Meryl Streep Believes Motherhood Is the "Best Kind of Challenge" — Meet Her 4 Kids
Meryl Streep may be one of the most celebrated actors of all time, but she considers motherhood her greatest role. It's also been her biggest challenge, according to her. When asked whether acting or parenting is harder, she told the Washington Post in 1998, "Mothering. Definitely."
Streep and her estranged husband, Don Gummer, whom she married in 1978 and has been reportedly separated from for more than six years, share four children together: son Henry and daughters Mamie, Grace, and Louisa, all of whom are the spitting image of the "Only Murders in the Building" star and have followed in her famous footsteps in one way or another. While one of Streep's kids went the musician route, the others share her acting background.
Through the years, Streep has remained private when it comes to her family life, though she's attended high-profile events with her children on a handful of occasions. She's also opened up about her hands-on parenting style, once telling Good Housekeeping in 2008, "Lecturing is what I do with my children, not listening. Lecturing, and ordering out." She also called motherhood, as well as marriage, "a balancing act," "especially when you have a job that you consider rewarding." She added, "It's a challenge but the best kind of challenge."
Streep has also prided herself on never parading her kids in the media, per a word of caution she heeded from her "Out of Africa" costar Robert Redford. "[He] taught me that when they were babies. 'They are not your props,'" she recalled to Good Housekeeping. "I really admired the way he protected his family. It's something I consciously emulated."
Learn more about Streep's grown-up kids ahead.
Henry Gummer, who also goes by Henry Wolfe (his middle name), was born on Nov. 13, 1979, in New York. He's Streep and Don's oldest child and only son. Compared to the rest of his family, Henry keeps a relatively low profile, as he didn't pursue acting like his iconic mom or sisters. Instead, he followed after music.
Henry told The New York Daily News in 2011, "For me, music was more stimulating from day to day. It was something that I didn't need to be working on a project to practice. I can do it whenever and I get satisfaction from completing songs that I never really got from acting."
Henry also doesn't like to speak much about his famous mom in the press, telling the outlet, "The fact that my mom is who she is can be overshadowing. Sometimes I worry that my story isn't good enough. Sure, my mom is part of the story and I don't get pissed when people ask me about her, but I wish I had something that could eclipse that as far as compelling story lines."
Per NY Daily News, Henry tried to study acting at one point but dropped out of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts after two years to focus on music, becoming a guitarist and songwriter. He's released a handful of projects and singles through the years. According to People, he had songs appear on soundtracks for a few of Streeps's movies — including "Julie and Julia" and "Ricki and the Flash." Henry is also married to wife Tamryn Gummer, whom he wed in 2019, and the pair have two children: a daughter, Ida June Gummer, born in 2020; and a son, Quinn William Gummer, who was born in 2022.
Mary "Mamie" Gummer, Streep and Don's oldest daughter, was born on Aug. 3, 1983, in New York City. Like her mom, Mamie is also an accomplished actor who's appeared in a dozen movies and TV shows — including some with Streep like "Evening" and "Ricki and the Flash." Her first time sharing the screen with her mother was in 1986 film "Heartburn" when she was only 20 months old, according to People. Mamie also dabbled in modeling in her 20s and scored a Broadway role in "Mr. Marmalade."
Mamie was previously married to fellow actor Ben Walker, whom she split from in 2013, per Us Weekly. She then welcomed her first child, a baby, with her now-husband, producer and writer Mehar Sethi, in February 2019, making her the first of Streep's children to make the actor a grandmother. Streep joked about her title to Interview Magazine in 2019, saying, "I've been working like mad for quite a while, so I'm getting ready for my first grandchild. My daughter's having a baby in February, so I'm going to go out and ruin her life. I specialize in unsolicited advice."
Grace Gummer, born in NYC on May 9, 1986, also caught the acting bug from her mother and older sister. According to People, her first role was playing a younger version of Streep's character in 1993's "House of Spirits," but her name was listed as Jane Grey to shield her real identity. Some of Grace's other credits include films like "Larry Crowne" with Tom Hanks, "Frances Ha," and "The Homesman." She's also appeared in TV shows like "American Horror Story," "Gigantic," "The Hot Zone," and, most recently, "Let the Right One In."
Aside from her onscreen roles and some red carpet appearances, Grace leads a pretty low-key life. Previously, she was married to musician and actor Tay Strathairn, though they separated a little over a month after tying the knot in 2019, per People. They divorced the following year. In June 2021, music producer Mark Ronson confirmed that he was engaged to Grace on his "The Fader Uncovered" podcast, and the two got married two months later. Then in March, Ronson's sister, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, revealed to People that the couple welcomed their first child together, a daughter.
Born Louisa Gummer in Los Angeles on June 12, 1991, Louisa Jacobson is Streep and Don's youngest child. According to People, she graduated from Vassar College, her mother and sister Grace's alma mater, in 2013 with a degree in psychology. She also earned a master's degree in acting from the Yale School of Drama and went to the British American Drama Academy in Oxford.
Unlike her older sisters, Louisa's acting career started out with stage plays before she made her onscreen debut in the 2019 TV movie "Gone Hollywood" with "Game of Thrones" alum Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. However, her big break came in 2022 when she starred in Max's period drama "The Gilded Age," which returns for its second season on Oct. 29.
Louisa has a lot of love for her famous mom, but during a March 2022 appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," she shared that sometimes Streep gets on her nerves — specifically when she uses her nickname, Pickle. "Even today, she was like, 'All right, Pickle, is the car coming for you?' She's like, 'Do you have everything you need? Is someone coming to pick you up from the theater?'" Louisa recalled. "I'm like, 'Yeah, Mom. I have it under control.' She's like, 'OK, yeah. Enough from me. Enough from me.'"