For decades, Academy Award-winning actress Laura Dern has beguiled fans and critics alike with her mesmerizing Hollywood performances. She’s known for inhabiting unusual, multi-dimensional characters, some of whom, as differently as they’re portrayed — from fearsome Renata in Big Little Lies to Little Women‘s iconic Marnie — possess one commonality: confronting the challenges of motherhood. Offscreen, Dern takes her mother role just as seriously. The actress shares two children with her ex-husband Ben Harper, Ellery and Jaya.
For seven years, Dern has tackled the challenges of motherhood without a partner by her side. Her divorce to musician Ben Harper, according to Country Living, became final in 2013. While being a single mother comes with its own unique set of challenges, Dern expressed to Boston Common that sometimes she’s her own worst enemy. With children who are not only similarly gorgeous (those genes!) but driven and socially conscious, it’s safe to say she’s mastered single parenting with aplomb — just as she has nearly everything else in life.
Laura Dern's son Ellery Harper has worked as a model
In February 2018, a sixteen-year-old Ellery Harper attended Calvin Klein’s spring fashion show with mom Laura at his side. Renowned menswear designer Raf Simons had, according to WWD, initially asked Ellery to walk in the show, but Harper said his dad “had other plans.” Dern confirmed that her ex-husband “wanted him to wait a little bit more.”
The very next year, Ellery took to the catwalk for Calvin Klein’s 2019 spring fashion show attired in head-to-toe Simons — a look that, according to W, subtly winked at the movie Jaws, and included a graduation cap. The outfit perhaps symbolized Ellery’s rite-of-passage into the grown-up world of high fashion. Now Dern’s lanky, chiseled son appears to have made his modeling dreams a reality: he’s currently represented by the prestigious, New York-based model management company DNA.
Although he’s set his professional pursuits on modeling, Ellery shares his father Ben Harper’s passion for music. His Instagram demonstrates that his tastes span multiple genres, whether he’s referencing Adele in the captions or informing his followers that he’s been “playing a lot of Black Flag” lately.
Laura Dern and her daughter Jaya love making TikToks together
Dern and teenage daughter Jaya share a unique, fun-loving bond, if TikTok is any indication. In December, the actress made a surprise appearance in her daughter’s dance clip to Doja Cat’s “Say So.” The clip concludes with high-energy Jaya, sporting cropped, wavy brown hair, a floral V-neck top and jeans, collapsing to the floor. She named it “Mom Takeover.”
Like her mother, Harper is committed to seeing social change in Hollywood, and among fellow U.S. teens. When she attended the Golden Globes with Dern two years ago, she told The New York Times, “I want my generation to not have to say #MeToo.” In Style declared Harper and Dern, both clad in Valentino, “without a hitch” the cutest mother-daughter duo of the night. Laura wore a #TimesUp ribbon on the red carpet to signify her support of a movement that’s committed to eradicating sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jaya also spoke at L.A.’s March for Our Lives rally in 2018, where she, together with Dern, publicly condemned gun violence.
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