In Hollywood, it’s not unusual for family members to choose the same career. It’s what the Baldwin brothers did – all four of them chose to be actors. And, to be honest, they all look pretty similar, so some of us have to look at the credits to see which Baldwin brother we just saw on the screen. Alec, however, is hands down the most successful of the bunch. But his three brothers have made a mark in their own right.
What many people don’t realize, though, is that the Baldwin bros also have two sisters. But, Elizabeth “Beth” Baldwin Keuchler and Jane Ann Baldwin Sasso are not performers. They left all the Tinseltown drama to their brothers. And oh, what drama they have created! With the latest news of Alec Baldwin discharging a prop firearm on the set of a Western he was filming in New Mexico.
So, if you wanna know a bit more about the Baldwin brothers – from their love lives to their internal battles – this is the place to hang around for a bit.
Let’s begin, shall we?
The Famous Four
There are a nice number of famous families out there, but the Baldwins have been one of the most prominent Hollywood dynasties for a while now. And, by a while, I mean decades. It starts with the four brothers: Alec, Stephen, Billy, and Daniel. But since they have children – Hailey and Ireland being the most famous – there are even more Baldwins in the spotlight now.
Still, despite the entrance of the fresher Baldwin faces, it doesn’t look like the famous brothers are going to be leaving the headlines anytime soon. You might think that with social media, everything is laid out on the table, and the dirty laundry is being aired for everyone to get a look, but the truth is there are many things the Baldwins try to keep out of the public eye.
Let me introduce each brother before diving in…
Alec Baldwin – The Eldest Son
Alec gets to go first, not only because he’s clearly the most famous, but because he’s the eldest son. He’s not the oldest sibling, though, as his sister Elizabeth is three years older than he is. Alec was born on April 3, 1958, as Alexander Rae Baldwin III. That’s right, the third. He was born in Amityville, New York.
The now-62-year-old is a writer, producer, game show host, and comedian. Not only is he the most popular of the bunch, but he’s also worth the most – with a net worth of $65 million. You’ve seen him on 30 Rock, The Cooler, Saturday Night Live, and in The Departed, but he was also a game show host on Match Game. Alec was married to actress Kim Basinger before his current wife Hilaria Thomas (we’ll get to them soon).
Daniel Baldwin – The Second Oldest Son
Daniel Leroy Baldwin was born on October 5, 1960, and he has worked as an actor, director, and producer. He’s best known for his roles in Cold Case, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wisdom to Know the Difference, and Grey Gardens. Daniel, now 59, was born in Massapequa, New York.
Daniel has been married three times and has five kids. He’s decided to take a step away from acting recently to focus on his long-time personal battle with substance abuse. As of 2016, he’s been working closely with families from Central New York who are dealing with similar issues. He supports youth who need to go to rehab or seek treatment for their addictions. His net worth, if you’re curious, is $400,000.
William “Billy” Baldwin – The Second Youngest Brother
Like Daniel, William Joseph “Billy” Baldwin was born in Massapequa, on February 21, in 1963. The producer, writer, and actor is the second youngest of the brothers. He’s the Baldwin that’s best known for the movies Sliver, Flatliners, The Squid, and the Whale, and the show Gossip Girl. His net worth is around $500,000.
Billy has been married to singer Chynna Phillips (of the music group Wilson Phillips and daughter of The Mamas and the Papas’ John and Michelle Phillips) since 1995. The couple has three kids together. The 57-year-old isn’t as popular these days, but he is starring and producing a Canadian drama series called Northern Rescue (on Netflix).
One more Baldwin brother until we get to the juicy stuff…
Stephen Baldwin – The Baby Brother
Stephen was born on May 12, 1966, as Stephen Andrew Baldwin. The actor whom you probably know best from The Usual Suspects, The Young Riders and The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas has a net worth of $500,000. He started out in television but made his film debut in The Beast. He also starred in the Western TV series The Young Riders.
