Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman, known to her millions of fans around the world as Zendaya, comes from a large family. The 20-year-old Oakland native, who plays Michelle Jones in Spider-Man: Homecoming, has five siblings. She’s the youngest child.
Zendaya was born in Oakland on September 1, 1996. Her mother is Claire Marie Stoermer, who is white, and her father is Kazambe Ajamu, who is African-American. Her father was born Samuel David Coleman. Her parents married when she was 12 and her mother filed for divorce in August 2016.
Her sisters are Kaylee, AnnaBella and Karianna. She has two brothers, Austin and Julien. All of her siblings are from her father’s previous relationship.
Here’s what you need to know about Zendaya’s family.
1. Zendaya Was Born an Aunt, Since Her Older Siblings Already Had Children
One of Zendaya’s closes friends is Ezenia Coleman, her niece who is a year older than her. In 2012, Ezenia told Just Jared Jr. that Zendaya is always willing to help others before she helps herself.
“For as long as I can remember she’s always been the type of person to NOT ask for birthday gifts. Every year, she always asks anyone attending her birthday party to bring something not for her but for a charity or cause she’ll be donating the gifts to,” Ezenia told Just Jared Jr. “The past 2 years it’s been backpacks and school supplies for local schools. She’s also had her party guests bring donations for the local animal shelters. She’s just caring like that.”
In an interview with Complex in 2015, Zendaya said her 20-year-old niece is the “closest person to me.”
“She lives in L.A. with my sister who’s out here with her two daughters and husband. So I escape to their house all the time,” Zendaya told Complex. “I’ll call her at any time about anything, we’ll go out to dinner for random stuff. We just chill.”
2. Zendaya’s Parents Have Roots in Germany & Africa
In a 2015 video for the I Am An Immigrant campaign released during Immigrant Heritage Month, Zendaya discussed how she’s embraced her roots. She is proud to be a mix of German and African cultures.
“Being a young person, it’s just so important that I teach other young people to be aware of who they are,” she said in the video. “I started off — literally from birth — knowing exactly who I was. It’s all in my name.”
She also explained each part of her name, and how it corresponds to the mix of cultures in her blood. Her first name is African, while “Maree” is a variation of her mother’s French middle name.
“I’m from Africa, as well as I’m from Germany. I’m very proud of that,” Zendaya said.
In her Complex interview, Zendaya said her father changed his name after he took a DNA test and “reclaimed” it. Her mother and grandmother researched their roots and found that their family comes from Germany and Scotland.
“I think it’s important that I help other young people gain at least the interest of knowing where they’re from,” Zendaya told the magazine.
3. Zendaya’s Mother Filed for Divorce From Her Father in August 2016
Zendaya is the only child of her parents and they didn’t marry until she was 12 years old. All of her siblings are her father’s children from his previous relationship.
TMZ reported in August 2016 that her mother filed for divorce. The cause was “irreconcilable differences.”
Since Zendaya was 19 at the time, child support wasn’t an issue, but Ajamu was her manager at the time. TMZ notes that this means money earned during the marriage could be community property. The site adds that Stoermer didn’t ask for spousal support.
After TMZ’s report, Zendaya tweeted a picture of herself with her mom and dad. Although they haven’t been married for awhile, she showed that they are clearly still on good terms. “My parents ain’t been together for a long time, y’all didn’t know cause we private+they still homies #lateassnews,” she wrote.
4. She Says Her Aunts Were Black Panther Party Members
In an interview with Vogue, Zendaya revealed that her aunts were Black Panther party members, adding, “Afros, the whole nine.” She said she was raised in the Emeryville home where her father and his seven siblings grew up.
By the time Zendaya was born, Oakland was a much different environment.
“I’ve experienced, in my life, tragedy,” Ajamu told Vogue. “Because I lived it, and her brothers and sisters experienced it, she knows it exists. She knows she’s reaping the benefits from those who paved the way for her.”
While she was growing up, both of her parents were teachers. Her dad worked at her private school, while her mother taught fifth grade at a public school. It wasn’t until 2010 that Zendaya and her father moved to Hollywood to follow her dream of becoming an actress.
Zendaya’s father also played a key role in the 2014 Lifetime Aaliya movie drama. There were critics who thought Zendaya wasn’t “black enough” for the role. As billboard notes, Zendaya told her fans on Instagram that she backed out of it because the “production value wasn’t there.” This is the same reason her father cited on Twitter.
“It’s a hard thing in Hollywood when you’re mixed,” Zendaya’s mother told Vogue. “You’re not white enough to be white, and you’re not black enough to be black.”
5. Her Cousin Cubb Coleman Is a Sound Engineer in Los Angeles
In a 2014 Instagram post, Zendaya tagged a trio of cousins. One is Cubb Coleman, who is a certified audio engineer and music producer in Los Angeles. He was at the Spider-Man: Homecoming Los Angeles premiere, sharing videos from the red carpet.
Coleman also has a SoundCloud account, where he has posted several remixes. He also has his own website.
Another cousin is Derick Coleman.