Thanks to Vulture, ‘nepo babies’ have been all anyone can talk about this week. For the uninitiated, a nepo baby is the child of a wealthy, famous, or powerful person (usually all three) who has followed in their parents’ footsteps.
The phrase is short for ‘nepotism baby’ and implies someone who got to their position through their connections, rather than hard graft alone. Through researching this piece, we’ve learned that Australia is not as packed with nepo children as America, although many famous faces not included below come from upper-middle class backgrounds and attended wealthy private schools, which can result in similar privileges.
While Vulture’s definitive guide to nepo babies was thorough, it didn’t include any of our home-grown, Australian nepo babies.
This is our offering, then: an Antipodean addendum to Vulture’s guide to nepo babies. Enjoy.
Traditional Nepo Babies
These are your run-of-the-mill, straightforward nepo babies, who had a leg-up from their wealthy, famous, or influential parents.
Miranda Otto, star of The Lord of the Rings, is the daughter of Barry Otto, a fellow actor who won an AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Baz Luhrmann’s debut, Strictly Ballroom. Her half-sister Gracie is also in showbiz, working primarily as a director.
Sia’s father, Phil Colson, is a musician like Sia, and her uncle, Kevin Colson, is an actor best known for playing Cliff in the original West End production of Cabaret, opposite Dame Judi Dench.
One of the stars of the most recent series of Spider-Man movies, Angourie’s father Jeremy is a director who specialises in theatre and television for young audiences.
Known to many because of her 15-year-long marriage to Russell Crowe, Danielle is an actor and musician in her own right, but also the daughter of iconic children’s television presenter and musician Don Spencer.
Deni, who launched her music career in the early 1990s, is the daughter of American-Australian icon Marcia Hines. The promoter who signed her for the role of Mary Magdalene in a revival of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1992 had previously discovered and signed Marcia twenty years earlier.
The Kid Laroi
The Kid Laroi was born Charlton Kenneth Jeffrey Howard to two parents in the music industry: a music producer/ sound engineer father and a talent manager / record label founder mother.
Actor, singer and television host David Campbell is the son of beloved Scottish-Australian musician Jimmy Barnes, although Barnes was not present for his childhood, which he spent being raised by his maternal grandmother. Father and son have since performed together on multiple occasions, including recording duets for each other’s albums.
No longer the household name he once was, Jason Donovan was a darling of the small screen in the 80s and 90s, owing to his role as Scott Robinson on Neighbours, playing opposite Kylie Minogue. Donovan’s father, Terence Donovan, is also an actor, and also appeared in Neighbours, joining the cast in 1990. Donovan’s mother, Sue McIntosh, is an actress, presenter and journalist, and it is through Sue that Jason is half-siblings with Stephanie McIntosh, best known for playing Sky Mangel on Neighbours in the 2000s.
Best known for starring in Ryan Murphy’s early 2000s TV show Nip/Tuck, Julian McMahon is the son of former Prime Minister Sir William McMahon. William McMahon, a member of the Liberal Party, was sworn in as Prime Minister in 1971 when Julian was just two years old, becoming the oldest non-interim Prime Minister to take office. His tenure lasted until his party’s loss to Gough Whitlam at the 1972 federal election.
Entertainment reporter and Channel 10 staple Angela Bishop is the daughter of Liberal MP and minister in the Howard Government Bronwyn Bishop and husband Alan Bishop, who was a judge in the District Court of New South Wales.
Laura’s father is fellow journalist John Tingle, who was best known for presenting current affairs programs across a number of radio and TV stations. John Tingle also founded the Shooters Party in New South Wales and served as a member of the state’s Legislative Council from 1995 to 2006.
Bindi and Robert Irwin
The children of one of the most famous Australians in the world were never not going to be famous, but Bindi and Robert embraced father Steve’s legacy and are sharing their passion for all creatures big and small with new audiences, particularly online, as well as working at the family’s Australia Zoo. Bindi even won season 21 of Dancing with the Stars in the US, and Terri, Bindi and Robert all currently star in Crikey! It’s the Irwins, airing on Animal Planet.
A disclaimer feels necessary for this one: Newton-John’s family tree is fascinating, but it doesn’t mean she’s a beneficiary of nepotism. You’ll understand why shortly. Newton-John’s maternal grandfather was Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Born, which is impressive enough on its own. What’s even more fascinating is that through Born’s wife Hedwig, daughter of jurist Victor Ehrenberg, Newton-John is descended from Martin Luther. Yes, him of the Ninety-five Theses, father of Lutheranism. Wild!
Star of Looking for Alibrandi and Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities, Matthew Newton still remains best known for being the son of Bert and wife Patti. Throughout the late 2000s and 2010s, Newton repeatedly made headlines for a range of offences including a conviction for common assault against former girlfriend Brooke Satchwell, alleged domestic violence against actor and then-girlfriend Rachael Taylor, an alleged assault on a 66-year-old taxi driver, and an arrest for battery against a hotel receptionist. His most recent work of note was 2020’s Ava starring Jessica Chastain, which he wrote and was set to direct until a backlash led to his decision to step down as director.
A Channel 7 staple until 2021, O’Keefe co-hosted Weekend Sunrise for 12 years, Deal or No Deal for 10, and The Chase for six. While he became a familiar face on our screens, many probably didn’t realise that he had two famous relatives: dad Barry was a justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, and uncle Johnny was a musician best known for hits like 1958’s “Wild One”.
