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Mother’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate and honor the mother of a family, as well as motherhood and maternal bonds at large. However, not everyone has the closest relationship with their family. John Wayne and his mom certainly had a volatile relationship over the years. However, it’s especially shocking to see how she responded after returning from an all-expenses-paid trip around the world that her son paid for.

John Wayne’s mom was ‘stern’ throughout the actor’s life

John Wayne as Col. Cord McNally in 'Rio Lobo' in a cowboy outfit looking down at the ground, who's real mom was Mary 'Molly' Alberta Brown
John Wayne as Col. Cord McNally | CBS via Getty Images

Scott Eyman’s John Wayne: The Life and Legend takes a look through the life of the iconic actor, including his family life. He was born to Mary “Molly” Alberta Brown and Clyde Leonard Morrison, who moved to Palmdale and then to Glendale in California. Wayne’s mom never had the close and positive relationship that he had with his dad. According to Eyman, “Molly didn’t have the temperament to jolly him along.”

Molly always showed favoritism toward the actor’s younger brother, Robert. She even took away his middle name and gave it to the younger brother when he was born. As a result, Wayne always preferred spending time with his father. One of their neighbors named Alice Miller described Wayne’s mom as, “a stern woman. You had to be real careful around her. She could fly off the handle when you least expected it.”

John Wayne was ‘deflated’ after his mom complained after he paid for an all-around-the-world vacation for her

John Wayne: The Life and the Legend continued to show how Wayne’s mom wasn’t very kind toward the actor over the years. He tried to develop a closer relationship with her and provide her with nice accommodations on an expansive trip. However, these favors didn’t ultimately get the mother and son any closer.

“His relationship with his mother remained unrewarding,” Eyman wrote. “Every year he sent his mother and her second husband on a vacation. One year, it was an around-the-world, all-expenses-paid trip. When they got back, Wayne greeted them and wanted to hear all about it.”

Eyman continued: “Sidney Preen, Wayne’s stepfather, raved about the trip and thanked him profusely. Molly just complained—the flights were tiring, the service was bad, etc. Wayne’s response was a visible deflation. After he left the room, Mary St. John [Wayne’s confidante] asked Molly, ‘Don’t you think you could be a little nicer to him sometimes?'”

However, Wayne’s mom replied: “I don’t give a damn about him.”

The actor’s official social media page still reflects on Mother’s Day


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The actor’s official Twitter account continues to share Happy Mother’s Day posts in honor of Wayne’s mom. They didn’t have the closest relationship, but it’s certainly clear that the Duke made an effort. He always held onto his relationship with his children, not repeating the same mistake. Wayne was often sentimental when it came to close friends and family.