From Child Star To Chill Life: The Macaulay Culkin Story


Macaulay Culkin has been beloved to the world since Home Alone. As an adult, he has done some truly strange things. Hear all about them in this list!

Michael Jackson Sleepovers

Macaulay was a guest at Michael Jackson’s infamous sleepovers. They had a special friendship – they were both child stars pushed by their parents to achieve great heights. Both wanted a place where they could be themselves, without paparazzi or fans interrupting their days, and Neverland Ranch provided that. The estate was stocked with endless varieties of sweets, a carnival and more. When MJ was in legal trouble, Macaulay publicly supported him, denying that anything peculiar had happened to him at the sleepovers.

michael jackson macaulay culkin

(God)father Of Michael Jackson’s Kids

Michael Jackson was longtime friends with Macaulay Culkin, ever since they got close after the success of Home Alone. Bestowing someone the honor of being a godparent is one of the utmost displays of trust, as you are giving them a say in the child’s upbringing. Macaulay was given this honor by being the godfather of the daughter of MJ and Debbie Rowe, Paris Jackson. Beyond that, there have been surprising, unproven allegations that Paris’ half-brother Blanket is actually the biological son of Macaulay.

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No Longer a Child Star

After a financially successful sequel to Home Alone, Hollywood decided to make it a trilogy. However, Macaulay was not interested in getting involved, so a totally new cast of characters (including a relatively unknown Scarlett Johansson) tried to fill his shoes. This void left fans wondering how Kevin McCallister turned out as an adult. In the 2015 web series :DRYVRS, we get a glimpse into the chain-smoking, nail-polished Kevin, still bitter and scarred from his experience that Christmas alone in the house.

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Married At 18, Separated at 20

Macaulay achieved financial stability quickly. He candidly remarked that he’d, “made enough money by the time [he] was 12 to never have to work again.” He also found a life partner quickly, announcing his intention to marry actress Rachel Miner at the ripe age of 17. She and Culkin watched movies constantly, but also spent a sizable time taking care of stray cats. Friends remarked that their home was like Noah’s Ark. Unfortunately, this marriage was short-lived: the couple separated in 2000 and finalized their divorce in 2002.

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Mila Kunis Never Wanted Marriage

Although Macaulay and Mila Kunis dated for eight years, they never tied the knot. Macaulay had just exited a marriage, and he perhaps was weary of saying his vows again. Mila revealed though, that there was not a specific problem against marrying Macaulay, she was against marriage since she was 16. Her view morphed into only marrying when gay people got a chance to marry. Despite her opinion, she did end up wedded to Ashton Kutcher, hinting that perhaps she and Mack had deeper issues preventing marriage.

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Among Highest Paid Child Actors

Starring alongside comedy legend John Candy in Uncle Buck earned the eight-year-old $40,000, which was definitely a pretty penny for his family who lived modestly at the time. Christmas 1990 changed everything, as Home Alone made $476 million worldwide; the sequel also made $359 million. These successes gave Macaulay such high value as an actor that he was paid a whopping $8 million for his part in the 1994 film Richie Rich. Not bad for a middle schooler!


Hosted SNL At Age 11

After a lifetime of work, comedians sometimes get the honor of hosting the comedy touchstone program Saturday Night Live. Macaulay skipped the line, due to his prolific work ethic and precocious acting ability, and hosted the show at age 11! This remarkable record is only eclipsed by Drew Barrymore, who hosted SNL at age 7, following her newfound fame as Gertie in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. It’s even more amazing when you consider that they were up way past their bedtimes.

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He Never Knew How Much He Was Making

When you look at lottery winners, you can see that having millions in the bank can be a blessing and a curse. Many end up blowing all the cash on flashy, impractical expenses, and get very big-headed about their wealth, but end up broke again soon enough. Perhaps to protect Macaulay from this experience, his father would hide newspapers from him, to make sure he was in the dark about his salary. His parents didn’t want an enfant terrible situation where Mack would brag about his millions.


Grew Up Very Poor

Kit Culkin and Patricia Brentrup lived quite modest lives before all Macaulay’s breakout roles. Kit worked at a Catholic church as a sacristan, setting up mass; one perk was that his kids could go to the attached parish school for a discounted price. Patricia was a telephone operator. All seven kids lived in one room, on bunk beds. Macaulay would apparently, “crawl under the bleachers at the theater to look for change that had fallen out of people’s pockets.” The Culkins definitely deserved the riches of Hollywood.

