16 Celebs Who Have Been Open About Complex Relationships With Their Fathers

Content warning: The following article contains discussions of domestic abuse, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse.

One thing's for sure, and it's that father-daughter relationships aren't always easy. It's no secret that a child's relationship with their dad has the potential to heavily affect life as an adult. So much so that Jeffrey Rosenberg and W. Bradford Wilcox found in their 2006 book, "The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children," that a negative relationship with a father, or father figure, can not only affect a child's ability to grow into a good parent themself, but it can also have a detrimental impact on several other important life skills. To name a few? It has the ability to negatively impact self-esteem, their ease in sustaining healthy and satisfying platonic and romantic relationships, and their ability to live happy, fulfilled lives.


Of course, everyone's relationship with their dads — biological or otherwise — is different, and a poor relationship with a father figure doesn't automatically mean people will struggle in their adult life. But there are a few famous faces who have spoken out about the difficulties they've faced that have stemmed from their fractured parental relationship. Multiple stars have experienced strained father-daughter relationships, and this is how it has influenced the people they've become today.

Demi Lovato hated and loved their dad at the same time

Demi Lovato has been very open and honest with fans about the relationship they had with their dad, Patrick Lovato, before he passed away in 2013. They got particularly candid in a 2015 YouTube video in which they spoke about the song "Father," which they wrote about their dad. "I was very conflicted when he passed because he was abusive. He was mean, but he wanted to be a good person, and he wanted to have his family," Demi shared. "He knew he wasn't capable of raising a family, and it was because of his mental illness. To know that it wasn't fully his fault really was saddening to me." They added during an appearance on "Dr. Phil" three years later that they loved and hated their dad at the same time when he died.


Then, in 2021, Lovato posted a poignant post on Instagram Stories for Father's Day, urging followers with strained relationships with their dads to make amends — if they felt could. Lovato, who goes by they/them/she/her pronouns, noted they had days when they felt guilty for not doing more to further the relationship with their dad prior to his death, but added, "Other days I'm proud of myself for holding my boundary because I was doing what was best for me and my mental health. It's complicated, and I wish it were different but this made me into the person I am today."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support on their website.


Jennifer Aniston's relationship with John Aniston was fractured at times

Jennifer Aniston shared her struggles when it came to her relationship with both her parents, following their decision to divorce when she was a child. She explained to Rolling Stone during a 1999 interview how their rocky relationship began, recalling going to a birthday party as a child and coming home to find her dad, actor John Aniston, had left home. "I just remember sitting there, crying, not understanding that he was gone," she said, noting she didn't see him for around a year. "He explained and apologized, and it's enough. We've made up. There's still parts that are hard for me, but I'm an adult. I can't blame my parents anymore," she added to the outlet.


More than 20 years later, while speaking to Interview, Jennifer shared that she used her parents as a roadmap of what not to do. "Watching adults being unkind to each other, and witnessing certain things about human behavior that made me think: 'I don't want to do that. I don't want to be that. I don't want to experience this feeling ... I don't want anyone else that I ever come in contact with ever to feel that" she said. When John died in 2022, though, she made it clear they were on good terms with a touching Instagram tribute. "You were one of the most beautiful humans I ever knew ... I'll love you till the end of time," she wrote.

Rihanna sued her dad after a major falling out

Rihanna had some serious drama with her dad after Ronald Fenty spoke to the media about her now former relationship with Chris Brown without her permission. "You hear the horror stories about people going behind people's backs and doing strange things, but you always think, 'Not my family. My father would never do that to me,'" she told Vogue in 2011. "What do I even mean to him? It's really strange. That's the only word I can think of to describe it, because you grow up with your father, you know him, you are a part of him, for goodness sake! And then he does something so bizarre that I can't begin to wrap my mind around it," she continued, noting she was done trying to mend fences with him. Things only got worse between the two, as Rihanna even sued her dad in 2019 for using her brand name, Fenty, accusing him and his business partner of allegedly trying to book her concerts without her permission. Two years later though, the lawsuit was dropped. BBC News reported they'd likely settled things out of court.


By February 2023, it appeared the two were on better terms — and Ronald had seemingly learned his lesson about speaking to the press regarding anything too personal. When asked by Page Six what Rihanna had named her and A$AP Rocky's son before it was made public, he responded, "She'll have my head if I tell you!"

Adele's relationship with her dad was affected by alcohol

Adele is another star who had a complicated relationship with her dad, though she was able to reconcile with him mere days before he died in 2021. During the 2021 CBS special "Adele One Night Only," Adele told Oprah Winfrey that she struggled with her relationship with her dad for years, but realized as she got older that a lot of his absence in her life was due to his addiction to alcohol. "My dad's absolute lack of presence and effort ... I finally understood that it was the alcohol," Adele shared, adding, "It took my dad from me." The singer even explained that, particularly when she was younger, she would push romantic partners away as a result of her dad's absence in her life after he left the family home when she was 3 years old. "He was the reason why I haven't fully accessed what it is to be in a loving, loving relationship with somebody," she said.


Adele shared that after truly being able to understand what addiction had done to her dad, she decided to cut back on her own alcohol intake. "I realized I had a lot of work to do on myself, so I stopped drinking and I started working out a lot to keep me centered," she told Winfrey.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Angelina Jolie dropped Jon Voight's surname

Angelina Jolie's fraught relationship with her dad and fellow actor Jon Voight has long been publicized, and she's even admitted one of the reasons she didn't keep his last name was because they didn't have a great relationship when she was growing up. "I didn't feel that close to my father. I felt more of my mother's daughter when I was a child," she explained on the "Awards Chatter" podcast in 2017 [**23:25**], adding she also didn't just want to be known in Hollywood as Voight's daughter. That confession came after Jolie legally dropped her dad's surname in 2002 after his candid interview with "Access Hollywood," in which he accused Jolie of not letting him meet his grandson, Maddox. Jolie hit back in a statement, saying, "I don't want to make public the reasons for my bad relationship with my father. After all these years, I have determined that it is not healthy for me to be around my father."


Two years later, she told Premiere she and Voight were no longer on speaking terms. "When I had the final argument/disappointment with my father — we've had many off and on — I had thought we were breaking ground, and I realized we simply weren't," she said. "We were back to where we always were, not a place where I felt healthy or good when I was around him." It wasn't until 2010 that Jolie told Parade she was trying to reconnect with Voight.

Britney Spears slammed Jamie Spears multiple times

Britney Spears' complex relationship with her father, Jamie Spears, hit the headlines in a major way amid her conservatorship issues. Britney seemingly had a good relationship with Jamie in 2019, even claiming on Instagram she was pulling the plug on her Las Vegas residency to care for him amid his health issues. "We have a very special relationship and I want to be with my family at this time just like they have always been there for me," she wrote in the deleted post. However, there's been much discussion about what really went on inside the conservatorship before it was terminated in 2021. Speaking about her dad in court that year, Britney gave a scathing take. She claimed they'd had long conversations about her being unhappy in the conservatorship, alleging he enjoyed seeing her in turmoil.


Britney continued to call him out on social media on multiple occasions since, including in October 2022 when she asked Jamie via another deleted Instagram post, "Why did you and the family go along with it and treat me like a f**king dog ??? WHAT MAKES YOU SO GODDAMN SPECIAL ???" The "Everytime" singer also accused her dad of allegedly demoralizing her and commenting on her weight.

Jamie has denied Britney's allegations. "Mr. Spears loves his daughter Britney unconditionally. For 13 years, he has tried to do what is in her best interests, whether as a conservator or her father," his lawyer said in a 2021 statement.

Kelly Rowland formed a relationship with her dad after a 30-year estrangement

Kelly Rowland has a beautiful story of reconnection with her father, as the two reconciled after three decades of estrangement. Rowland and Christopher Lovett appeared on "Today" in 2023 to speak about their relationship, with Rowland admitting she was once in such a bad place with her dad she refused to let him backstage at her shows. The star decided it was time to reconnect after her mom, Doris Rowland Garrison, died just three weeks after the birth of her son, Titan. "I think I had these feelings of like, 'Oh my God, I have no parents.' And it was like, no, you do — you have one left," she said. After the two talked, Rowland got a better understanding of why her dad behaved the way he did when she was younger. "My understanding of where my dad was as a kid was that he was not really ready as a father. I was angry at him. I was disappointed in him. I had all of those feelings of abandonment," she shared. But the "Like This" hitmaker quickly learned Lovett didn't have a father figure himself, which helped her better understand him.


Rowland shared photos from their first meeting on Instagram in 2020. "I listened to him, I was nervous to trust him, nervous to forgive him, nervous to love him[,] nervous about it all. And the truth is, I already loved him," she wrote in the caption.

Christina Aguilera attempted to reconcile with her dad

Christina Aguilera's estrangement from her dad, Fausto Aguilera, has lasted years. She's been vocal about what growing up with Fausto was like for her, and her family has also spoken about the alleged abuse Christina's mom, Shelly Kearns, experienced. Kearns recalled during the 2003 E! documentary "Christina Aguilera" that Christina would beg her to leave Fausto when she was a child. Christina shared that she once actually briefly reconciled with him, but noted, "I soon realized that he is not necessary in my life." However, speaking to Latina in 2012, she hinted she may have been open to a second chance at reconciliation after thinking more about him since becoming a parent. "I've talked about how rough things were for me and I'm sure he's heard it. He can't be thrilled about it. So maybe one day we can do lunch," she said. "I'm 31 years old now. Maybe it's time." The "Fighter" hitmaker later added to Paper in 2018 about how her dad affected her, "You can either be, unfortunately, so damaged by it that you take a turn for the worse, or you can feel empowered by it and make choices to never go down that route."