His part in The Usual Suspects was considered his breakthrough role. He’s been married to Kennya Deodato since 1990. Stephen’s daughter Hailey is married to Justin Bieber (since 2018). Today, Stephen is a born-again Christian and goes to Hillsong Church, the same one that Bieber attends.
Their Parents Weren’t in Show Business
You might think that considering how all four brothers became actors that, naturally, their parents were also in the biz. However, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Their late father, Alexander, was a teacher and a football coach in Massapequa, New York. Their mother, Carol, was a housewife during their early years.
Many say the brothers are successful because of their good looks and on-screen charisma. And if you ask them, they’ll tell you that they inherited both qualities from their “handsome, demanding father,” the devoutly Catholic social studies teacher. Alexander Baldwin died in 1983, and, to this day, the brothers claim to be driven by their devotion to him.
They Were Raised Catholic
The Baldwins were raised as devout Catholics, thanks to their father. His faith is actually something Alec credits as fostering his wish to help others all the time. The Irish-Catholic, tightknit family, likes to compare themselves to the Kennedys. They even joke around about how one of them, either Alec or Billy, will become president.
Many believe that if their father had lived longer, the brothers wouldn’t have gotten involved in acting. Apparently, Alexander was adamant that his sons become lawyers, and his strict objections would have thwarted their future acting careers. But then again, Hollywood proved irresistible.
Hollywood Was Calling
While Alec was a student at New York University and a member of the famed Actor’s Studio, he was spotted by a talent scout and then offered a spot on a soap opera called The Doctors. As for Stephen, he claims that he has always been a thespian, preferring to perform in regional theater and sing with the Long Island Philharmonic.
Stephen’s acting career ended up taking off when he, too, was spotted by a talent agent who saw him working in a pizza parlor in Manhattan. Then there’s Billy and Daniel, who both admit that they got into acting after seeing how easy it was for their brothers to make it.
They may be in the same business and come from the same family, but they don’t necessarily get along…
Why Don’t They Get Along?
The Baldwins may have found success in Hollywood, but they seem to have taken sibling rivalry to the next level. Politics are tearing the brothers apart. According to People, the 2016 election did some real damage to their relationships. Apparently, Stephen and Alec haven’t spoken to each other in years.
Without getting myself in trouble, I’ll just say that Stephen is a vocal supporter of the man that Alec has been making a living off of on Saturday Night Live. “I still haven’t talked to my brother Alec since the election, and I’m cool with that,” Stephen told Faithwire in 2018. Referring to Alec’s recurring bit on SNL, Stephen asked, “Is it funny? Yeah. But it goes too far.”
He Said, He Said
The way Stephen sees it, his brother doesn’t need to pick on people’s families. “It’s not cool,” were his words. As for Billy, he happens to be at odds with Stephen – not Alec – over political stuff. According to Page Six, Billy tweeted: “If our father were alive today… he’d smack you in the side of the head,” referring to his choice of political support.
Alec doesn’t really speak publicly about his dynamic with his brothers, which is probably for the best. But it looks like he’s intent on making amends, having shared a sweet throwback on Instagram of all four brothers looking buff. He wrote: “Gonna get the band back together…” Here’s hoping…
Three Baldwins Were in the Same Tom Cruise Movie
Okay, let’s talk about something a little more on the fun side. Did you know that three of the four brothers were all in the same Tom Cruise movie? It sometimes happens that siblings are in the same movie together (like Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal in Donnie Darko, for example), but how often are three siblings in one film?
Back in 1989, Billy, Daniel, and Stephen all appeared in the Tom Cruise movie, Born on the Fourth of July. The Vietnam War-themed drama, by the way, went on to win two Academy Awards and four Golden Globes. So, it’s not a bad film for the brothers to have been a part of! (It could have been worse, is my point).
The Impressive Baldwin Family Ancestry
The Baldwins have a pretty impressive dynasty. But that’s nothing compared to the historical significance of their ancestors. According to Mayflower History, all the Baldwins descended from one man named John Howland, who was a passenger on the Mayflower in 1620. For those who don’t know, the English ship transported the first English Puritans (known as Pilgrims) from England to the New World in 1620.