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Dad Was Intense Manager

Although Kit Culkin had some success as an actor, he never achieved the heights that his son Macaulay did. Kit managed Macaulay’s career, gaining a reputation as a difficult ‘stage mom’, with movie executives generally dreading dealing with the “800lb gorilla of the movie business.” As a manager, Kit would negotiate with movie executives for vast sums of money for the sequel to Home Alone, which he got. According to Macaulay’s lawyer, dealing with Kit was difficult because deals often, “Because it wasn’t about money. It was about power.”


His Band Was Viciously Booed Off Stage

In 2013, Macaulay and his musician friends officially formed a band, The Pizza Underground, meant to parody The Velvet Underground by replacing the original lyrics with pizza-themed ones. The Pizza Underground also features a pizza box percussionist, who extracted music from mere cardboard. Unfortunately, not everyone has such an absurdist view of music and life; the band was showered with beer and booed off stage during the Dot to Dot Festival in Nottingham, despite the fact that they would give out free pizza at their shows.

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Loves Tongue Twisters

Actors sometimes warm up their voices by reciting tongue twisters, so make sure that they can get through their lines smoothly. This is probably how Mack became enamored with them. Although Macaulay called it a phase, he is passionate enough about tongue twisters that he wrote some of his own. After wondering how many ‘H’ words he could get in a sentence, he came up with a lyrical twister that began, “Heidi was her name, hiding was her game when Heidi hid horses halted….”

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Dada Mack

As an artist, Macaulay has been focused on quality over quantity. He said on CNN that he’d rather not do many projects in a year, but would rather do, “one cool small project a year that [he’s] really, really proud of.” Larry King points out he has this freedom due to his lack of economic pressure, as he made enough money for a lifetime when he was prepubescent. One especially strange film is The Wrong Ferarri, which was filmed completely on an iPhone camera.

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Appeared In MJ Music Video

Along with the big screen, Macaulay enjoys flexing his stage-acting muscles. He does, after all, have classical training in ballet from the School of American Ballet. Following a show where he played Fritz in Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker at the famed Lincoln Center, the King of Pop Michael Jackson visited him backstage to introduce himself. The pair became closer friends after Home Alone, to the point where Macaulay appeared as an irreverent tween in Michael’s music video for “Black or White” in 1991.

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Has Two Unequally Sized Eyes

Macaulay can barely remember a time not being famous, save for a couple wispy memories of he and his mother in a park. One of the strange things about this level of fame is that your “home movies” are publicly-viewed Hollywood movies, and your childhood photos are on billboards. This unusual level of dissemination has led to an intense self-awareness made Mack realize that he has two unequally-sized eyes. Unlike what people say, you don’t have to look perfect to make millions in Hollywood!

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Pizza Video

In 66 Scenes from America, director Jørgen Leth explores a cross section of images from culture in the United States. One of the most famous scenes is of the chief figure in the pop art movement, Andy Warhol, eating a hamburger with ketchup. Macaulay parodies this scene on a video that, as of this moment, has 3.68 million views. The one chief difference is that he is eating pizza, which seems to be a promotional stunt for his pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band, the Pizza Underground.


Seduced On West End Stage

Stage acting was a great outlet for Macaulay, who wanted to maintain and develop his acting chops as a 20-year-old. London’s celebrated West End was a great option for Macaulay – not to mention that he could legally drink in England. He played the role of the awkward 15-year-old student, seduced by his French teacher, the eponymous character Madame Melville. Tabloids love to trash former child stars, but critics had to admit that Culkin’s performance on stage was excellent.

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Kids’ Unflattering Nickname For Dad

During the 1995 custody battle between Culkin’s parents, Kit Culkin and Patricia Brentrup, Macaulay and his siblings had an unflattering nickname: ‘stinky’. This is unsurprising given the allegation that Kit forced Mack to sleep on a couch instead of a bed, just because he could, just to show him who’s boss. Jeanette Krylowski, Kit’s current partner, defends him in another version of the story. She alleges that the couch was the only available option, as furniture was being delivered to Kit’s new apartment.

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Macaulay Has Agoraphobia

In a candid interview with Larry King, Macaulay admits to being agoraphobic, albeit self-diagnosed. Perhaps he fears the endless pestering from paparazzi and fans. It’s understandable that he prefers to stay indoors and watch television, as a crowd of fans once mobbed his trailer during location shooting and shook it while he was inside. To get him out and about, Macaulay got a pooch, and the dog’s gotta walk. So three times a day, Macaulay has to go outside- around the block at the very least.

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The Stool

Macaulay, like all other kids, attended high school, but it was nothing like other kids’ experiences, as this was a school where a vast majority of the students were child actors or dancers. He had a group of twenty friends who would hang out daily in the family high-rise, scribbling graffiti on the walls of his room. Eventually, he got an extreme case of senioritis, where he would refuse to sit in the chairs provided by the school, instead sitting on a stool that he moved between classrooms.

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Ex-wife Rachel Miner Thought He Was A Jerk

It happens sometimes that the person you end up with wasn’t the nicest in the beginning. When Macaulay’s future wife Rachel Miner moved schools to meet the already iconic 14-year-old, she introduced herself by name. Macaulay apparently nonchalantly welcomed her to the school but never reciprocated with his own name. Miner got the impression he was a jerk, and although they ended up dating, they broke up and got back together 3 times before finally marrying on the fourth try.

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Secret Wedding Location

Macaulay has been dealing with paparazzi snapping photos of him as long as he can remember. The media would have mobbed and probably ruined the small wedding he and Rachel Miner planned, so he had to inform guests of the location using a bizarre scavenger hunt to find the ceremony, rather than the traditional paper invitations. First the guests were directed to a hotel, where they learned of the coordinates of the Connecticut home where the picnic-like, casual ceremony was being held.

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Mom Caused Deadly Apartment Fire

During the chilly days before Christmas in 1998, Patricia Brentrup, Macaulay’s mother, turned on a wall mounted heater in their apartment. Unfortunately, this innocent attempt to get some warmth led to a short circuit and a fire. Four people died due to smoke inhalation and twenty-two were injured. There were many lawsuits that followed, even against Macaulay, who was not even present at the time in the apartment (which ultimately got the suit dismissed). Macaulay did help by having the family over at his place that Christmas.


RIP Macaulay

Death hoaxes spread like wildfire on the internet, with concocted stories about the passing of Bill Murray, Jerry Springer and Bill Nye among many others shared countless times. Macaulay was also rumored to have died in 2014, and responded in the most epic way; he posted a photo on Twitter of him, eyes closed, playing dead, re-enacting a scene from Weekend At Bernies. At the time of the hoax, he was on tour with his band, and opened their Austin show by yelling, “I’m alive!”

death hoax weekend at bernies macaulay

First Kiss On Screen

In the coming-of-age film My Girl, Macaulay plays an infirm boy, who is best friends with character of the film, played by co-star Anna Chlumsky. Macaulay has his first kiss with her on screen, in the foreground of a river. Well, more accurately, he had his first fifteen kisses on screen, as it look that many takes to get the shot that finally made it into the film. The take must have been a good one, as Macaulay won the MTV Movie Award for best kiss.

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Relationship With Jordan Lane Price

After his eight-year relationship with Mila Kunis ended in 2011, nobody was too sure about who Macaulay was dating. In 2013, however, he was seen in Paris with a new sweetheart: Jordan Lane Price, who stars in the online reboot of All My Children. He spent time with her in restaurants, with no holds on public displays of affection. The couple even was spotted dancing in the street. An eyewitness said that Jordan resembles Mila Kunis. Is he really over her? Only time will tell.

Actor Macaulay Culkin and actress Jordan Lane Price in Paris

Rumor He Dated An Adult Film Actress

Recently separated from his wife, we all anxiously waited to see who Macaulay might link up with. He was apparently spotted in London walking by the Thames and dining with model Agatha Relota. Mack denies it, saying he wanted to take it slow. Another rumor surfaced in 2011 that Macaulay dated adult film actress Irene Lopez after they were photographed together outside a Barcelona hangout. Mack again denied these claims outright, saying it was just a picture with a fan.


Brother Was Also In Home Alone

Macaulay’s father was a Broadway actor, and his aunt Bonnie Bedelia is an actress with brand name credits like Die Hard and Parenthood. Kit had plans to make his kids into thespians as well. Along with Macaulay, his brothers Kieran and Rory are both actors. Kieran was also in Home Alone, playing Kevin’s younger, bespectacled cousin Fuller. Kieran was also in some notable films, like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Igby Goes Down. Rory starred in the hit movie Signs.

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Godfather Matches Goddaughter

Family relations have been at times strained in the Culkin family, but Macaulay has overcome these issues and has become a loving individual towards his godchildren, especially to his goddaughter, 19-year-old Paris Jackson, daughter of the King of Pop. She posted a fun photo of her giving him a pedicure, resulting in dark red polish on his toenails. They also recently got matching tattoos – a red spoon they both have adorned on their arms. One speculative interpretation is that spoons represent overcoming struggle.

Turned His Apartment Into Studio

Macaulay is multi-talented: along with being a child actor, he is also a painter. In 2012, he formed an art collective called “Three Men and a Baby” also known as “3MB” with his pals Toby Goodshank and Adam Green. They cleared out his apartment and set up a paint studio. A barefoot, paint splattered Mack showed off the studio in a video to promote their exhibition “Leisure Inferno”. The trio was influenced by images from Korn, Wheel of Fortune, and Seinfeld among others.


