The real reason Macaulay Culkin quit acting at 15

The Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin had a rough time a few years ago but now he has built a beautiful family with his fiancée, actress Brenda Song.

Struggling with family issues and the attention of a scrutinizing public, Culkin temporarily retired from acting at only 15 for some time home and alone.

Returning to high school during his break, Macaulay said it was the smartest thing he did.

“I did like 14 movies in six years or something like that. I was away from home a lot. I was away from school. I needed something else,” Macaulay said in the 2018 interview with Ellen DeGeneres.
It’s safe to say that Macaulay Culkin is one of the most celebrated child stars of all time and was propelled into fame as the fantastic Kevin Macallister in the Home Alone franchise.

Growing up as the third of seven children, Culkin’s generational-talented family was packed into a one-bedroom Manhattan apartment and Macaulay was never actually at home alone.

Touted as one of the most famous child actors of the 1990’s, Macaulay is widely known as the cute little boy in Home Alone, who was accidentally abandoned by his family over Christmas and left battling burglars to save his home.

And when you think of Macaulay Culkin, you immediately think of the mischievous blond boy and his epic palms to the cheeks scream, that’s been copied by people since the Christmas comedy Home Alone first aired in 1990.
The movie launched Macaulay, who was only 10 years old at the time, into super stardom. Appearing alongside comedy kings Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci, who play Harry and Marv as the “Wet Bandits,” he starred as Kevin McCallister, who was forgotten by his parents–played by Catherine O’Hara and John Heard–while hustling and herding his siblings to make their flight to Paris.

After more than 90 minutes of hilarious hijinks, he is finally reunited with his family.

Macaulay’s broad portfolio of performances includes Uncle Buck with John Candy in (1989), Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), My Girl with Anna Chlumsky (1991), The Good Son (1993), and Richie Rich (1994).

Macaulay is also linked with popstar Michael Jackson and testified in support of him during the singer’s 2005 molestation trials.
The actor was married to actress Rachel Miner (1998- 2002) and had a long-term relationship with That ‘70s Show star Mila Kunis (2002-2008).

After starring in Richie Rich, Macaulay took a break from acting for almost nine years and around that time, he emancipated himself from his parents, removing them as his legal guardians.

Divorcing parents isn’t that uncommon in Hollywood.

Macaulay joined other child actors, like Drew Barrymore (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial), Michelle Williams (Dawson’s Creek) and Alicia Silverstone (Clueless), who according to People, divorced their parents to work around child labor laws that restricted their acting careers. Others, like Jena Malone (Stepmom) and Ariel Winter (Modern Family) severed ties between their finances and family due to mismanagement or abuse.

In 2020, Macaulay told Esquire that he didn’t divorce his parents, instead he removed their names from his trust fund.

“It’s always misconstrued, that I ‘emancipated’ myself from my parents. The story was that I divorced my parents. I just thought I was doing it cleanly–taking my father’s name off, taking my mom’s name off, so my opinion is unbiased. And when I did that, the whole thing kinda ended a lot faster.”

According to reports, the separation was also due to his stage actor father, Kit Culkin–dubbed in Hollywood as “the stage father from Hell”–who was physically and emotionally abusive.

In 2018, Macaulay explained in Marc Maron’s WTF podcast in 2018: “My father was jealous of me. He was a bad man. He was abusive. Everything he tried to do in life, I excelled at before I was 10 years old.”

“Our 1994 divorce was one of the best things that’s ever happened, as it led to me leaving the industry,” Macaulay said on the podcast that was shared in the Mirror. “I wanted to take a break for a while and eventually I was like, ‘I’m done guys, hope you all made your money because there is no more coming from me.’”

It wasn’t just Macaulay’s relationship with his parents that motivated his decision to leave acting.

His brother Kieran, also a child actor known for Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and for his appearance in Father of the Bride with Chevy Chase, further explained his big brother’s decision to leave acting.
“He would get harassed on the street. One time, a woman pulled off his hat and looked at him and said, ‘Yeah, it’s him! You’re not that cute.’ And then handed the hat back and walked away,” Kieran told The Hollywood Reporter in 2021.

Macaulay had his fair share of challenges. In 2000, his half-sister Jennifer Adamson died of a drug overdose and in 2004, Macaulay was arrested for possession of marijuana and two controlled substances. Then, in 2008, Macaulay’s 29-year-old sister Dakota, or “Cody” as she was called by the siblings, was struck and killed by a car in Los Angeles. Dakota and Macaulay were very close.

His first-born child is named Dakota, in honor of his sister.

In 2019, Macaulay met actor Brenda Song, his now wife, on the set of Changeland, a comedy-drama directed by Seth Green. The couple have two kids, Dakota (born in April 2021) and her baby brother, born in early 2023.

In 2021, he was cast in the horror anthology TV series, American Horror Story: Double Feature.

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