Fans Can’t Get Over How Different Tom Hanks Is From His Son

Tom Hanks’ prolific career doesn’t just extend to his movies and public persona.

His other career, perhaps the one he loves most, is husband to actress Rita Wilson and father to his four grown kids.

One of those kids has followed quite a different path from his famous dad.

Tom Hanks’ stellar career

Tom Hanks speaks onstage
Tom Hanks | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Turner

Before Hanks made a Splash in Hollywood, he spent three years performing on stage at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Ohio. Just two years in, Hanks won the Cleveland Critics Circle Award for Best Actor in 1978 for playing Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. After his stint at the festival, he moved to New York City and TV sitcom, Bosom Buddies. Guest starring roles on various 80’s sitcoms followed before he became a Big star in the eyes of pop culture.

It soon became apparent that Hanks wasn’t just funny, he was seriously artistic and took on roles that hindsight tells us only he could play. His most notable movies include Forrest Gump, Philadelphia, Apollo 13 and Saving Private Ryan. His iconic roles weren’t limited to the front of the camera, but behind the camera as well.

He is as well-known for being a producer, director, writer and voiceover artist as he is for his acting, including voicing starring roles in the beloved films Toy Story and The Polar Express.

Hanks’ public persona over the years became as endearing as his characters. Known as the nicest guy in Hollywood, his image as a man of all seasons includes his public moments as a park wedding crasher and democratic political activist. But it is his image as husband and father that seems to matter to him most.

Tom Hanks is a father of four

Hanks has been married twice, arguably not a lot of times in most Hollywood circles. His married his first wife, actress Samantha Lewes, in 1978. They had two children, Colin and Elizabeth, before divorcing in 1987. Then Hanks married Wilson in 1988 and they have two kids, Chester and Truman.

Colin and Elizabeth have followed their famous dad into acting, while the youngest son, Truman, is content behind the scenes as a production assistant.

That leaves Chester — or Chet as he’s called. Chet found it tough in his teens to live up to his dad’s image as a cultural icon. He admits acting out in the usual Hollywood depiction of teen angst by turning to drugs and scandalous behavior. 

A total 180 from his dad who’s had to parent through his son’s dark daze of trying to find himself.

The struggles of being Tom Hanks’ son

How do you deal with an iconic actor who’s your dad? In Chet’s case, he ran the other way to find his path as far away from his family as he could get. Chet, who goes by the moniker Chet Haze, has dabbled in acting over the years, including Empire of late.

He’s a hip-hop artist by trade and on Empire, he plays one on TV–although a former schoolmate said that he used the term “rapper” loosely to describe him. One since-deleted tweet talked about him only getting parts in school plays in the hopes that his dad would come watch.

Chet may not be feeling the love of his school peers and he has struggled with being Tom Hanks’ son. Calling himself the “black sheep” of the family, Chet describes himself as angry and resentful toward his parents during the drug-addled years when he was trying to find out where he fit in.

For a while there, it seemed as though every comment that came out of his mouth got him in trouble. It took a long time etching a road out of Tom Hanks’ shadow before Chet stopped running and started looking at his life in a positive way.

Chet Hanks is doing great now

Maybe it was becoming a dad himself. Chet claims that his daughter “saved his life.” Perhaps fatherhood has helped him in his relationship with Dad Hanks. He claims that he’s like his father “in every way that counts.”

That is, playing, cuddling, getting ready for Christmas, those things. Perhaps even the tattoos that he’s inundated his body with has helped him in his own identity as Chet Hanks.

Then again, maybe it’s dad, Tom’s statement on Entertainment Tonight that, “As a parent, you love your kids unconditionally. You support them every step of the way.”

Regardless, it looks like Chet Hanks has learned that it’s not so bad being the son of the nicest man in the world.