What you don’t know about the Culkin family!
There are numerous rumors and headlines on salacious tabloids about the Culkin family, but do you know them well? What about Macaulay Culkin? The media would describe him as the child star going bad, but he is not. Likewise, he was not, in his own words, “pounding six grand of heroin every month”. Oh, and Macaulay is not 11 years old anymore either.
The couple Patricia Brentrup and Kit Culkin has 7 children, including Macaulay. They then turned to act as managers. The Culkin name became to be amongst the most famous in Hollywood mainly due to Macaulay’s achievement. However, many people think that Macaulay can grow up with his family in a good way, only a few know about the facts.
Behind the scenes, how was his life like? What were Macaulay’s parents like? What happened to his profession? No more lies, now it’s time to discover what you don’t know about the Culkin family.
Macaulay Culkin became one of Hollywood’s most demanding celebrity. He was also the most fortunate after the success of Home Alone. However, that is not a financially soft issue for them. And the bad custody battle and struggle to manage a huge sum of money wasn’t one of their financial struggles.
The Culkin family had a difficult life before Macaulay appeared in Hollywood. Their living place was narrow, to say it gently. “There was only a hallway, and no separating doors, except for the bathroom, which didn’t have a lock”. Kieran Culkin shared about his childhood said home to Vanity Fair. “In that apartment, they raised seven kids — for years! They just kept bringing babies home to this tiny space.”
Likewise, Macaulay described the “one-bedroom apartment” on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast. “They stacked us on top of each other.” The director Billy Hopkins, knows the plight of his family. “I had to use my own money to ensure that he got to and from rehearsal because they were so poor,” he told New York Magazine. “Macaulay would crawl beneath the bleachers at the theater to find changes that had dropped out of people’s pockets. They were like the Beverly Hillbillies.”
The sons who are like their father
Although Kit Culkin is the manager of the Culkin family, he used to be an actor. Macaulay shared Marc Maron on the WTF Podcast that some people had kicked his brother around a little bit. “He did some stuff when he was a kid … He pretty much never made it beyond the chorus.”
According to Macaulay, an on-stage accident could make his father permanently scarred and make him tired. “Doing King Lear off off off Broadway,” he explained. “He is so into his part, he closes his eyes. And so he’s doing a soliloquy, and he’s getting closer and closer to the edge of the stage. He doesn’t notice because he’s so into the part because he’s blind. And then he falls into the first row and hurts himself. It is the opening night.” He hadn’t acted since then.
It’s this lack of success, in Macaulay’s mind, that made Kit resent his son’s achievement. “He was rather jealous,” Culkin said. “Everything that he made efforts to do in his life, like, I excelled at before I was 10years old.”
A burdensome reputation
The spotlight is something many stars don’t take lightly. However, it’s something for the Culkins to avoid altogether. You can’t blame them for feeling this way. Strangers stalked them as they grew up.
Kieran Culkin told Vanity Fair: “I think smart people, well-tuned, experienced it for the first time or second will not pursue it. I’ll totally take personal happiness over success, absolutely. If I’m miserable, then what’s the f**king point?”
Kieran is Macaulay’s younger brother. He remembers many fans around when they are in public places. One daring fan then took off the hat off from his brother’s head so as to get a better look at him. “Yeah, it’s him,” she said to her friends. And then, she said to our young actor “You’re not so cute”.
This is no normal reaction, but ordinary was not something for the Culkins. Mila Kunis, who is a star actress and Ashton Kutcher‘s wife, understands reputation. However, she can’t even understand what’s wrong to people when they see Macaulay.
On The Howard Stern Show, Kunis talked about eight years she dated Macaulay. “You cannot walk down the street with him,” she said. “He always had this weird attraction. Fans just screamed when they saw him. It wasn’t a normal response to a celebrity and they didn’t know how to react.”
The father who is absent
Macaulay quit acting after his parents split. Then, he and his father went their different ways. Macaulay spoke on WTF Podcast with Marc Maron that he went “about a quarter of a century” without talking to the man. However, Kit seems to have always been a little absent. The truth is that Macaulay’s concept of a father, almost, is one of the things we know from television shows and movies.
“He’s not a good guy, but he hasn’t been a big part of my life since I’m 15,” Kieran Culkin talked to Vanity Fair. “In the 90s, he went away and disappeared for about two or three weeks, and the babysitter noted to my mom. ‘The funny thing is, their father has gone for three weeks, and none of them has said, Hey, where’s my Dad?’ Nobody cared, honestly. My mom was the parent. When he wasn’t there, it was good.”