Macaulay The Writer

Mack is truly overflowing with creativity; he had his first book “Junior” published in 2006. He dissociates himself from the book and writing and says, “I am not a writer. I am a fraud, and you can quote me on that.” He is hard on himself – the book is unique and creative, with seven distinct endings. The book explores the rocky relationship with his father but is not a straight memoir, including also sketches, poems and short stories. Reviews were polarized; pick up a copy and see where you stand!


60 Cigarettes A Day

Smoking cigarettes is a habit so dangerous, even being around smokers can increase your risk of lung disease. Macaulay chose to ignore the warning labels and doctors, and go to the complete opposite extreme: he allegedly would smoke a whopping 60 cigarettes per day! This is an alarming rate, and friends voiced their concerns that his teeth were yellowing, and his health was in decline. It’s possible he had influence from Libertines frontman Pete Doherty, with whom he was living at the time.

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Father Accused Of Punching Pregnant Wife…Twice!

In 1995, an acrimonious and highly publicized custody battle played out between Macaulay’s parents. Kit, the patriarch of the family, was painted as an abuser, who allegedly punched his wife during two separate pregnancies, as well as allegedly threatened to throw her off a balcony. No matter what the truth of the matter is, Kit ended up on the losing side, absconding city life for a modest, rural existence. Macaulay celebrated Kit’s departure, as he and his siblings finally felt they could be their jovial selves again.

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Two Of His Sisters Died At 29

We have seen troubled child stars pass away at an early age, but we rarely expect tragedy from their out-of-the-spotlight siblings. Unfortunately, the Culkin family has seen a few: first Macaulay’s half-sister died at age 29 resulting from an overdose of substances. Then, his older sister Dakota died also at age 29 after being struck by a vehicle in west Los Angeles. The driver was not under the influence, so no criminal charges were brought. The family called it an, “terrible tragic accident.”

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Gaunt From Addiction?

The public worried dearly for Macaulay after he appeared gaunt and paler than he already was. There was a suspicion that his health was in decline after developing a severe substance abuse habit. In London, he was even mistaken for a homeless person trying to bum a smoke off some students at a bar. Mack was also seen vomiting in the streets, looking scraggly. He has categorically denied that he had any addiction issues and accused the tabloids of conjuring stories for profit.

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Cleaned Up And Working

Macaulay has certainly been through ups and downs, but there seems to be light coming over the horizon. He was spotted looking as healthy as he’s ever been, dressed like a clean-cut hipster, with a jean jacket and thick rimmed glasses. This was on the same night as a dinner date with fellow former child star Brenda Song, with whom he is starring in an upcoming film, Changeland. The film is Seth Green’s debut as a director and is about a trip to Thailand.


Macaulay Shunned Dad On Deathbed

Following a bitter custody battle, Macaulay’s Father Christopher ‘Kit’ Culkin has had little contact with the rest of the family. Kit suffered a massive stroke in January 2014, which was serious enough that death seemed close. Nobody from the family reached out to Kit in this dire time, so he declared that he doesn’t “consider [Macaulay] a son anymore.”


Joe Pesci Permanently Scarred Him

Joe Pesci took playing one-half of the iconic “wet bandits” crime duo very seriously. Goodfellas debuted in the same year as Home Alone, so Joe Pesci was already in the violent mindset of a R-rated, wise-guy gangster. The famed actor took it too far in an iconic scene where his character Harry finally corners the cheeky Kevin McCallister, and threatens to bite his fingers off. Joe Pesci was true to his word, and Macaulay still has a scar to show for it today!

home alone finger scene joe pesci

Lives In Paris To Escape Paparazzi

In many pictures of Macaulay snapped by the ever-present paparazzi, you can see that he is trying his best to cover his face by brushing his hair. This is a technique widely known by the rich and famous to ensure that paparazzi do not get the picture they need to get paid, which dissuades pesky cameramen from annoying celebrities with their blinding flashbulbs. Culkin took a more extreme, but permanent approach by moving to Paris, where the media is less in a frenzy about him.

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Arrested In 2004

Macaulay was a passenger in a Pontiac speeding down the Interstate 44 when a squad car noticed them driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, and changing lanes without signaling. They were about to receive a verbal warning, but the nervousness of Macaulay’s companion tipped the cops off and the officer began to ask about what they had in the car. During a search of the vehicle, illicit controlled substances were found, and Macaulay was arrested and jailed, before being released on $4,000 bond.

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