Celebrity kids will be kids

By Veronica Schmidt

Tony Blair, Martin Sheen and now John Key – the prime minister has joined the ranks of famous fathers everywhere as the antics of their offspring put them in the public spotlight

Stephie Key in a self-portrait shot as part of her studies in photography at the Paris College of Art.
Stephie Key in a self-portrait shot as part of her studies in photography at the Paris College of Art.

The sushi was strategically placed, the French fries covered what they were meant to and if Stephanie Key had been someone else's daughter the world would have ticked on undisturbed. Instead, the naked pictures shot for her Parisian design course became a global talking point this week after they were revealed in the Herald on Sunday, and John Key became the latest in a long line of famous fathers to watch the spotlight swivel toward his offspring.

He is in good company - Tony Blair, Martin Sheen and Sir Paul Holmes have all fielded questions about their children's behaviour - but Key got lucky: his daughter's arty shots were easy to defend. The drug habits, car crashes and arrests that usually land celebrity's children in the headlines are harder to brush off.

Why is the behaviour of celebrity's children so colourful so often? "I don't think it is," says registered psychologist Sara Chatwin. "They are simply scrutinised more closely.

"Unfortunately when they make a slip-up, like we all make, theirs are public," she says.

Very public. Here is our top 10.


10. Euan Blair

There is never a good time to be found by the police, drunk and vomiting on the pavement, but Euan Blair's timing was excruciatingly bad.

It was 2000 and his father, Tony Blair, was Prime Minister. He had just begun a war on drunk and disorderly behaviour, declaring that the police should be able to give on-the-spot fines to wayward drinkers. No wonder when 16-year-old Euan's end of exams celebration ended in arrest he decided to lie about his identity. What a shame he was carrying ID ...

9. Carrick Graham

After some life training, Carrick Graham now works in crisis management.
After some life training, Carrick Graham now works in crisis management.

The only thing worse than crashing your father's car is crashing your father's work car then ending up in the headlines for doing so. Carrick Graham was 23 and his father, Doug Graham, was a respected senior Cabinet minister, when the young man smashed up the ministerial limo while driving in Auckland's Domain, then fled the accident scene.

Carrick appeared in court charged with making a false statement to police, and got diversion. Themedia attention that followed was perhaps good training for his future career - he now works in crisis management.

8. Dylan Norgate

Dylan Norgate. Photo / Janna Dixon
Dylan Norgate. Photo / Janna Dixon

The former head of Fonterra, Craig Norgate, must have considered moving suburbs in 2009 after it was revealed that his son, Dylan, was one of Auckland's most prolific taggers. The 19-year-old spray-painted the word SPEKT liberally across East Auckland - including Mission Bay,where his parents lived.

7. Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus twerking it. Photo / Getty Images
Miley Cyrus twerking it. Photo / Getty Images

Goodness knows just how achy and breaky Billy Ray Cyrus' heart is right now. The country singer's daughter was once known as the sweet child star of Hannah Montana, but this week became infinitely more famous for introducing the masses to "twerking". Performing at the MTV Music Video Awards, Miley Cyrus stripped to flesh-coloured, latex underwear before channelling an oversexed labrador. With her tongue hanging from her mouth, she bent over and reversed into the crotch of married musician Robin Thicke before using an oversized foam finger to indicate her own nether regions.

6. Tristan Barker

Tristan Barker, internet troll. Photo / Stephen Parker
Tristan Barker, internet troll. Photo / Stephen Parker

Kiwi drummer Michael Barker should be known for his accomplished music career with Split Enz and the Michael Butler Trio but for the past year he has mostly been referred to as "the father of that internet troll". Tristan Baker's prolific and contentious online outpourings about suicide victims, public displays of grief and 9/11-not to mention his assault on a journalist - have captured media attention and divided opinion. Police have labelled the 18-year-old "a blight on society"while his enormous teen following - and father - have defended him as "misunderstood" and a "satirist".

5. Millie Elder

Millie Elder. Photo / NZPA
Millie Elder. Photo / NZPA

The late Sir Paul Holmes bounced back from controversy many times during his long broadcasting career but in 2001 he faced a crisis he couldn't control: his step-daughter Millie Elder got hooked on P. Her four-year-long addiction, her relationship with a gang associate, and the chaos that accompanied it, played out in public with Sir Paul watching from afar during a two-year estrangement. Elder-Holmes eventually beat her addiction and the pair reconciled before his death.

4. Mark Lyon

Mark Lyon. Photo / NZ Herald
Mark Lyon. Photo / NZ Herald

A prominent and wealthy New Zealand businessman, Cliff Lyon seemed to have raised a chip off the old block when his son, Mark, became a successful property developer and multi-millionaire in his early 20s. Then Mark discovered methamphetamine. A string of mysterious fires at his properties in 2002 caught the media's attention and his chaotic life of gangs, criminal charges and court appearances has played out across the pages of the country's newspapers ever since.

3. Patti Davis

Ronald Reagan won the 1981 and 1985 presidential races but his conservative politics never won over his daughter. A liberal, Patti Reagan dismissed his political views and his personal legacy, dropping his surname for her mother's maiden name. Then came the drug problem, the Playboy cover and the unflattering book about life with her parents.

2. Charlie Sheen

No father imagines his son will grow up and declare himself a warlock. The actor Martin Sheen must have thought his child would be the last to do such a thing after Charlie Sheen followed him into showbiz, winning big roles, nabbing prestigious awards and making buckets of money as the star of TV show Two and a Half Men. In 2011, just as Sheen snr had to promote a new film, Sheen jnr melted down publicly and stupendously. He flitted in and out of rehab, lost his job, gained two live-in lovers and used social media to tell the world that he was a warlock with tiger blood and Adonis DNA.

1. There could be only one: Prince Harry

What happened in Vegas most certainly did not stay in Vegas.
What happened in Vegas most certainly did not stay in Vegas.

His grandfather has insulted almost every race on the planet during his long and gaffe-prone run as the Queen's consort. His father was recorded telling his lover that he would like to be her tampon. But Prince Harry managed to upstage them both on a trip to Las Vegas last year when he revealed the crown jewels during a game of a strip billiards in a hotel suite. What happened in Vegas most certainly did not stay in Vegas after the royal rear-end turned up on the internet and was on the front page of Britain's biggest tabloid.

- Herald on Sunday

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