Sharing with the Daily Mail, Kit has confirmed with the fact that he probably never see neither speak to Macaulay (or the other children) again. Actually, it may be that he tends not to. “I don’t regard him as a son anymore,” he told the news outlet.
The dynasty of terror
Abusing is one of the uglier allegations to come from within the Culkin family. According to the family’s vocal members, Kit Culkin was abusive both physically and mentally on numerous occasions. Once Patricia Brentrup and Kit’s custody battle went public, the fans heard stories of Kit’s alleged bad side.
Patricia accused her former partner of extreme violence as Kit’s “dynasty of terror”. He punched my head and about the body, causing me extreme injury. Then, he dragged me out to the balcony. Then, he threatened to push me over the railing,” (through The Telegraph). “Few children witnessed this accident. I had two black eyes and extreme bruising.”
Macaulay remembers it, too. “Physically and mentally, he was abusive”, via Marc Maronon WTF Podcast. “I could show you all my scars.” Macaulay and his father turned into a Hollywood preventive tale due to the alleged mental abuse he suffered. Sharing with Barbara Walters, Macaulay characterized his father as a man who was good at breaking spirits. “We didn’t even have the bedroom … I was sleeping on my couch,” he said. “He wanted me and my brother to know that he was in charge. So if he didn’t want us to sleep on a bed, we weren’t going to do that.”
The lost brothers and sisters
You may know Macaulay, Kieran, and Rory. But do you remember, the least famous Culkins of all? Besides the big three, you may not have ever heard about four other Culkin siblings.
Shane, the oldest in the family, was told to be Kit’s first pet project. Although he wasn’t as successful as his younger brothers, Shane is famous for his acting pursuits. As Macaulay spoke to Marc Maron at WTF Podcast, during the Our Town production, his older brother famously puked on stage. And Dakota (the second oldest sibling), had a tragic death in 2008 after a car struck her while crossing the road. As reported by People, Dakota was as an art production assistant. She had never act like other Culkin children.
The sister that came after Macaulay and Kieran, Quinn, acted with Macaulay, in The Good Son. She then left the industry. Christian, the next in line, acted in It Runs in the Family with Kieran. However, he then also walked away. The Culkin family agent, Emily Gerson Saines, told that everybody lived in Macaulay’s shadow. Quinn knows this feeling well. “They’ve even called me ‘MacCulkin,’ like I’m a member of the family,” she told Vanity Fair.
The Culkin fire
In 1998, the Culkin family fire was on the news. It was a superheated blaze ripping through the apartment building where Patricia Brentrup lived with her children. It killed four people and injured many others. Then, she was hit with a massive lawsuit of $80 million. This is because they confirmed that the fire started from Brentrup’s apartment. It was “when paper placed near a space heater ignited” (per the New York Daily News). The attorney for the negligence suit disagreed, “Had [Brentrup] closed her apartment door, the fire could contain to that area.”
She wasn’t the only person sued. According to The New York Times, “an insurance company sued for over $113,000 paid to the tenants” for claims they made associated with the fire. Finally, they dismissed the suit. This was really interesting considering his status. He didn’t even live there and wasn’t in the apartment when the fire started. “Two family friends just broke down our front door and told us,” Macaulay talked to New York Magazine. “I sprinted to the TV and boom, there it was: the Culkin fire. Obviously, the photo they had been of a Christmas tree on fire, but it had nothing to do with this tree.” “They made it sound like I was running around the house naked dropping vodka on the walls and throwing matches everywhere,” Macaulay said. “And I wasn’t even there.”
Custody battles often follow when parents decide to split up. But in the Culkin household, things were a little different. There weren’t just primary custody or visitation rights on the public custody battle following the split of Kit Culkin and Patricia Brentrup. The parents were struggling to manage and control their children’s acting professions.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the Culkin parents “split a 15% commission on their son’s earnings.” Whilst Macaulay had been the main earner so far, there was also potential on the other children. Thus, that 15% piece of the pie both parents were very happy to keep control of. The money problems at the heart of the situation cast both parents in a really unappealing light for onlookers.
