Tom Hanks’ son Chet revealed what it was like growing up as the son of Hollywood royalty — and it wasn’t all glitter and red carpets.
In a video titled “The Truth About Growing Up As a Hanks” posted to his YouTube channel on February 15, the Empire actor warned viewers that he would explore “deeper” territory than usual, starting with a question he has been asked his whole life: What was it like growing up as Tom Hanks’ son?
“There’s a lot of advantages but sometimes it can be pretty weird,” Chet admitted. “I got to do a lot of cool sh*t that a lot of people don’t get the opportunity to do. I got to travel the world, stay in nice hotels, fly on private planes and I’m very blessed for that. I wouldn’t change my situation. I love my parents.” Chet’s mom is actress Rita Wilson, who has been married to Tom since 1998.
However, Chet acknowledges the “double-edged sword” involved with fame. “You gotta keep in mind that fame is the most powerful drug known to man. It can also be the most destructive” because it creates jealousy and leaves people in search of validation which only “amplifies your misery.”
He added, “My experience was even more complicated because, on top of fame already being toxic, I wasn’t even famous. I was just the son of somebody famous, so I hadn’t even done anything to deserve any sort of recognition and that created a lot of contempt for me. My dad is beloved, he’s on this pedestal, but for me, it created a lot of contempt…”
Chet explained that people always assumed he would be an “entitled spoiled brat” but his parents, who didn’t even give him an allowance, made sure that didn’t happen. “Growing up, if I needed money to go out and have fun with my friends, my dad would be like, ‘OK, you want some money? Go out and wash my car.”
While Chet is grateful for those experiences, he became angry by how people perceived him, either befriending him to get close to his dad or ostracizing him out of envy.
Although he needed direction, Chet says, “I didn’t have a strong male role model to tell me, ‘Hey bro. F*ck these people, they’re just jealous of you. You have all these things that they want so they’re trying to throw their shade at you so you can feel shitty about yourself because they’re jealous. I needed to hear that, I didn’t have anyone to tell me that.”
The actor said acquiring that wisdom as a child would have quelled his emotional turmoil and defenses. Now, in his 30s, he’s beginning to realize he has nothing to prove to anyone, explaining, “I’ve learned a lot about myself.”
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