Former Disney star Brenda Song is currently Macaulay Culkin’s other half. Dating since 2017, the pair have been virtually inseparable. Song, who started off her career as a child fashion model, has spent most of her life in the spotlight.
Known as a talent volcano, Song made her way from working as a model to acting on the Disney channel. After studying at Berkeley, Song transitioned to working on primetime television and has even appeared on the silver screen.
Somewhere in between studying, acting, modeling and working hard to develop a flourishing career, Song managed to find love in acclaimed actor Macaulay Culkin.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Song Began Working as a Model When She Was Just Five Years Old
Song is 29 years old and a native of Carmichael, California. Her parents are of Hmong ancestry. Her father is a teacher, her mother is a homemaker and she has two younger brothers.
Song was discovered when she was just five years old and an elementary school student. She was invited to appear in several television commercials and when it became clear that her career was promising, she and her family relocated to Los Angeles. Song’s early credits include appearing in a Little Caesar’s commercial.
Song was torn between taking ballet lessons and learning taekwondo with her brothers. She ultimately decided on taekwondo, and while she struggled at first, she now holds a blackbelt.
While working as a young actress, Song excelled in academics. She was named an All-American scholar and earned her high school diploma at the young age of 16. She went on to pursue a degree in psychology from UC Berkeley. Once she completed her degree, Song was able to fully focus her attention on her acting career.
2. Song Got Her Big Break Working For The Disney Channel
It was in 2002 that Song’s already flourishing career really began to take off. She signed an exclusive contract with the Disney channel. Disney cast her in the film “Get a Clue.” Subsequent to that, she appeared on “One on One,” “That’s So Raven” and “Phil of the Future,” where she landed a recurring role.
After appearing in several more Disney Channel movies, Song landed a regular rule on the Disney series “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.” During this time, Song gained critical appraisal and according to many, she stole the show.
In 2009, People magazine wrote an article about Song, naming her as the actress who made “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” watchable, and the actress to keep an eye on; there was no doubt that Song was going places.
In 2006, Song landed her first starring role in a Disney Channel original film as the title character in “Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior.” Song received rave reviews from critics, including a nod from The New York Times, who was quick to point out how much Song had grown as an actress since she first appeared on “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.”
After proving herself to be a talented, accomplished and driven actress, Song was able to branch out beyond the Disney Channel, and has successfully found her place on primetime television.
3. In Addition to Being a Successful Actress, Song is an Accomplished Musician
As if being a model and actress were not enough, Song is also a musician, truly living up to her reputation as a talent volcano.
Song was also a regular fixture in the pop music scene for awhile, as she briefly dated Trace Cyrus, Miley’s brother. Trace very publicly advertised their breakup, openly penning his song “Brenda” about her and admitting in interviews that it was written about Song.
Despite any drama or bad publicity associated with her breakup from Cyrus, Song was able to successfully rise above any negativity caused by their relationship gone wrong. Instead, she has continued to keep her head down and work hard, and as a result, her career has flourished. This, of course, includes her musical career, gaining a large fanbase devoted to her music alone.
4. Song was Cast in “Changeland,” Seth Green’s Directorial Debut. Shortly Thereafter, She Met Culkin
Song joined the cast of “Changeland,” Seth Green’s directorial debut. Seth Green and Macaulay Culkin are longtime friends and collaborators. It is believed that Song and Culkin began dating in early 2017 and have been inseparable ever since.
In November of 2017, Song and Macaulay were spotted vacationing together in Paris, taking in the sights and even meeting up with Culkin’s famous goddaughter, Paris Jackson. “‘I never want to leave…’ Brenda captioned a photo snapped in Paris over the weekend. Based on the tags in the photo, she was joined by Seth Green and his wife Clare Grant, as well as Macaulay‘s god-daughter Paris Jackson, Just Jared reports.
Culkin, who has struggled with substance abuse in the past, looked noticeably healthier and happier pictured alongside Song as the two took in the sights of the streets of Paris. “With Macaulay staying close to Brenda, they stopped off to dine at one of Paris’ most prestigious restaurants, L’Atelier, which boasts two Michelin stars,” reports The Sun.
Just Jared reports that Song and Green have developed a great working rapport. Culkin and Song have been spotted dining several times with their “Changeland” director, Seth Green, and his wife, Clare, looking happy and very much in love.
5. Song is a Role Model For Young Asian-American Women, Especially Girls in the Hmong and Thai Communities
Song is absolutely a role model to all young women, regardless of their ethnic background. She’s smart, driven, passionate and focused. That said, she has been particularly important to the Hmong community, who is by and large underrepresented in Hollywood.
Understanding the importance of education isn’t the only thing Brenda’s learned from her parents. Brenda is half Hmong and half Thai, and while she loves being American, she’s also very attached to her parents’ native cultures. Her dad only speaks Hmong at home, so Brenda has picked up the language. “I speak it with a little bit of my valley girl accent,” she jokes. “It’s such a close-knit culture, and very family-oriented. As with many Asian cultures, no matter where you branch off, you’re family.” Brenda also laughingly admits that her favorite part about the Hmong culture is the food. “There’s a chicken drumstick dish where they stuff it with noodles,” she says. “It’s my favorite dish.”
Like many others, growing up as an Asian American was both a challenge and a blessing for Brenda. “Being an actress is difficult,” says Brenda. “Sometimes they won’t look at you because you don’t have blue eyes and blond hair, and it’s 10 times as hard to get through the door.”
But Brenda is realistic about the industry. “Sometimes they’re just not looking for an Asian actress,” she says. “That was difficult when I was younger, but it’s all part of the job.” And in true Brenda style, she takes everything in stride. “At the end of the day, it makes you a better person. You can’t think of yourself as an Asian American actress. It’s not about what you look like, it’s about what you do … and who you are as a person.” Though Brenda doesn’t believe that she’s faced much discrimination as an actress, director Elizabeth Sung thinks that isn’t the case for most Asian American actors. “Brenda is a special case,” she says about the young girl she discovered in 1995. “Her talent cuts through all doors—it just knocks them down. It’s credit to Brenda’s unique talent.” Even at six years old, Brenda told Sung on the set of “Requiem” that she wanted to be a director one day. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s a show-runner one day,” says Sung. “She will be the role model that inspires a lot more young Brendas to come.”
How does Brenda feel about being a role model to young girls everywhere, from budding Disney stars to young Asian American girls with dreams of acting? “Oh goodness,” she says. “I hope I can set a good example. If I can do it, anyone can. I’m living my dream every single day.”
See more of Brenda Song’s Snapchat antics here: