Hollywood is a small town, but it’s even smaller when you know how many relatives are part of the industry. Here are 10 pairs of celebrities you probably didn’t know were related.
1. Bill Bellamy and Shaquille O’Neal
Not many people know that comedian Bill Bellamy and NBA star Shaquille O’Neal are related, but it’s true. The two are actually cousins.
Bellamy talked about his relationship with O’Neal with The Birmingham Times in 2017, saying he was “proud” of the success O’Neal had achieved and continues to maintain while in retirement.
“It’s funny, I always wanted to be an NBA player living his life, and he wanted to be a comedian [and] that’s why he’s so silly,” he said. “We always have fun, too, and that’s the interesting thing about it. He just took it to a dope level in his profession and I took it to a superstar level in my profession, so it evens out.”
2. Nia Long and Sommore
Actress Nia Long and comedian Sommore are actually half-sisters, sharing the same father, poet Doughtry “Doc” Long. The two were able to establish careers without acknowledging their relationship. For instance, Sommore revealed in a 2016 interview that she wanted to make her own name without referencing her ties to Long. “Now that I’ve solidified my spot, now I go ahead and talk about it,” she said.
3. Steve Harris and Wood Harris
Steve Harris, known for his roles in The Practice, Diary of a Mad, Black Woman, The Twilight Zone and Chicago P.D., is the older brother of Wood Harris, who has Remember The Titans, The Wire, Creed II, Empire and Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television as some of the credits on his resume. Both brothers played alongside each other during the fifth season of Justified.
4. Janelle Monae and Marsai Martin
Singer Janelle Monae and Marsai Martin discovered they were distant cousins during a Golden Globes afterparty. Both were excited to learn about being related, since both discussed with InStyle in 2019 how much they admire each other and their careers. “She so true to herself with everything that she puts on,” said Martin, calling her a “big inspiration” for her. Monae said she was also “such a fan” of Martin’s role on black-ish.
5. Aldis Hodge and Edwin Hodge
Hidden Figures and Clemency star Aldis Hodge is the younger brother of Edwin Hodge, currently starring on Mayans Mc. Both starred in three of The Purge films, and as he told ScreenRant this year, those films are some of his favorite horror films because of the family connection.
6. Gabrielle Union and Saweetie
Rapper Saweetie might be famous now, but she already had a celebrity connection with her cousin Gabrielle Union. Both have talked about their relationship, with Union mentioning their relationship on social media and Saweetie talking about it at length to Teen Vogue in 2018.
7. Sheila E and Nicole Richie
Nicole Richie’s is full of famous musicians. Not only is her adopted father Lionel Richie, but her biological aunt is Sheila E. Sheila E.’s brother, Peter Escovedo, is Richie’s biological father, and because he and Richie’s biological mother Karen Moss were so entrenched in the music industry, Richie was often left to live with relatives. It was when the Escovedos went to live with Lionel in a part of his mansion that Richie was able to find a permanent home as part of Lionel’s family.
8. LisaRaye and Da Brat
Actress LisaRaye and rapper Da Brat are actually biological sisters. They have remained close, enduring the tragedy of their father’s murder in 1988. Their father’s killers, his girlfriend and her brother, are still serving time behind bars for the murder.
9. Thandie Newton and Nico Parker
Nico Parker made her acting debut in Disney’s reboot of Dumbo, following in her mother Thandie Newton’s footsteps. Newton has also made sure her daughter is safe in the acting industry.
“She has her mum right there like a lioness checking that everything is looked after,” she said on British talk show This Morning in 2018, according to People. in 2018 “You can’t stop the industry [from] operating the way it has unless the truth comes out.”
10. Denzel Washington and John David Washington
John David Washington, best known for his role in BlacKkKlansman and his upcoming role in Tenet, takes after both parents when it comes to acting. Washington’s father is Denzel Washington, and his mother is actress Pauletta Washington.
He told IndieWire in 2018 that landing the lead role of BlacKkKlansman felt different to him rather than when he got a role on Ballers. He said his father’s agent helped him land Ballers, and getting BlacKkKlansman meant that “I was there because of me and not because of, you know, nepotism.” But like his father, he said his work is “always about the material and who you get to work with.”
From Harlem to Hollywood, get the Black entertainment news you need in your inbox daily.