Fausto has always denied ever abusing Christina. "My relationship with her mother was tense and I wasn't perfect. But I love Christina and her sister Rachel. I never abused them in any way and they know that," he told Daily Mail in 2002.

Brie Larson cut off visitation with her dad

In 2016, Brie Larson shared that she stopped visiting her dad, Sylvain Desaulniers, a decade earlier as soon as she was no longer forced to by visitation laws — and she hasn't had a relationship with him since. "When legally I didn't have to have visitation with him anymore, I jumped on it," the "Captain Marvel" star candidly told Elle. "As a kid, I tried to understand him and understand the situation. But he didn't do himself any favors. I don't think he ever really wanted to be a parent. It wasn't until truly recently that I realized that's why so much of my work was so volatile," she added.


The star doesn't appear to have spoken too much about her relationship with her father since then, though Desaulniers did make a public statement about their relationship to Daily Mail that same year. He claimed he had no hard feelings towards his daughter, despite their estrangement. "I love her to death. It's my daughter and I love her to death," he said. "I don't want to say more. This is my daughter's career. This is her life, this is her thing. I'm very proud of her."

Jada Pinkett Smith's resentment took over

Jada Pinkett Smith has opened up about the pain she felt from her father, explaining he wasn't in her life when she was a child but seemingly then wanted to make amends after she found fame as an actor. The star spoke candidly about her relationship with Robsol Pinkett Jr., who died in 2010 of a drug overdose, on her Facebook series "Red Table Talk" [**3:50**] in 2018. She admitted she and her brother Caleeb Pinkett had a lot of resentment for their dad, recalling him telling her when she was 7 years old, he couldn't be her father because of his addiction. "The issue for me was when I got into the position I got in and then he wanted to have a relationship. That hurt me," Jada added of his attempts to reconcile. She continued, "The most difficult thing about him dying like that is that he and I had a horrendous fight when I found out that he relapsed. I was like, 'I don't owe you nothing. You didn't do s**t for me, you didn't do s**t for Caleeb. I don't owe you nothing.' It was one of those."


Jada and her mom, Adrienne Banfield-Jones, spoke on another episode of "Red Table Talk" about the abuse the latter experienced at the hands of Robsol. "I knew that my mother and my father had a very violent relationship early on," Jada shared, recalling seeing her mom's scars as a child.

Lindsay Lohan and Michael Lohan's relationship has been up and down

Lindsay Lohan's rollercoaster relationship with her dad, Michael Lohan, has been well documented over the years, with Lindsay and her family speaking multiple times about their fractured bonds. "He's put myself and my mother and my mom's parents through so much hell," Lindsay told Irish Examiner in 2010. "I grew up really fast just because of the situations I was subjected to because of my father." Six years later, she confirmed to Daily Mail she wasn't on good terms with her dad because he continued to speak to the press about her personal life. The following year, Lindsay even compared Michael to Jekyll and Hyde. "My father was never physically abusive to my mother in front of me, I never saw that. Before I was born ... I've seen those photos," Lindsay said on "John Bishop: In Conversation With..." That came after Lindsay's mom, Dina Lohan, claimed to Daily News that her daughter had problems because of Michael.


But it seemed by 2018 that the Lohans were back on good terms. Dina and Michael were both in the audience to see their daughter on "The Wendy Williams Show," with Lindsay explaining, "Parents have their things together and sometimes the children are immersed in it and you just have to really step back and let your parents do what they do and figure out everything for themselves. And we all have a great relationship now, so it's nice."

Demi Moore found out her biological dad by mistake

During a 1991 interview with Vanity Fair, Demi Moore opened up about how she found out about Charles Harmon, her real biological father, after previously being told her dad was her mom's second husband, Danny Guynes. "There is a man who would be considered my biological father who I don't really have a relationship with," she shared. Moore only found out about Harmon after stumbling across his and her mom Virginia King's marriage certificate, claiming her mom repeatedly lied to her about him. However, the actor recalled one occasion Charles visited her when she was a child. "[He] lived in Texas, so my aunt called him. He'd always wanted to meet me but was forbidden; he'd never even seen a photograph. He came [to the aunt's] and stayed. It was a bizarre experience," Moore shared, explaining she didn't remember much about him. "I was never supposed to know he existed," she said. "He was never involved in my life. My mother left this man before I was born ... while she was pregnant. When I was born, Danny was there. That's why, for me, he's my father."


