How ‘Star Wars’ Star Adam Driver’s Relationship With His Father Influenced His Career

Adam Driver is an actor widely regarded for his role as Kylo Ren in the Star Wars films. Driver’s parents got divorced when he was young and he was primarily raised by his step-father. Learn more about Driver’s relationship with his biological father.

Adam Driver family
Adam Driver| Photo by: Rosalind O’Connor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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Adam Driver’s parents are divorced 

Driver is the son of Joe Driver and Nancy Wright (née Needham). When Driver was 7-years-old, he and his mother moved from his birthplace of San Diego to Mishawaka, Indiana. There, she reconnected with her high school boyfriend, Rodney G. Wright. At the time, he drove a cab, but after some convincing, he became a Baptist minister at the Immanuel Baptist Church in Mishawaka. He helped raise Driver as his own.

Adam Driver’s interest in ‘grownup movies’ made it difficult for him to make friends

After his parents divorce and inevitable move to Indiana, Driver struggled to fit in. “Mishawaka is many good things, but [a] cultural hub of the world it is not,” Driver told The Telegraph. Driver recalled living with his grandparents at first — something he didn’t enjoy. To keep himself entertained, Driver would watch “grownup movies” his father showed him, like Predator and Total Recall. All the while, Driver’s classmates were talking about Saved by the Bell, so he had a hard time fitting in.

So, Driver tuned everyone else out and focused more on his love of film. “We didn’t travel, no one could afford to go to Europe, so for me and my friends, our access to the outside world came through films. Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, and going to the movies were pretty much our only avenue to get out of this really depressed, industrial town.” 

Adam Driver used his parent’s separation as motivation for ‘Marriage Story’ 

Marriage Story tells the tale of a married couple who experience a heartbreaking divorce. At the core of the story, both parents are trying to do right by their only son, Henry. Driver portrayed the husband and father, Charlie, who tries to maintain some sense of normalcy for his son during a hairy divorce.

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“Something I thought about all the time [while shooting Marriage Story] was the things that my dad didn’t do that this guy does in Noah [Baumbach’s] movie,” Driver explained to The New Yorker. “The fighting to get custody was moving to me. My dad didn’t do any of this. He didn’t put up a fight.” His personal experience with his parent’s separating and the way his father reacted to it helped him portray Charlie in Marriage Story. “Driver delivers a brilliantly inhabited and shaded portrait of a man who’s forced to reckon with that reality,” The Hollywood Reporter wrote. 

Adam Driver has a strong relationship with his stepfather

Despite his biological father’s shortcomings, Driver has a seemingly strong relationship with his stepfather. When Driver first landed the role on Girls, Wright spoke to a local publication about his step-son’s success.

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“I don’t agree with everything that he does, but I agree with his work ethic,” Wright told the Southbend Tribune. “He’s out there, and he works, and he works. He goes after things, [and] he does anything his agent tells him to do — [as long as] he can without [jobs] overlapping. So he’s doing real well.”

It’s unclear whether Driver and his biological father are in communication today. Driver and his wife, Joanne Tucker, raise their son out of the public eye and keep much of their personal lives private.