This means that the Baldwin brothers are the 14th generation of their family to live in North America. How many people, let alone celebrities, can say that? Oh, and through the Howland connection, they are also distantly related to three American Presidents: Franklin D. Roosevelt, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush.
Billy Went From Wrestling to Calvin Klein
Before he became famous, Billy was just a normal kid trying to succeed in school. But academics were only part of his achievements in school. He had another hobby that took a lot of his time: wrestling. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in the ‘90s, Billy was a great wrestler in both high school and college leagues.
He told the publication that he “wasn’t that good,” but his various championships and tournaments prove otherwise. The ‘90s were good to Billy in other ways, too. It was then that he started a successful modeling career. According to a report from The Washington Post, Billy was one of the most prestigious up-and-coming models of the time. He had contracts with huge brands like Calvin Klein and Nike.
Stephen is All About Skateboarding and Hannah Montana
Stephen has his quirks, too. This Baldwin brother is a man of many talents, including skateboarding. According to The Guardian, after 9/11, Stephen decided to put acting on the back burner to focus on his passions: religion and extreme sports. He even managed to combine the two in a nationwide tour and directed a movie spin-off of a project called Livin’ It. The film was mildly successful, selling 500,000 copies to date.
Stephen might surprise you in another way: he has a Hannah Montana-themed tattoo. Why on earth? Well, in 2010, he told Metro that he got the tattoo after a conversation he had with Miley Cyrus, who promised she would get him a guest spot on the show (Hannah Montana) if he got inked. He did, but she didn’t keep her side of the bargain. He never got the role. Yes, he regrets the tattoo.
All the Brothers Were Nominated for a Razzie, Except Daniel
In 2003, Alec was nominated for both an Oscar and a Razzie award. The Oscar nomination was for the film The Cooler; the Golden Raspberry (Razzie) nomination was for his part in The Cat in the Hat. But he’s not the only Baldwin to earn a Razzie nod. Stephen was nominated for one in 2001 for his role in The Flintstones Viva Rock Vegas.
And Billy was actually “honored” twice in the ‘90s. In 1993, he almost “won” for Worst Actor in the film Silver. Then in 1995, he nearly earned a Worst Screen Couple award for his role in Fair Game with Cindy Crawford. Daniel is the only Baldwin who never got a Razzie nod.
When Alec Met Kim
Alec met Kim Basinger in 1990 when they played on-screen lovers in the film The Marrying Man. Three years later, they were married. Two years later, their daughter Ireland was born. Five years after that, in 2000, Alec and Kim separated. Alec then faced a seven-year battle to remain a part of his daughter’s life. He wrote about it in his 2008 book A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce.
According to Alec, Basinger spent $1.5 million in the effort to deny him access to his daughter. He called this “parental alienation syndrome.” It’s safe to say that the two exes are not on good terms. In fact, while they were married, their relationship was already disastrous.
Moving on to Hilaria
After Basinger filed for divorce in 2001, her own father told People magazine that Alec’s “anger” is what caused his daughter to pull the plug on their marriage. After years of tabloid gossip, intense legal battles, and personal (almost suicidal) battles, Alec has picked up the pieces and found love again.
In 2011, Alec started dating Hilaria Thomas, a yoga instructor from Manhattan. He approached her at a restaurant, and, as Hilaria told Hello! Magazine, he kept looking over at her the whole time. Then, when he was about to leave the restaurant, he walked over to her, took her hand in his, and repeatedly asked her, “Who are you? Who are you?” Well, Hilaria was smitten. They fell in love almost instantly.
Alec Was Quite Frank
Having more kids was something Alec wanted from the beginning. Hilaria told Us Weekly that as soon as they started dating, he immediately asked her if she wanted to have children. Hilaria, who’s about 26 years younger than Alec, liked his frankness. But Alec, understandably, was jaded after a terrible divorce.
