Chet Hanks is opening up about what it was like growing up as Tom Hanks’ son.
In a video introducing his new YouTube channel Tuesday, Hanks, 31, addressed his famous upbringing because it’s “the No. 1 question” people often ask him – including Former President George W. Bush, who Hanks said he met as a 14-year-old during a family visit to the White House.
“There’s a lot of advantages, but sometimes it can be pretty weird,” Hanks recalled answering Bush’s question at the time.
Hanks said his privileged background has afforded him opportunities to “travel the world, stay in nice hotels, fly in private planes” and that he wouldn’t change the circumstances of his life. “I love my parents,” he said of dad Tom Hanks and mom Rita Wilson. “I wouldn’t want any different parents, and I wouldn’t want any different life, so I’m very grateful and blessed for all that.”
But growing up famous can be “a double-edged sword,” Hanks said, and “it’s a lot more complicated” than people realize.
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“You’ve got to keep in mind that fame is the most powerful drug known to man,” Hanks said. “It can also be the most destructive. People are infatuated with fame: They put famous people on a pedestal.
“Everybody wants to be famous. It creates a lot of jealousy, a lot of envy. Everyone is doing whatever they can to become famous. We think that it’s going to validate us, and I’ve been guilty of that too. But the truth is that seeking validation from fame and from others only amplifies your misery. True validation can only come from within yourself.”
Hanks said people often perceived him as a “really arrogant, entitled, spoiled brat,” and said these preconceived notions took a toll on him emotionally.
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“People would make up their minds about me before they even got a chance to know me, and it was extremely hard to break down their wall, so I encountered a lot of disdain, a lot of animosity, a lot of negativity because everybody was just prepared to hate my guts,” Hanks said.
Hanks added that this perception of him couldn’t be farther from how he was raised.
“I’m very privileged, but I wasn’t spoiled,” Hanks said. “My parents didn’t spoil me; I was never just given money or an allowance. I had to work and earn everything that I’ve made, and it’s been that way for my entire life.”
Hanks has three siblings: brothers Colin, 44 and Truman, 25, and sister Elizabeth Ann, 39.
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Hanks said it took growing up and learning to accept that other people’s perceptions of him are a “reflection of themselves.”
“I’ve changed my life,” Hanks said in his YouTube video, before addressing his past struggles with substance abuse as a teenager. “I no longer have gone down that self-destructive road of dealing with my anger and my resentment by self-destructing, by pleasure-seeking through partying, drugs, alcohol, substances, everything. “
In addition to his YouTube channel, Hanks has launched Hanx Fit, a fitness program. Hanks has also dabbled in music and acting , appearing in TV shows such as “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Empire” and “Shameless,” and rapping under the name Chet Haze.
“Now I’m 31 years old, and I’m just now getting to the point where I’m starting to truly feel that I don’t really have anything to prove to anyone,” Hanks said. “All in all, I’m really happy, and I’m really blessed. I’ve learned a lot about myself.”
In March 2021, Hanks was sued for $1 million by ex-girlfriend Kiana Parker, following allegations of physical and mental abuse.
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Contributing: Maria Puente, Arienne Thompson, USA TODAY staff
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Chet Hanks talks growing up with famous parents Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson