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Kieran Culkin's tragic family history: Everything we know

The Succession star is one of eight children, including Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin

kieran culkin
Eve Crosbie
Eve CrosbieTV & Film Writer
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Kieran Culkin has been gracing screens for more than 30 years. 

The 40-year-old made his debut alongside his famous brother Macaulay Culkin in the 1990s holiday classic Home Alone and managed to successfully make the jump from child star to fully-fledged actor throughout the noughties. 

The star is now a TV regular, appearing in the likes of Fargo, Frasier and – of course – Succession

WATCH: Kieran starring in Succession series 4

However, in stark comparison to his successful story, the A-lister has opened up in the past about how he and his siblings faced huge difficulties during their childhood. 

Join HELLO! as we look into everything Kieran has said about his tragic family history. 

How many children does the Culkin family have?

A young Macaulay and Kieran in tuxedos on a red carpet© Getty Images
Kieran and his older brother Macaulay in 1991

Kieran is one of eight children. He and his seven siblings Shane, Dakota, Macaulay, Quinn, Christian, Rory and his half-sister Jennifer were all raised as performers from an early age. 

MORE: See the real-life families of the cast of Succession

The children were encouraged to perform by their father, Christopher' Kit' Culkin, who was – along with his sister Bonnie Bedelia – also an actor.

Why is Kieran Culkin estranged from his family?

In his 2007 memoir, Kieran's famous brother Macauley claimed that their father was "physically and mentally abusive" toward him and caused him to emancipate himself from his parents. 

While Kieran insists that he did not have the same "crazy, negative, awful, traumatic experiences as a child actor" as Macaulay, he did tell The Hollywood Reporter that his father "wasn't a good person and, yeah, probably not a good parent" in 2021.

Kieran and Macaulay Culkin smiling on a red carpet© Getty Images
Kieran and his brother in 2001

He added: "I never looked at him as Dad. He didn't really belong here, and when he was finally gone for good, it made the most sense." At one point, when he was really young, Kit even disappeared for three weeks, leaving Kieran's mother, Patricia Brentrup, alone to look after the large family. The couple would eventually split in 1995 when Kieran was 13 years old.

What happened to Kieran and Macaulay Culkin's family?

The Culkin family was struck by tragedy in 2008 when Kieran's' sister Dakota, who the family referred to as Cody, sadly died at the age of 29 after being involved in a car accident.

Kieran Culkin sat on a talk show looking to the right© Getty Images
Kieran in March 2023

"That's the worst thing that's ever happened, and there's no sugar-coating that one," Kieran said in the same Hollywood Reporter interview, adding: "It's always going to be devastating. I still weep about it out of nowhere. Something funny she did will pop in the head and make me laugh, and then I'm weeping.

"Sometimes it's knowing that she's not going to meet my kids and they don't get to have her, and it's hard to describe what she was like."

Kieran's half-sister Jennifer Adamson also died in 2000, when she was aged 29.

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