Hilaria said they spent the first six weeks of their relationship only holding hands. “He wouldn’t even kiss me!” Nevertheless, a year later, they were married, and they went right to work on expanding the family. The two have four children together: daughter Carmen, and sons Rafael, Leonardo Angel Charles, and Romeo Alejandro David. And when it comes to maintaining a happy marriage, Alec – jokingly – said the trick is to keep her “off-balance” so that she “doesn’t really think about what’s going on.”
Fatally Shooting a Crew Member With Prop Firearm
On October 21st, 2021, according to a spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm on the set of a Western he was filming in New Mexico, killing the film’s director of photography and wounding the movie’s director.
Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer, age 42, was killed, and the director, Joel Souza, 48, was injured on the set of “Rust,” which is being filmed in Santa Fe County. Juan Rios, a spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, said the shooting circumstances are under investigation.
Stephen’s Most Memorable Role?
If you ask me, Stephen’s most recognizable role in a film was in Bio-Dome, the 1996 comedy directed by Jason Bloom. It starred both Stephen Baldwin and Pauly Shore. It was one of those movies that might just be so bad that it’s good if you know what I mean. For those who liked the strange buddy comedy, you might be interested to know that they were thinking of doing a sequel.
In 2013, Stephen appeared on Mancow Muller’s radio show, saying he was in talks with Shore about making a sequel. It never ended up happening, though (surprise, surprise). Maybe it has to do with the fact that back in 1996, the film and Shore won a Razzie Award. In other words, don’t wait around for a sequel.
Or Was it The Usual Suspects?
Okay, so maybe Bio-Dome wasn’t the role you remember Stephen in. By far, the biggest role he’s ever had – and the one he should be most proud of – is his part as Michael McManus in The Usual Suspects in 1995. Baldwin was apparently tired of doing independent films – he said his expectations were consistently not being met.
When he met director Bryan Singer, Stephen went into a 15-minute tirade about what it was like to work with him. When he finally finished talking, Singer told him exactly what he expected from his role in the film, and what he wanted. Stephen was impressed, and clearly, so was Singer. And if anyone was impressed at the end of the day, it was the audience. That movie was fantastic.
Another Stephen Baldwin behind-the-scenes fact from this movie later on…
Stephen’s Unmentionable Past
Stephen learned the hard way that the money he made in Bio-Dome wouldn’t last forever. In 2009, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Stephen filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, reportedly claiming to owe over $2.3 million in debt. On top of that, he owned a $1.1 million New York home. Two mortgages on the property and $1 million in back taxes was a lot for the guy to handle.
In 2012, Stephen was arrested for failing to file tax returns from 2008 to 2010. The district attorney’s statement read: “When Rockland County and New York State face severe fiscal shortfalls, we cannot afford to allow wealthy residents to break the law by cheating on their taxes.” It continues: “The defendant’s repetitive failure to file returns and pay taxes over a period of several years contributes to the sweeping cutbacks and closures in local government and in our schools.” Ouch.
Living Life on the Edge
As a result, Stephen had to pay back both the state of New York and the IRS. The Blast reported that he moved out of his Nyack, New York home into a “small apartment in Queens.” But his legal woes didn’t end with taxes. His wheels also suffered. In 2014, he was busted for driving with a suspended license in NYC and holding an expired Texas car registration.
It wasn’t the first time, though. Stephen was arrested in 2012 for making an illegal U-turn. Stephen clearly lives life on the edge (also sarcasm). He was fined $75, which he added to his list of IOUs.
Daniel Got in Some Trouble of His Own
Like Stephen, Daniel is no stranger to breaking the law. According to E! News, in 1997, Daniel went on a narcotic-fueled hotel-room rampage in NYC. The room, and his reputation, suffered as a result. Daniel was arrested, hospitalized, and later pled guilty to disorderly conduct. He was sentenced to three months of rehab to avoid jail.
