Inside Home Alone’s Macaulay Culkin rags to riches story of drugs, fame and love

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Macaulay Culkin will forever be known as Kevin McCallister, the mischievous but wise eight-year-old who stole the hearts and the show in Home Alone.

But before he found world-renowned fame in 1990, Macaulay had overcome a very turbulent few years with even more to come.

Behind closed doors, Macauly was dealing with poverty-stricken parents as well as an “abusive” father after he began racking in millions from his role in Home Alone.

And things didn’t get much easier for the child star, as later on in his life he began to struggle with addiction and a run-in with the law.

Luckily, Macauly, now 43, has found the light at the end of the tunnel and is happier than ever as a dad with longtime girlfriend Brenda Song, and now is a proud owner of a Hollywood Walk of Fame star.

Read more: Home Alone fans come up with wild theory about Uncle Frank and Kevin’s relationship

Poverty ridden childhood

His family in the Home Alone movies were hugely privileged and largely care-free, but the star’s childhood off-screen couldn’t have been more different.

Following his incredible rise to fame, he watched his family gradually fall apart, before going through a painful emancipation from his parents – where he accused his father of leeching off his success.

While Macaulay earned millions from playing Kevin in Home Alone, his family was reportedly very poor beforehand.

According to E! Online, Billy Hopkins, a New York casting director who gave a 6-year-old Macaulay his first part, claimed: “Macaulay would crawl under the bleachers at the theater (sic) to look for change that had fallen out of people’s pockets. They were like the Beverly Hillbillies.”

At the time Billy recalled this heartbreaking story, Macaulay’s father Kit had got a job at a local Catholic church, helping him to get staff rates at the parish school, while his wife Patricia worked at a call centre.

The family’s luck changed after Macauly’s Hollywood breakthrough in movies like Rocket Gibraltar and comedy film Uncle Buck, which eventually led to Home Alone.

This breakthrough brought him instant fame – along with a rumored $104K (£76,000) pay check for the first movie and £3.4M earnings for the second – and proved enough for Kit to quit his job in the church to help manage his son, alongside his wife.

The movie offers came rushing in and the next Home Alone movie reportedly grossed around $359million (£273M) – followed by more high-paying roles in My Girl and Richie Rich.

Macaulay’s “abusive” relationship with his ‘jealous’ dad

Macaulay’s somewhat overnight fame meant his siblings, Christian, Dakota, Kieran, Rory, Shane, and Quinn, were also trusted into the spotlight.

And with them, their father Kit became a hugely prominent figure in Hollywood too – so much so, that Premiere magazine rated him the 48th most powerful person in Hollywood in 1993.

However, as he began to try and take more control over his son’s career, it’s believed his name was blacklisted – particularly when Richie Rich failed to receive the rave reviews of Home Alone.

Macaulay has since alleged that his father became abusive in his younger years too.

In 2018, the actor told Marc Maron’s WTF podcast that his father was “physically and mentally” abusive and that he was “jealous” of what he had achieved at such a young age.

Macaulay explained: “Everything he tried to do in life, I excelled at before I was 10 years old.”

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Bitter custody war

In 1994, Kit and Patricia announced they were getting a divorce after 20 years together – which sparked a whole other series of issues for the star.

What turned out to be a bitter divorce prompted the start of a difficult custody war for Macaulay and his success..

In her legal petition, Patricia accused Kit of “excessive drinking, physical abuse and unfaithful behaviour”, all of which he denied.

While Macaulay reportedly sided with his mum at the time, he later effectively “divorced” both his parents when they began fighting over his fortune.

He sued his parents for £13million when he was just 15 years old and had them removed as his legal guardians, meaning they had no control over his career or money.

Macaulay’s addiction

After a string of failed relationships and a whirlwind marriage as well as his family dramas Macaulay has also been plagued by rumours of heroin addiction in the past.

The actor went on to deny the rumours, telling The Guardian: “I was not pounding six grand of heroin a month.”

However, he did plead guilty to misdemeanour drug charges in 2005, one for possessing medication without a prescription and the other for marijuana.

He was given a one-year deferred sentence on each charge.

Brighter days

Macaulay has since looked happier and healthier than ever.

In an interview with Esquire, he said: “I played with some fire, I guess is the best way to put it. At the same time, I’ve never been to rehab or anything like that.”

Since July 2017, Macaulay has been in a loving relationship with actress Brenda Song, who is a former Disney Channel star.

On April 5, 2021, the Suite Life of Zack and Cody star alum gave birth in Los Angeles to their first child together, son Dakota then a year later the pair welcomed their second son, Carson.

Macaulay’s luck hasn’t run out either as more recently he was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – where he credited his loving wife Brenda.

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