Clementine Jane Hawke, daughter of Ethan, was born in New York last Friday, Us Weekly tells us today. The late arrival of the news tells us something that we feel does not bode well: Us failed to track her arrival for six whole days. This is only one of the many hardships that Clementine, the daughter of Hawke and his former nanny, Ryan Shawnhughes, will face in her life as a half-celebrity.
Being a half-celebrity is a challenge for many children. Clementine and other HF (half famous) babies, such as the recently born Levi Alves McConaughey, often grow up feeling like they don’t quite belong. Matt Damon’s daughter Isabella feels different every time she has a playdate with Violet Affleck. “Why am I not like Violet, Mommy?” Isabella asks, while Damon and his wife exchange uncomfortable glances across the dining-room table. “Some people are just different, sweetheart,” Damon says in his famous Boston-tinged twang.
His wife may offer words of comfort, too, but no one records them or even imagines them, because she is not famous.
Often, HF children are denied entry into schools like Crossroads and forced instead to attend less prestigious institutions. Sometimes, being named something ridiculous— Kal-el Cage, for instance — helps an HF child blend in. But if they are so unlucky as to have a different surname from their famous parent, people may not know that they are supposed to be treated differently. Like Mathilda Ereni Ringwald Gianopoulos or Johnny and Mattea Angel Sorvino Backus, whose kindergarten teachers are like “Who?” And it doesn’t stop there: Half-celebrity children may have a hard time starting a career based on nepotism, or even getting restaurant reservations. Does “Amurri,” after all, have the same ring as “Sarandon” or “Robbins”?
And some half-famous children are altogether unknown. Take Mamie Gummer. Who is that?
As celebrities continue to mix with noncelebrities, we expect that the troubles of HF children will become more of an issue. Perhaps one day someone will open a resource center for them. Maybe Jack and Sailor Cook, the children of Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook, will take up the mantle of the cause. As their mother once said, children are the future. Maybe HF children can be our future, too.