Daniel confessed to People that his addiction started at a party in 1989. Six months later, he found himself in rehab. But relapses were a part of his battle, of course. ABC News reported that by 2008, he had been to rehab nine times. This brings us to a reality show that you might have seen Daniel on…
Was He Kicked Off of Celebrity Rehab?
Daniel appeared on Celebrity Rehab in 2008, but not as an addict. Rather, he served as a kind of mentor to the other patients. The thing is, though, that he didn’t stay for too long. At that point, he was a married father of four, who was sending inappropriate messages to adult film star and fellow Celebrity Rehab patient Mary Carey.
According to Daniel, Carey made both him and his wife uncomfortable. So much so that it brought him to the point of needing to leave. But Carey accused Daniel of asking for photos of herself and repeatedly inquiring about her career as an adult film star, despite her clearly trying to distance herself from that previous chapter of her life.
His Love Life (Or Lack Thereof)
Daniel’s romantic life hasn’t been the smoothest. (But then again, who’s has?) He’s been married three times with five children by four different women. His first marriage was pretty quiet, but his second one became a bit of a scandal. He married actress Elizabeth Baldwin in 1990, divorced her in 1996, and that same year had a son with his Homicide: Life on the Street co-star Isabella Hofmann.
According to The Mirror, he and Hofmann were rumored to have been romantically involved for over a decade. His third marriage was to Joanne Smith, a chef whom he met in rehab in 2006. They married in 2007, had two children, and by 2011 they were divorced.
Justin Bieber Asked for Stephen’s Blessing
Justin Bieber proposed to Stephen’s daughter Hailey in 2018. Many people were surprised by the sudden announcement, but Stephen didn’t seem to have any reservations about the union. And it might be because Bieber asked him for his blessing in taking his daughter’s hand in marriage – something clearly old school and very much appreciated by the older generations.
Stephen was glad to give his blessing. When Bieber proposed to Hailey, she said she called her parents, telling them: “This is the time I need you to stop me from doing something crazy if you think this is a bad idea.” The 23-year-old said that it was what she wanted, but she needed to know what her parents thought first.
They Actually Go Way Back
Before his daughter and Bieber got engaged, Stephen was already acquainted with the young performer. In 2009, he went with then-13-year-old Hailey to the set of NBC’s Today show to see Bieber perform live. It was Hailey’s uncle, Alec, who gave her and his brother tickets, according to Vogue.
Both Stephen and Justin’s mother, Pattie Mallette, are born-again Christians, which is something they reportedly bonded over. Hailey, by the way, isn’t Stephen’s only daughter. Like Hailey, his other daughter Alaia is also a model. Alais is 26 now and generally stays out of the public eye, though she has accompanied her dad to some red carpet events.
Another Behind-the-Scenes Fact
Anyone who saw The Usual Suspects knows that one of the more memorable scenes from the film was the police line-up scene. Well, that scene ran into scheduling conflicts. Why? Because the actors kept screwing up their lines. Screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie would have to feed the actors questions off-camera that they would improvise to.
When Stephen Baldwin gave his answer, the other actors couldn’t help but break character. Actor Gabriel Byrne remembers they were often laughing between takes, and when they would yell out “Action!” they could barely keep it together. Kevin Spacey said that the hardest part was trying not to laugh, but Stephen and Kevin Pollak were the worst culprits.
One Last Fun Fact
One last thing about that scene: their goal was to get the typically serious Byrne to crack up and break character. They ended up spending all morning trying unsuccessfully to film that scene. At lunch, frustrated director Bryan Singer scolded the five actors. By the time they resumed, the cast had continued to laugh through each take.
Byrne eventually had to use one of the takes where they couldn’t stay serious, and editor John Ottman used a combination of the takes they made and kept the humor in – to show how the characters bonded with one another.
Another fun fact: In the scene when the crew meets Redfoot after a botched drug deal, he flicks his cigarette at McManus’ (Stephen’s) face. The actor playing Redfoot was supposed to flick the cigarette at Stephen’s chest, but he missed and hit his face by accident. That said, Stephen’s reaction is genuine.