Ryan Phillippe Defended His And Reese Witherspoon’s Kids Against “Nepotism Talk” And Said It’s “Natural” That They’d Pursue Careers In Hollywood

Ryan said it’s only “natural” that his and Reese’s kids — Ava, 24, and Deacon, 20 — are following in their footsteps.

Ryan Phillippe has weighed in on the never-ending “nepo baby” discourse.

Ryan and his son, Deacon, posing together at a media event, Ryan in a floral shirt and sunglasses, the other in a plaid jacket with a graphic T-shirt

As I’m sure you know, Ryan shares two children with Reese Witherspoon: 24-year-old Ava and 20-year-old Deacon.

Reese smiling with Ava and Deacon

And now that they’re grown up, the siblings are stepping into the world of showbiz, with Deacon pursuing music and Ava beginning to “figure out” a career in acting.

Reese in a black outfit with sunglasses and Ava in a gray coat over a yellow top

Though they’re divorced, Reese and Ryan often come together to support their kids' creative projects. And now Ryan is defending Ava and Deacon against nepotism backlash — which, as I'm sure you know, is quite a popular theme in Hollywood.

Deacon in a black tuxedo and Reese in a strapless gown, both smiling, at a media event

In a recent interview with Extra, the 49-year-old said it feels “natural” for his children to pursue careers in the arts, and admitted he finds it difficult to see criticism directed at young people in Hollywood who have followed in their parents' footsteps.

Ava and Reese smiling at a media event, both in strapless dresses

“That's what always annoys me about this whole nepotism talk with the industry,” he said. “You know, so many people grow up and end up doing what their parents do, you know, to some degree or another. To me, I always get offended for the children of actors and entertainers when people bring that up because yeah, of course, that's what they've grown up around.”

Ava in a white tank top and jeans, and Deacon in a cap, white tee, and cardigan, both smiling under a sun umbrella

Ryan went on to say that celebrity kids entering showbiz also benefit from a prior understanding of the industry, particularly the more difficult parts of life in it.

Reese sitting with her daughter and an older man

While Ava and Deacon lead relatively low-key lives, the siblings haven't escaped nepotism backlash. In fact, Ryan’s comments come only a few months after Deacon found himself at the center of a debate over a viral tour of his New York City apartment.

Deacon in a distressed denim jacket and hands in pockets on a city street

In case you missed it, in November, Deacon — who studies music at NYU — showed off his stylish West Village apartment to a TikToker called Caleb Simpson, who ~randomly~ approached him on the street by asking him how much he pays for rent.

Deacon in a jacket and cap smiling on a city street, gesturing with his hand

As you’d perhaps expect, Deacon’s place looks pretty fancy, boasting high ceilings, a music studio setup, and funky artwork. Sharing with two roommates, the 20-year-old didn’t disclose how much rent he pays but instead brushed off the question by hinting at extortionate “West Village prices.”

Deacon in cap and jacket seated by artwork with dripping heart design

Since the tour didn’t mention his parents, people were a little divided over the underlying implication that Deacon could afford the apartment as a regular college student, rather than the child of the richest female actor in the world, according to Forbes. And so, it wasn’t long before the “nepo baby” discourse bubbled up in the comments section.

Reese and Deacon smiling at the camera, she in a strapless gown, he in a tuxedo

However, plenty of others spoke out in Deacon’s defense, noting that he seems like a “humble kid” despite his lavish background.

Deacon in a hoodie and backpack walking outside

And as Deacon continues to explore music, it sounds as if Ryan is one proud dad, telling Extra that his son has “an incredible work ethic.”

Deacon in a sports jersey and Ryan in a floral patterned shirt

You can read Ryan’s full interview with Extra here. And this is where you can watch Deacon’s NYC apartment tour.

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