Moore has repeatedly paid tribute to the late Guynes, including in 2022 when she posted a touching Father's Day message for him on Twitter. "Feeling so much gratitude as I look at this picture seeing the comfort and strength of his loving protective reassuring arm," she wrote alongside a photo of them together.

Halle Berry forgave her father after his death

Halle Berry got honest about her complicated relationship with Jerome Jesse Berry, her late father, on Instagram in 2019. She explained they didn't have a strong bond while he was alive but shared she'd done a lot of work on herself to understand his circumstances, which led to forgiveness. "My heart is full ... full of love for my DADDY!" she wrote on Father's Day, sharing one of just two photos she had of him. "While I didn't have much of a relationship with him while he was here, as he was alcohol addicted and that addiction robbed us of the relationship we were meant to have, I now understand how much he loved me and how vital he was and is to my life!" she touchingly wrote.


Two years later, Berry spoke further about their relationship on NPR's "Fresh Air" podcast [**10:00**]. "I grew up with an alcoholic father that was very abusive, both verbally, emotionally, physically," she claimed, explaining she learned how to forgive her dad after speaking to a spiritual healer following his death. "He wasn't born into the world an abusive, alcoholic man who was out of control. He became that by what he was and was not given; what he was exposed to and by what he wasn't exposed to," she noted. "[I] started to look at him as an innocent little boy who got raised by an alcoholic father and a mother who was so broken herself."

Maisie Williams endured a difficult childhood

Former "Game of Thrones" star Maisie Williams has admitted that her relationship with her father was so complex that it had a major impact on much of her childhood. "As a young child before the age of 8, []I] had quite a traumatic relationship with my dad. I don't really want to go into it too much because it affects my siblings and my whole family," she explained in "The Diary Of A CEO" in 2022, sharing that her mom left her dad when she was just four months old. "[It] really consumed a lot of my childhood. Ever since I can remember, I've really struggled sleeping. And I think a lot of the traumatic things that were happening, I didn't realize that they were wrong," she added.


Williams then recalled during the candid chat a particularly harrowing time things got so bad that she was taken home from school because of what was going on at home — but still felt the need to protect her dad. She recalled telling those who were looking out for her wellbeing, "'These things aren't bad, you're trying to take me away from my Dad and that's wrong.'" The actor added, "I was indoctrinated in a way. I think that's why I'm obsessed with cults. I get it ... I was in a child cult against my mother... So I really was fighting it in the beginning."

Minka Kelly didn't know her rocker parent growing up

Minka Kelly didn't have a relationship with her famous father, Aerosmith guitarist Rick Dufay, while she was growing up. Dufay and Kelly's mom, Maureen Kelly, had an on/off relationship, which meant Dufay was never really around for the actor when she was growing up, something she told People she resented. "I used to be really angry at him for not being there for my younger years, but I think that everything happens as it's supposed to," Minka said in 2023, admitting she reconciled with the musician as an adult and even lived with him in L.A. In her 2023 memoir, "Tell Me Everything," Minka revealed her parents attempted to give it a go once again when she was a little older, but their relationship was plagued with addiction issues — and they split for good.


Minka also told People about how Dufay helped her through an extremely difficult time when her mom died of cancer, but noted things were still complicated between them. "I'm still working on making peace with him. I love my dad so much. I think that he is so wise and he is so smart, and he's wonderful in so many ways and helped me navigate living in L.A. and going through this business in a way that I need maybe him more now than I did when I was younger. We're good friends now, and I'm glad he's here," she said.

Nicki Minaj prayed she'd escape her dad

Nicki Minaj has shared her strained relationship with her dad, Robert Maraj, admitting that, growing up, she'd pray for money so she and her mom could get away from him. "When I first came to America, I would go in my room and kneel down at the foot of my bed and pray that God would make me rich so that I could take care of my mother. Because I always felt like if I took care of my mother, my mother wouldn't have to stay with my father, and he was the one, at that time, that was bringing us pain," she told Rolling Stone in 2010. "We didn't want him around at all." Minaj explained she felt a lot of disappointment with her dad due to his addictions. "I just wanted him to be Daddy and be the happy person that I re­membered, and I was afraid, very afraid, that something would happen to my mother. I had nightmares about it," she shared.


Two years later, Minaj shared how her dad had been to rehab and mended his relationship with her and her mom. She explained to The Guardian, "He got saved and started changing his life." The rapper added, "He's away from drugs now. He doesn't instill fear in people anymore." By 2015, it seemed Minaj and Maraj's relationship was in a much better place, as she shared a sweet Father's Day tribute on Instagram.