Lily Allen: ‘Nepo babies’ like me are scapegoats and deserve sympathy
Lily Allen has said that “nepo babies” - celebrity offspring who enjoy careers in the public eye - deserve sympathy because they were starved of love by their narcissistic parents.
The singer and actress conceded that the children of famous parents can benefit from nepotism and a privileged upbringing.
But she said: “In childhood we crave stability and love, nurturing. We don’t care about money or proximity to power yet.
“Many of the nepo babies are starved of these basic things in childhood as their parents are probably narcissistic.
“[The] entertainment business is not parent-friendly, eg touring/months away shooting. It can be hard to see one’s own privilege when you’re still processing childhood trauma, and a lot of these kids haven’t figured that out yet.”
She added: “I do feel that nepo babies are being somewhat scapegoated here. There is a wider, societal conversation to be had about wealth inequality… I promise you I’m not rooting for an industry full of people that had childhoods that looked like mine.
“I just really think that we can’t get to a real solution without identifying the real problem, as fun as it is to laugh at the kids of famous people. Nepo babies have feelings.”
Look, I seem to have riled people up with my comments about nepo babies. I am nearly 40 years of age and am more than happy, in fact I think it’s important to disclose what a privileged upbringing I’ve had and how that has created so many opportunities for me,
— Lily A (@lilyallen) December 20, 2022
Allen is the daughter of Keith Allen, the actor, and Amanda Owen, the film producer. One of her first jobs as a teenager was playing a lady-in-waiting in Elizabeth, the Cate Blanchett film which Owen was producing.
In a series of posts on social media, Allen, 37, described herself as a “nepo baby” but did not criticise her own parents, instead describing them as “super talented”.
She said: “I am nearly 40 years of age and am more than happy, in fact, I think it’s important to disclose what a privileged upbringing I’ve had and how that has created so many opportunities for me.
“I mention my age because I haven’t always been able to have that conversation. In my twenties I felt very defensive about it, I felt like I worked extremely hard and that I deserved the success I had, that people connected to my songs and that the songs came from me.
“I also had quite a fraught relationship with some of my family members so it felt difficult for me to attribute my successes to them, at the time. But we all know it’s more complicated than that.”
Celebrities who have been labelled as “nepo babies” include Brooklyn Beckham, who is currently trying to launch a career as a chef, and Lily-Rose Depp, the daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis.
Depp, a model, suggested that the label was misogynistic because it is more usually applied to women.
“I just hear it a lot more about women, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence,” she told Elle magazine.
“It’s weird to me to reduce somebody to the idea that they’re only there because it’s a generational thing. It just doesn’t make any sense.
“If somebody’s mum or dad is a doctor, and then the kid becomes a doctor, you’re not going to be like, ‘Well, you’re only a doctor because your parent is a doctor.’ It’s like, ‘No, I went to medical school and trained’.”
Depp conceded that her privileged childhood “didn’t look like everybody’s childhood” but said: “It’s also the only thing that I know. The internet seems to care a lot about that kind of stuff. People are going to have preconceived ideas about you.”