Mostly associated with his role as Walter White — a former chemistry teacher-turned meth kingpin in Breaking Bad — Bryan Cranston, 59, has established himself as a top-tier actor time and time again. While Cranston’s Walter character didn’t exactly win any “Father of the Year” honors amid Heisenberg’s reputation, the actor does have a loving family of his own that consists of his wife and daughter.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cranston Met Wife Robin Dearden While Working On a ‘Terrible’ TV Show
Thirty years ago, Cranston met his second wife — Robin Dearden — on the 1986 CBS TV show, Airwolf. The actor played Robert Hollis while his now-wife donned the role of Alicia; two small parts.
Dearden — with Cranston by her side — spoke to People on January 6 about her first time meeting the actor.
“He actually had a gun to my head. He had a girlfriend and I had a boyfriend at the time. But I thought that he was the funniest man that I had ever met. I said, ‘He’s kind of cute, he’s got a gun…'”
Cranston — pictured above in an episode of the show — added that working with Dearden, 62, drastically impacted their lives.
“It was 30 years ago that we met on that terrible TV show. It changed both of our lives.”
2. Cranston Fantasized About Killing His First Wife
Cranston was married writer Mickey Middleton in 1977 but the two were divorced in 1982. GQ magazine reported that Cranston’s ex was a drug addict that used to call and leave him threatening messages such as the following:
“I’m gonna kill you. I’m gonna cut your b—- off. I’m gonna have your d— sawed off.”
While speaking to GQ, Cranston admitted to a deep, dark secret, which was related to his Breaking Bad character.
“What happened to Walt is something I related to, if I’m truly honest with myself. I’ve come to realize that I think everybody is capable of that. If you came into a condition where you were under tremendous stress. And if I knew what buttons to push that threatened you and yours… you could become an extremely dangerous person. I had one girlfriend I wanted to kill.”
While conducting a Rolling Stone interview on September 13, 2013, Cranston confessed that he didn’t believe that there was just one person for everyone.
“I don’t believe there’s just one person for you. And quite frankly, love among adults is conditional. ‘We’re in love, right now. Oops, you killed someone? Ok, wait a minute, that’s kind of a problem for me.’ It’s all conditional.”
3. Cranston & Dearden Have a Daughter
Cranston and Dearden have one daughter — Taylor Dearden Cranston — who was born on February 12, 1993. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in theatre. She was an extra in the season 3 Breaking Bad episode, “No Mas,” which her father directed. Dearden’s character was described as a “Sad Faced Girl” and she was listed in the credits as Taylor Cranston.
4. Cranston’s Father Walked Out on His Family
Cranston was born in Hollywood and raised just outside Los Angeles in Canoga Park to Joe and Audrey Cranston. His father, Joe, was a former amateur boxer and actor. However, Joe — who couldn’t make enough income to support his family — walked out on him and his mother when he was 11-years-old. The actor didn’t see his father until 11 years later when he and his brother decided to track him down. Cranston decribed his parents as “broken people” that were “incapacitated.”
Joe spoke to Star in 2014 about how a divorce, poverty and alcohol abuse broke up his family. Fortunately, Cranston and his father have since buried the hatchet. As Joe acknowledged, the actor even helped his father during a time of need.
“I won’t lie – there were really bad times when Bryan was a child that were so terrible I almost can’t bear to relive them. They were such rough times, I have never spoken about them before. But now the relationship with my son has never been better. When I lost my wife of 41 years to cancer last year, it was devastating. But Bryan and the rest of my family helped me through my darkest hours and I will always be grateful for that. Seeing Bryan’s success lifted me when otherwise I would have completely fallen apart.”
5. Cranston & His Cousin Saw Charles Manson
During a 2015 interview for The Nerdist Podcast Cranston came clean that he and a cousin ran into serial killer Charles Manson at the Spahn Ranch while riding horses. Cranston said that his Manson citing happened about a year before the latter killed five people at the Tate-Polanski house — including actress Sharon Tate — and Rosemary and Leo LaBlanca. The murders occurred on August 8, 1969 and August 10, 1969, respectively. Cranston’s podcast can be viewed below.