kids About the Business Of Hollywood, But It Sounds Like It Didn’t Matter

Denzel Washington in Malcolm X
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

It’s far from uncommon for kids to want to follow in the footsteps of their parents when it comes to their careers and it seems that is the case even when your dad is Denzel Washington.  One of the most successful and well regarded actors ever has four kids who all work in Hollywood, despite their dad making sure they knew just how tough the business would be.

Speaking with Today about his new film, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Denzel Washington says that he did talk to his kids about their potential careers, and even had his daughter Olivia audition for him so he could see what she would be doing. While he never tried to talk her out of her dream, he did try to make sure she understood how tough it could potentially be, even being the child of a famous actor. Washington says… 

I had Olivia audition for me, show me her audition piece. I told her I said, you know,, ‘No. 1 you’re very good, but it’s going to be tough, tougher for you.’ I just tried to be honest with them about the business.

Hollywood is certainly a tough business for everybody and especially women, and also for people of color, and so Denzel Washington certainly wanted to be sure his kids at least knew what to expect. Otherwise he seems quite supportive, which is not the case with other actors. Jason Momoa has said that one of his kids wants to go into acting and he’s trying to talk them out of it

On the one hand parents certainly want kids to be happy, and if that means chasing a dream, that’s fine. But many of those dreams are destined for disappointment. If Denzel felt the same as Jason Momoa it would not be shocking. Knowing what Hollywood has to offer, the good and the bad, there’s certainly going to be a desire to protect one’s kids from the worst of it.

And while Denzel Washington’s kids certainly knew what they were getting into, it didn’t dissuade them from doing it anyway, and it seems that, while things may have been difficult, they’ve all found some degree of success. Denzel says his kids are literally all over the world working right now…

Well, we’re just working actors, you know? Olivia my daughter – I forget which one is where – one is working in New Orleans, that’s Olivia. Katia is producing a movie in New Mexico and John David is in Indonesia as we speak. Or Bangkok, Thailand.

 And Denzel is certainly the proud dad. John David Washington is making a pretty big name for himself right now, having starred in such films as Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. But with three other children who all work in Hollywood in various capacities we may be on the verge of a Washington family dynasty.  

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.