Growing up, the actor and his parents constantly clashed with their cultural and academic expectations. After graduating from business school, Simu became an accountant – of which his parents were proud – but was fired eight months later. He took the opportunity to pursue an acting career, and his relationship with his family deteriorated.
Not until he got his first major role Kim’s convenience that they began to mend their relationship. For his mother’s 60th birthday, Simu wrote a heartfelt eight-page letter that sparked some healing conversations. “It was the first time we really talked about those issues,” he told People. “We both recognized that we were flawed people trying to do our best.”
When she dropped out of college to pursue her dreams, her parents were deeply upset. According to E News!, they told her it was “really stupid” and “latinos don’t do that.” During an interview with W Magazine, Jennifer said, “My mom and I bumped into each other. I didn’t want to go to college – I wanted to try dancing full-time. So she and I had a break.”
“I started sleeping on the couch in the dance studio. I was homeless, but I told her, ‘This is what I have to do.’ A few months later I got a dance job in Europe, and when I came back I booked In living color. I became Fly Girl and moved to LA. It all happened in a year.”
After studying law at Oxford, she turned down an opportunity at a law firm to study acting at the Drama Center London. Her parents did not approve of this decision; Gemma and her father did not speak to each other for months. “I totally understand why they were scared and upset because I don’t come from a showbiz family,” Gemma told Allure. “We have no connections with anyone in the company.”
“My dad told me, ‘It doesn’t matter how good you are, how talented you are, you won’t find enough work.’ I finished drama school 10 years ago now, so I’ve been working for 10 years, but then there weren’t that many Asian faces on stage or screen in the UK.’
During an interview with Glamor she said: “When I told my parents when I was 14 that I wanted to move to New York and be an actress, they said, ‘Well, no. Obviously.’ And I just didn’t want to shut up about it. I had already saved money for babysitting. So I thought, “I’m going.” I’ve always been a real money stickler. I wouldn’t buy things at the concession stand. I never knew what I was saving for until New York came to mind. And then I thought, “That’s what I’ve been saving for.” I’m going.'”
“And they said, ‘Well, we don’t want her to die.’ [So] my brother came with me. But they were like, “You can try for the summer, and then you have to come back and finish school.” My mom always says she wanted me to fail so I could come home, because not failing meant I was in New York. She really lost a daughter at age 14.”
The son of Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson – a famous wrestler who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame – Dwayne wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, but his father disapproved. During an interview with Today, The Rock said, “We had the biggest argument between a father and a son over this. He said, ‘Look around you. Look what I’ve got after all these years, and I want more for you.’ And I said, “I know, and I appreciate that, but I feel like I have something to offer.” And we fought and fought and fought.”
It was Dwayne’s mother who finally intervened and changed his father’s mind. “Finally, after my mom said, ‘Let me talk to you for a minute. Let me talk to you, man. Let me talk to you about how this is all going to turn out.’ And then he said, ‘Okay, I’ll train you.'”
Daniel’s father was a doctor and his parents wanted him to follow a traditional career path of doctor, lawyer or banker. But Daniel took an acting course in college that changed everything. “Something in me has changed,” he told NBC News. “So I took as many acting courses as I could, and I majored in acting independently at a local college nearby because my college didn’t have an acting major. After that, when all my friends went to places like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, I went against the trend and eventually went to New York to perform.”
“It was really hard the first few years,” he continued. “My parents were concerned about me. I think the core of our conflict at the time was the fear that their son would not be able to support himself in his chosen profession and not be able to do all the things that a son would.” is supposed to be able to do things like get married, have children and support the parents as they get older – that vision many Asian immigrant parents have for their children.”
Growing up in a strict household, she told Vanity Fair she was not allowed to listen to secular music or utter the words “deviled eggs.” She started out as a Christian singer, but soon turned to pop, which her parents disapproved of. They were deeply upset when she released “I Kissed A Girl”. During a sermon, her father told the congregation, “I kissed God – and I liked it!”
“Sometimes I think when kids grow up, their parents grow up,” Katy said. “Mine grew up with me. We live side by side. I’m not trying to change them anymore, and I don’t think they’re trying to change me. We agree to disagree.”
During an interview with USA Today, Kerry revealed that her mother was unhappy when she told her she was pursuing an acting career. Her mother even burst into tears and started sobbing. Kerry also told The Guardian, “My mother’s nightmare was that I was a famished actress. She felt life is hard enough for you as a woman, as a person of color; why go through this extra battle?”
While attending UCLA, he started an on-campus theater company, which his parents didn’t mind because it was “for fun.” But they weren’t happy when he decided to get serious about acting after graduation. “My mom actually worked at UCLA … and she heard firsthand stories about how hard it was,” he said at a USC event. “And she would tell me, especially as an Asian person, how impossible it would be. And she was right, it was really hard.”
In retrospect, however, Randall appreciates the financial support his parents provided. “I say my parents weren’t supportive of my career, but with the perspective I have now, they’ve really supported me as I pursue this career, as they housed me, fed me sometimes, and maybe did my laundry here and there did.”
On an episode of The Howard Stern Show, Steve said his father was critical of his acting career. After one of Steve’s film premieres, he and his parents went out to dinner, where his mother asked his father for his opinion on the film. His father simply said, “Well, he’s not Charlie Chaplin.” After Steve hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time, his father wrote a negative review about his son in a newsletter, insisting that the SNL looks didn’t help Steve’s career.
Despite having Julia Roberts as an aunt and Eric Roberts as a father, Emma revealed that her mother didn’t want her to step into the limelight. During an interview with Elle Canada, Emma said: “[My mom] just didn’t want me to go into it young. When you come from a family that’s in the industry, they always say, ‘Be a doctor! Be a lawyer!’ But ultimately we want to be actors.”
On an episode of Jimmy KimmelLive!she said, “I called my dad to tell him I was dropping out of college to be a comedian, and he said, ‘Eddie Murphy? Eddie Murphy isn’t even Eddie Murphy. Diane, get on the phone and tell this girl that she isn’t funny. You’re not funny! You’ve never made me laugh. Ever!”
“He didn’t support it. He didn’t support it at all… The whole family. My friends, everybody, was like ‘Girl, when are you going to give up this comedy thing and get a real job? One of my friends really thought I was funny, but they actually said, ‘Get a job’.
During an interview with the Sunday Times Style Magazine, she said: “My mum saw acting as ‘low’, that was her thought coming from Korea. She’s just a classic East Asian parent – constantly dissatisfied! But not being satisfied gives you drive, it’s not bad.”
And finally, Ross Butler
When he moved to California to pursue acting instead of becoming an engineer, his mother was not supportive of his decision. Ross told Paper that his mother viewed acting “as insecure and frivolous and not a way”. [he] could support [himself.]They didn’t speak for several years. He said he often asked himself, “How do I make my dreams fit into the Asian cultural dream? How do I make sure these two worlds meet?”
He wishes he had been allowed creative endeavors growing up, saying, “I think the problem isn’t necessarily the decision to go into art. The problem is that Asian-American kids can be creative at a younger age so that a choice along this path doesn’t seem so radical or unusual. Because if I had started earlier, I can’t say how history would have changed, but the transition would have been sooner.”
Do you know of any other actors whose parents weren’t initially supportive of their careers? LMK in the comments below!