James inherited his father Kerry’s vast media empire, which included controlling interests in Nine Network and Australian Consolidated Press, upon his death. Kerry himself inherited similar wealth and influence from his own father, Sir Frank Packer. While the Packers are not as internationally known as the Murdochs, James is perhaps best known by non-Australians for being Mariah Carey’s ex.
Justin Hemmes inherited the Merivale property fortune from his father, John Hemmes, and used it to start basically every chic hangout spot in Sydney. The Hemmes’ family own and operate more than 70 venues and 20 pubs in Sydney — including Totti’s, the Ivy, The Beresford, and the Vic on The Park — as well as a portfolio of residential properties. He is currently personally worth $1.31 billion.
The Murdoch Family
It feels like everybody in the English-speaking world knows who Rupert Murdoch is, and that’s probably how he likes it. Rupert inherited father Keith’s minority interest in News Limited upon Keith’s death in 1952, and the rest, as they say, is history. Rupert’s sons James, former CEO of 21st Century Fox, and Lachlan, executive chairman of Nova Entertainment, co-chairman of News Corp, and executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corporation are undoubtedly two of Australia’s richest nepo babies. Bonus fact: Anna Torv, star of Fringe and Netflix’s Mindhunter, is the niece of Rupert’s second wife, Anna Maria Torv, mother of Elisabeth, James and Lachlan.
Not only Australia’s richest nepo baby but Australia’s richest citizen overall, Rinehart inherited Hancock Prospecting from her father, Lang Hancock, upon his death in 1992. At the time of his death, his wealth was estimated to be around $85 million, which works out to over $180 million today. Daughter Gina’s net worth is around $27.5 billion today, making her the 48th richest person in the world.
Model and entertainment personality Christian Wilkins, who goes by the name ‘Prince Wilkins’ on social media, is one of five children of Nine Network’s star host, Richard Wilkins. The younger Wilkins has been open about having to “battle” the legacy and shadow of his father and said that it is something that he has come to accept.
These nepo babies have ties to famous, wealthy, or influential people but not in a straightforward parent/child relationship.
The Weaving family
Hugo Weaving is the most famous member of this family thanks to his illustrious career and countless unforgettable roles, but niece Samara is catching up thanks to her roles in The Babysitter and Ready or Not that established her as a scream queen. She also has roles in upcoming films Babylon and Scream VI. Hugo’s son Harry Greenwood is also an actor, having appeared in The Nightingale, Gallipoli and Wakefield, the latter of which scored him an AACTA nomination for Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a Television Drama.
The Hemsworth family
Middle child Chris has become a household name around the world thanks to his role as Thor in several Marvel movies, but younger brother Liam and older brother Luke have also found success as actors; Liam most notably in the Hunger Games franchise, and Luke in acclaimed HBO sci-fi series Westworld.
The Minogue family
Kylie Minogue is perhaps one of the most beloved Australian exports, having found stardom in the 1980s thanks to TV roles like that of Charlene Mitchell on Neighbours. She then released her debut album, Kylie, in 1988, and the rest is history. Sister Dannii was also working in TV at this time, appearing as a regular performer on Young Talent Time, where Kylie gave her first singing performance, but was not invited to join the cast. Dannii has had her own lengthy career in entertainment, releasing five albums and appearing as a presenter and judge on a number of programs, most notably The X Factor Australia and The Masked Singer Australia.
The LaPaglia family
Brothers Anthony and Jonathan are both actors; Anthony won an Emmy Award for his role on Frasier and an AACTA Award for his role as Nitram’s father in 2021’s Nitram, while Jonathan made a name for himself in roles in crime dramas like New York Undercover and The District. Most recently, Jonathan has served as host of Australian Survivor since 2016.
The Langford family
Katherine Langford broke through with her role as Hannah Baker in Netflix’s controversial teen show 13 Reasons Why, and has since appeared in popular films such as Love, Simon and Knives Out. Sister Josephine, meanwhile, gained recognition for her role as Tessa Young in the After film series. In a 2019 interview, Josephine explained that the pair got into acting independently of one another, telling Refinery29, “We both got into acting on our own, completely separately, with nothing to do with the other one.”
The Kidman family
Where sister Nicole is one of the most famous Australian actors in the world, Antonia has kept things more low-key, primarily working as a TV journalist and presenter closer to home. Father Antony was a psychologist and academic who was made a member of the Order of Australia in 2005 in recognition of his work in clinical psychology.
The Daddo family
Of the five Daddo children, brothers Andrew, Cameron and Lochie have all worked in show business: Andrew primarily as a TV and radio host, Lochie as an actor and TV host, notably appearing on Neighbours in the early 90s and hosting Getaway for six years, and Cameron as an actor, presenter, musician and radio host, winning two Logie Awards for performances in Golden Fiddles and Tracks of Glory.
The Valance family
Older sister Holly got her start, like so many other Australians, on Neighbours, although her most enduring creation is undoubtedly her song “Kiss Kiss”. Younger half-sister Olympia followed Holly’s footsteps to Ramsay Street, playing Paige Smith on Neighbours for four years from 2014-2018, reprising her role for the show’s 35th anniversary in 2020 and finale in 2022. Holly joined Olympia for the show’s finale, marking the only time the two appeared on the show at the same time.
The Stefanovic family
Brothers Karl and Peter both work in TV journalism, with Peter currently serving as a co-host of First Edition on Sky News while Karl will probably continue to serve as co-host on Channel Seven’s Today Show even after the inevitable heat death of the universe.
The McGuire family
While Eddie McGuire is, for better or worse, a household name, he’s not the only influential member of his family. Brother Frank, who got his start as a sports reporter and helped Eddie get his first job in the media, is a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly for the seat of Broadmeadows.