“The custody battle sounds to be two parents struggling for a young guy’s earnings,” said Home Alone director Chris Columbus. “If I were a kid, I’d wish my parents to be fighting for custody of me since they love me — not because of my money. It’s really a little bit depressing.” In the end, Brentrup had sole custody of her children. But the judge recommended her to work harder to instill “discipline and good study habits” in the children.
The Hollywood Monster
Hollywood is said to be a small town, and the reputation can quickly proceed a person. Kit Culkin having practice knowledge of the show business cruelty and the fleeting fame, having his reputation as a terror. Kit understood what he got from Macaulay. He earned more money by employing his son’s allure. He also gained more power. However, as reported by The Guardian, Kit stopped Macaulay from promoting the film after his son finished filming My Girl. He even gave strange reasons to publicly slammed My Girl.
At the same time, there was circulation on the script for The Good Son. Fox then picked it up. Definitely, Kit wanted Macaulay to play the role, and the studio agreed. In order to suit Macaulay’s Home Alone 2 schedule, they had to delay the production for nine months. However, Michael Lehmann, the director, recommended that Macaulay could not be the best fit.
Via People, Kit threatened Fox that if they didn’t get The Good Son, he would withdraw his son from the Home Alone sequel. While the studio accepted to wait, the film’s budget nearly tripled. And “the initial director, producer, and writer had left,” but Kit found his way.
Cracking a hard nut
Kit Culkin built a demanding Hollywood presence reputation for his son. Then, he seemed to be able to pull all the strings on Macaulay’s films. Head of 20th Century Fox, Joe Roth, told The New York Times of Kit’s son. “There are no 11-year-old kids that sell tickets like Macaulay. Getting the kid in a lead part is such a great asset.”
However, Kit appeared to have eventually faced his match, when the lead in The Nutcracker was for Macaulay. Arnon Milchan, the producer of the film, didn’t let the Culkin father push around. Via People, the demands began small. “Kit doesn’t like the noise of the Christmas tree growing,” Milchan remembered the family’s agent’s statement. Not so long, however, Kit requested the producers and film crew wholesale changes. “He called me and sent a letter with the content to not use the narration or we can’t use Macaulay’s name”. Milchan shared with The New York Times. The straw was now breaking the camel’s back.
“Enough!” Milchan told Kit. “I can stand so much harassment, extortion, and blackmail. It’s enough!” It worked finally after he had called Kit’s bluff. Kit dropped out some of his demands. The film’s producers then selected to “not even respond” to the remaining demands.
The thing with Michael Jackson
In 2005, Michael Jackson had an accusation for inappropriate conduct with children. They called Macaulay Culkin to the stand during the trial. Culkin is a friend and frequent visitor to Jackson’s home. The Neverland Ranch confirmed that while the former King of Pop never mistreated him while he slept over regularly. Meanwhile, others testified to the contrary.
By The Telegraph, one of Jackson’s former maid on the ranch claimed that Jackson touched and kissed Culkin inappropriately. Likewise, a former chef testified that he witnessed Jackson put his hands in the boy’s shorts. Culkin said these accusations were “absolutely ridiculous.” He also added, “I could not believe it. … no one approached me to ask if these allegations were true.” During the trial, people cast doubt on the validity of those claims involving Culkin. They revealed that the tabloids were offering a big payout if they made the stories “more graphics,” via CNN.
The strange friendship between Jackson and the Culkins could be because of isolation via fame. “He understood because he grew up similarly,” Macaulay told Vanity Fair. “He understood certain aspects of himself in me and our family, and he wanted a safe time as well as a safe place to be himself.”
There is only about work, not play
Maybe many actors choose a life of fame, but some of the Culkin children never had that decision. Specifically, Macaulay and Kieran, their parents born them into the industry. To them, this was a full-time job over which they cannot control it.
“I’ve done 14 films and even never looked at the script,” Macaulay talked to The Guardian in 2000. “I was just like a machine. My dad would go over what I was doing the next morning. I’d go on the set, just do it, and come home, then go over what we were going to do the next day. Macaulay remembers looking forward eagerly to his summer vacations and telling his mother about his dream. Then, she only told that he shouldn’t “make plans” because he “has to work.”
For Kieran, it was not much different. In a Backstage’s interview, he stated that when he was an adult, he recognized that he was able to decide what his life should be. “I’ve been acting since I was six. Then suddenly, at the age of 20, I found myself with my career,” he said. “That was terrifying since I never once decided I wished to do this.”