Celebrities You Never Knew Were Cousins

Some lucky stars don't have to deal with being the only celebrity at their family reunion

01 of 12

Cory Booker and RuPaul

Two photos side-by-side of Cory Booker and RuPaul
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty; Slaven Vlasic/Getty

The New Jersey senator and famed TV personality discovered they are distant cousins on different episodes of the PBS series Finding Your Roots. They brought the news to a bigger audience in April 2021 when Booker appeared on RuPaul's Drag Race. "Thank God for you, thank God for America, and thank God for my cousin RuPaul," Booker said during his cameo.

02 of 12

Jenny McCarthy and Melissa McCarthy

A photo of Jenny McCarthy next to a photo fo Melissa McCarthy
Santiago Felipe/Getty Images; Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images

You couldn't ask for a better cousin than Jenny. In the '90s, The Masked Singer judge — who is married to Blue Bloods star Donnie Wahlberg —helped her older cousin, Melissa, land her first TV role as a guest star on Jenny's MTV's sketch series, The Jenny McCarthy Show.

Now that both McCarthy ladies have cemented their places in Hollywood, she's spoken out against criticism of Melissa on multiple occasions.

03 of 12

Tom Cruise and William Mapother

A photo of Tom Cruise next to a photo of William Mapother
Leon Bennett/Getty Images; Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Once you know Cruise's real name is Thomas Mapother, the resemblance between the A-lister and his character-actor cousin becomes much more apparent. (Look at their chins!)

Mapother has acted in five films with Cruise — Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Magnolia (1999), Vanilla Sky (2001), Minority Report (2002) and Mission: Impossible II (2006) — but to us, he'll always be Ethan, the duplicitous member of the Others from Lost.

04 of 12

Brandy and Snoop Dogg

Brandi and Snoop Dog stand together smiling at a celebrity basketball gym.
M. Caulfield/WireImage

This is one of those facts that you feel a lot more people should know than they do. We're talking about two of the most famous musicians to come out of the '90s!

Although perhaps that would have made it weird for them to collaborate on a love song, as Brandy did on Snoop's 2009 song "Special."

05 of 12

Kyra Sedgwick and Edie Sedgwick

Two photos side-by-side of Kyra Sedgwick and Edie Sedgwick.
Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images; Herve GLOAGUEN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

If someone asks you to explain the concept of first cousins once removed, just tell them, "It's like Kyra and Edie!" (Edie's father was the younger brother of Kyra's grandfather.)

06 of 12

Glenn Close and Brooke Shields

A photo of Glenn Close and Brook Shields standing together (both wearing red) during a fundraiser.
Scott Wintrow/Getty Images

Likewise, next time someone asks you how to explain the concept of second cousins once removed to them, just tell them, "It's like Shields and Close!" (Shields's great-grandmother was the sister of Close's grandfather.)

The difference? You have probably met most of your first cousins once removed, at least once or twice (unless your parents hated their cousins). You probably haven't met many of your second cousins once removed.

07 of 12

Damon Dash and Stacey Dash

Damon Dash with his cousin Stacey Dash at a party.

We'd always sort of assumed "Damon Dash" was not the name the former Roc-A-Fella Records honcho was born with. But it is!

When you realize that "your whole perspective is wack," it makes more sense that he and Clueless actress Stacey are cousins.

08 of 12

Sofia Coppola, Nicolas Cage and Jason Schwartzman

Photos of Sofia Coppola, Nicolas Cage and Jason Schwartzman (all cousins) from 2000.
Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images; Gisela Schober/Getty Images; Rich Fury/Getty Images

Composer Carmine Coppola unwittingly spawned a Hollywood dynasty: His son Francis became the famed director of The Godfather (1972) and Apocalypse Now (1979). At the same time, his daughter Talia Shire starred as Adrian in the Rocky movies.

Decades later, the second generation of Coppola cousins has gotten mixed up in the family business: Frances's daughter Sofia and Shire's son Schwartzman have each followed in their parent's footsteps, while their cousin Cage (son of the comparatively unknown August Coppola) took a new name from one of his favorite superheroes and became the Internet's One True God.

Other Coppola cousins in the entertainment industry include Sofia's older brother Roman, who co-wrote The Darjeeling Limited (2007) and Moonrise Kingdom (2012), and Schwartzman's younger brother Robert, lead singer of the band Rooney.

09 of 12

K-Ci & JoJo and Fantasia Barrino

Photos of Cedric "K-Ci" and Joel "JoJo" Hailey together next to a photo fo American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino.
Jun Sato/WireImage; Kevin Winter/Getty Images

All their lives, brothers Cedric "K-Ci" and Joel "JoJo" Hailey have been cousins with American Idol winner Barrino.

The trio hasn't officially recorded together, but K-Ci did show up at Barrino's concert to duet on "Nobody Greater" with his younger cousin.

10 of 12

Melissa Gorga and Ralph Macchio

Photos of cousins' Melissa Gorga and Ralph Macchio.
Aude Guerrucci/Getty Images; Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Cousins often enjoy different levels of success at different points in their lives, but the comparison is striking in the case of these two relatives.

Gorga was just a child when her cousin Macchio shot to fame in 1984's The Karate Kid — years later, he was working as a guest actor on shows like Psych and How I Met Your Mother when an all-grown-up Gorga became a cast member on The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

11 of 12

Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus

Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus at the 2007 CMT Music Awards.
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Though they're only second cousins, LeVox and DeMarcus probably hang out more than most of the relatives on this list. They have to — they're two of the three members of the country group Rascal Flatts!

12 of 12

Gwyneth Paltrow and Katherine Moennig

A photo of Gwyneth Paltrow and a photo of Katherine Moennig.
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Even before she came to fame on The L Word, actress Moennig was haunted by questions about her blonder, goopier cousin.

For a 2000 New York Observer profile, when asked about Paltrow, "a wary look crossed Ms. Moennig's eyes, and her facial muscles seemed to freeze up."

Later, she revealed gratitude for their lack of resemblance: "We're totally different people. We look very different, too. No one's judging me solely on the fact that I am her cousin."

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