Fathers are trusted to be their children’s protector and providers. If they're too busy playing the field, boozing and getting into trouble with the law, who can their children trust? For dads who make a living in the spotlight, errant behaviour can be magnified and, indeed, exacerbated.
Some celebrity fathers were famous before they became parents, and some of these fathers unfortunately let the temptations of fame and fortune get in the way of their familial responsibility. Others rode the coattails of their children’s success by managing their careers; the contentious issues arising from mixing the business and the personal have resulted in distrust, estranged relationships and even legal troubles. It seems that being rich and famous, or being the father of a talented child, doesn't always go hand in hand with responsibility and judiciousness. As Keanu Reeve's character in the 1989 film “Parenthood” said about fatherhood, “You need a license to buy a dog, or drive a car. Hell, you need a license to catch a fish! But they'll let any asshole be a father.”
From substance abuse to leveraging their children’s careers in order to milk (or steal) money from them, there are some fathers that may not deserve a tie or a toolbox for Fathers’ Day, but might actually be in need of bail money. The following are 10 of the very worst celebrity dads who certainly haven't managed to make their kiddies proud. Father’s Day may come and go, but bad fathers stick around for a very long time and continue to bring their children grief (unless they decide to bolt and cut off all ties with their families).
8 Mathew Knowles
When a father manages his child’s career, the arrangement often ends in disaster. Mathew Knowles managed his daughter Beyoncé’s career for 14 years before she fired him in 2011. According to court documents obtained by the Houston (Texas) Chronicle, Beyoncé suspected her father was stealing from her. Reportedly, Beyoncé hired a law firm to audit her father. In the end, Beyoncé and Knowles said there's no bad blood between them, although neither she nor her sister Solange attended their father’s 2013 wedding to Gena Charmaine. In addition to his professional troubles with Beyoncé, Knowles fathered a child with actress Alexsandra Wright while married to Beyoncé’s mother Tina.
7 Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen's hard-partying ways peaked in 2011, when he had a widely publicized emotional breakdown that got him sacked from the hit CBS show "Two and a Half Men". His substance abuse and alleged domestic violence resulted in his divorce from Brooke Mueller in 2011 and seeking custody of their twin sons. If that wasn't enough, Sheen tweeted a rant to Brooke and the Department of Children and Family Services about the custody case in 2012.
Charlie also has two daughters with ex-wife Denise Richards (who divorced him after allegations of domestic violence too) and an older daughter with his highschool girlfriend.
Perhaps the worst part of Charlie's public breakdown in 2011 was his choice to move in with an adult entertainment star and a designer and model - whom he titled his 'goddesses' - in a polyamorous set up, to which he regularly exposed his children. The latest news on this universally acknowledged trainwreck is that he's engaged (this is at least his 5th known engagement) to another adult entertainment actress, Brett Rossi - although she's still married to someone else.
6 Woody Allen
Filmmaker Woody Allen was in a 12-year relationship with actress Mia Farrow before she discovered nude photographs of her 21-year old adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn taken in Allen’s New York City apartment. A custody battle ensued over the couple’s other children that included biological son Satchel (who is now known as Ronan). In February 2014, Allen’s adopted daughter Dylan Farrow published a New York Times article alleging the “Annie Hall” director molested her when she was seven years old. However, we can't hold those latter allegations against him as they are unconfirmed and Allen has never been charged.
Allen married his adopted daughter Previn in 1997 and the pair in turn adopted two children. In spite of the media blowup, Allen never saw any issue with hooking up with his stepdaughter, telling Reuters that “there was no scandal.”
5 Joe Jackson
Jackson family patriarch Joe crafted his children's successful careers, including those of pop music icons Michael and Janet. Yet Michael and some of his siblings accused Joe of taking drastic steps to professionally discipline them that involved physical and mental abuse, and Joe’s refusal to let his children call him Dad. Before Michael’s death in 2009, he completely shut his father out of his will. That didn't stop Joe from attempting to lay claim on his late son’s estate to fund his monthly $20,000 living expenses. To really add insult to injury, this celebrity dad used press conference time four days after Michael’s death to promote his startup music company.
4 Michael Lohan
Always in the spotlight commenting on his troubled daughter Lindsay's "personal" and professional lives, Lohan excuses his actions as a way for him to reach out to his estranged daughter. In addition to blaming everyone in Lindsay's life for her problems, the celebrity dad had public feuds with Lindsay's mother Dina. Over the years, Lohan has served jail time on different occasions for separate charges that include insider trading, assaulting his brother-in-law and drunk driving. He also fathered a daughter while he was separated from Dina in 1995. In 2011, Lohan fathered another child with former tabloid reporter Kate Major. She filed a restraining order against Lohan, but he reversed it in 2012.
3 Ryan O'Neal
"Dysfunction" is the word that comes to mind when describing the O'Neal family, with Hollywood actor Ryan as the patriarch. His run-ins with the law and estrangement from his children, including 25 years of separation from his daughter Tatum, have been tabloid fodder for years. Three of his four children have drug problems, with two of them spending time behind bars. O’Neal and Tatum, an Oscar-winning actress in her own right, eventually reconciled for the short-lived OWN docu-series “The O’Neals: Ryan and Tatum”. In a “Today” show interview, host Matt Lauer asked O’Neal if he was a bad parent. “Looks like it, doesn't it? Sure looks like it," O’Neal responded. "I suppose I was."
2 O.J. Simpson
The former football great’s accomplishments were overshadowed by his role as the defendant in “The Trial of The Century”. Simpson pleaded not guilty to the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. His marriage to his second wife Nicole Brown yielded two children, Sydney and Justin. Despite his acquittal of both murders in October 1995, a civil trial found him financially responsible for their deaths.
After his murder trial acquittal, Simpson continued to toe the line of justice. His book “If I Did It” gives his so-called hypothetical account of how he would have murdered Brown and Goldman. A Florida bankruptcy court awarded Goldman’s family the book’s rights to partially satisfy the civil judgment and was published in 2007. Simpson was convicted of armed robbery in 2008 and is serving a 33-year prison sentence.
1 John Phillips
It was bad enough that the "The Mamas and the Papas" founder and musician taught his daughter Mackenzie Phillips how to roll joints at 10 years old, then introduced her to cocaine at 17. Mackenzie unveiled an explosive family secret in her memoir "High on Arrival": she had a consensual 10-year sexual relationship with her father after he raped her while she was unconscious from a drug binge. The incestuous relationship ended when Mackenzie learned she was pregnant and suspected John may be the father. Mackenzie got an abortion on Phillips’ dime, she said.
"It became a consensual relationship over time. I can't believe I'm the only one this happened to," Mackenzie said during her appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. "No matter what kind of incest, it is an abuse of power ... a betrayal of trust." Philips died eight years before the allegations became public, so they remain unconfirmed and the family has been divided over the issue.