Chet Hanks, Tom Hanks’ Son: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Chet Hanks and Rita Wilson

Getty Actress Rita Wilson and son Chester Marlon Hanks.

The 2020 Golden Globes are honoring actor Tom Hanks with the Cecil B. DeMille Award. In addition to being a renowned actor and filmmaker, Hanks is also a husband, grandfather, and father of four.

Hanks had his oldest two children, Colin and Elizabeth, with his first wife Samantha Lewes, whom he divorced in 1987. After marrying actress and singer Rita Wilson in 1988, the two had two more children, Chester “Chet” Hanks and Truman Theodore Hanks.

Here’s what you need to know about Tom Hanks’s son Chet:

1. Chet Is an Actor & Has a Role in a New Television Show Called ‘Your Honor’

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Chet followed in his famous parents’ footsteps and developed a successful acting career of his own. According to his IMDb profile, he has had recurring roles on the television shows Maron, Shameless, and Empire; he also appeared in two episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

In November 2019, Deadline announced that Chet was set to recur on a new show for Showtime, called Your Honor. The series is described as a “legal thriller that rips through all strata of New Orleans society,” and stars Brian Cranston. Hanks plays Joey Maldini, the best friend of Carlo Baxter.

2. Chet Is Father to His Young Daughter Michaiah

Although he mostly keeps his daughter out of the public eye, Chet is the proud father of his little girl Michaiah, who was born in 2016. Michaiah’s mom is Tiffany Miles In a rare Instagram post that Chet shared with his social media followers on New Year’s Eve 2017, Hanks can be seen reading a book to Michaiah as she sits in his arms. In the caption, he wrote “The best part of my year. The person who saved my life.”

Michaiah is one of Tom Hanks’ three grandkids, and Chet said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that both Tom and Rita are wonderful grandparents to her: “It’s awesome seeing them being grandparents as well because I was really close with my grandparents and now my daughter gets to have the same experience.”

Tom and Rita told ET that they’re the “cool grandparents,” adding “When you have grandkids, if you’re with one of them — or all three of them – look, there’s no book, no radio, no TV. You’re going to be entertained by them every moment that you’re there. Sit back and watch the show!”

3. Chet Struggled With Substance Abuse for Years, but Says He Is Currently Sober

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According to E! News, Chet opened up about his struggles with substance abuse in 2014. In a since-deleted Instagram post, he wrote “I’ve been struggling with substance abuse since I was 16 years old. Finally at the age of 24 I decided to get some help. With 50 days of sobriety under my belt, I can honestly say I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m thankful for my family and everybody that cares about me, including my fans. I’ve been blessed with the programs of AA and NA which allow me to rise above this disease. I’m learning to accept my faults and be ok with being human. If anybody that sees this struggles with addiction, feel free to reach out. Thank you all for the love and support! GOD IS REAL!!!”

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight in 2018, four years later, Chet said he was finally able to get sober after becoming a father. When asked what the moment was when he realized he need “a shift,” Chet responded “I had known for a while, but you just don’t really wanna make the change yet. You don’t really wanna do the work yet… For me, it took something drastic happening, like becoming a father, for me to make the change.” He asserted in the interview that Michaiah was his main reason for turning his life around, saying “It was the prospect of having a kid, and I knew ‘in 9 months, there’s gonna be a baby here,’ that gave me the motivation to be like ‘Okay, I’ve had my time with all that and I need to move on.”

4. Chet Says That, in Spite of His Dad’s Fame, He’s Had to Earn His Successes Himself

Hanks talked to Too Fab about the positives and negatives of being the son of such a famous and acclaimed actor. He said “I’m not complaining about it, you know, it is what it is and it’s cool. I love my dad, he’s a great man, he’s a great actor, so I’m in a good position, you know what I mean?” Chet did admit, however, that he believes that “If I invented a cure for cancer tomorrow, in the article it would say, ‘Tom Hanks’ Son Invents The Cure For Cancer,’ you know what I mean? It’s inevitable.”

Later in the interview, he reflected on how he’s had to fight against the assumption that, as the son of famous parents, he had everything handed to him: “And that’s not the case. Everything I’ve got I had to earn myself, I had to go and audition for every role I got, just like anybody else. It’s not like I’m just gonna make a phone call and — boom — you’re in it; that’s not how it works… He could do that, but he’s not gonna do that,” he said. “And even if he did do that, it’d be an L for me because if I wasn’t ready to earn that role myself I’d be walking into a situation I wasn’t prepared for.”

5. Before Becoming an Actor, Chet Pursued a Rap Career

Although he is now known as an actor, Chet first broke out as a rap artist. In 2015, Chet faced backlash for the use of a racial slur, both in his rap music and on social media. According to the Washington Post, he defended his use of the word on Instagram, saying in a video “I don’t accept society getting to decide what ANYBODY can or can’t say. That’s something we call FREE SPEECH. Now I understand the older generation who grew up in the Jim Crowe era might have strong feelings against this. And that’s understandable… But what I’m saying is this is 2015… And even tho we are still far from where we need to be and black people are still being literally KILLED by a RACIST and f—– up system… We have also reached a point where the word can no longer have a negative connotation if we so choose. And who is to say only black people can use it?”

A few years later, he reflected on that controversial time in his life as a guest on the podcast “Van Lathan’s The Red Pill.” He said “Number one, I was on a lot of drugs … I wanted to be, like, down, you know what I mean? I just felt like I wasn’t enough… Low-key, like subconsciously, looking back on it now I realize I was trolling. I thought, like, crazy antics and just wilding the f—k out and doing some crazy s—t was going to like spark my career.”

He eventually admitted “I did the ultimate lame thing. I did the ultimate cornball thing. And that s—t wasn’t cool.”

Hanks is still making music today as one half of the duo “Somewhere Out West,” which he collaborates on with Drew Arthur. The duo previously released music as the band “FTRZ.”

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