How the Baldwin Brothers Survived 30 Years of Hollywood
For more than 30 years, the four Baldwin brothers have been in the Hollywood spotlight, along with the rest of their clan.
How the Baldwin Brothers Survived 30 Years of Hollywood
For a period of time in the ’80s and ’90s, a Baldwin was on every screen — and in every tabloid. Alec, William, Daniel and Stephen Baldwin had taken Hollywood by storm.
And for more than 30 years, the four brothers have remained hardworking actors, continuing to put hours in front of the camera despite many high-profile troubles, including drug abuse, divorce and anger management issues. And Alec's more recent involvement in the "Rust" film shooting incident brought this family back into the spotlight.
But if you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the Baldwin brothers and the rest of their clan, here's a look at a variety of biographical tidbits spanning the entire Baldwin family.
Baldwin Brothers' Humble Origins
The Baldwins grew up at 32 West Iroquois Street in Massapequa, N.Y. Between the four boys and two daughters, the home was understandably rowdy, and the brothers frequently impersonated the townsfolk in acting skits, according to their neighbor Corey Kilgannon. Their father was a former Marine and high school social studies teacher. Their mother was a homemaker, and between six children, money was tight.
But their father was willing to sacrifice: In a reflective piece for “Huffington Post,” Alec wrote that when he and Daniel wanted to play tennis, but knew there wasn’t enough money, his father surprised them both with rackets. “The man who would not resole his shoes had given us the rackets. That was my dad,” he said.
The Baldwin brothers each took to acting as young men. The two sisters, Jane Baldwin-Sasso and Elizabeth Baldwin Keuchler, have mainly stayed out of the limelight.
After high school, Alec (the second oldest Baldwin) briefly attended George Washington University where he studied political science, before he decided to switch majors and schools, enrolling in New York University to study drama. He landed his first acting gig on an NBC daytime soap opera called “The Doctors” in 1980.
The television and movie star has had starring roles in movies like “Glengarry Glen Ross,” “Beetlejuice,” “The Hunt for Red October” and “The Departed,” but he is perhaps best known for his recent role on “30 Rock” and his recurring gig as Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.”
Stephen is the youngest Baldwin. Right after high school, he decided to follow in his big brother’s footsteps and attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, looking to get into Hollywood.
And it worked: He got his big break by landing a role in the 1995 film “The Usual Suspects.” However, he may be best remembered for the 1996 slapstick comedy “Bio-Dome,” in which he co-starred alongside Pauly Shore. He can be seen on bit roles in films and television, and has appeared on reality shows such as Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” and the U.K.’s “Big Brother.” Stephen is a diehard born-again Christian; during his tenure on “Big Brother” he was convinced that he saw demons in two of his housemates, he told The Guardian.
William Baldwin, one of the family's middle children, graduated with a degree in political science from Binghamton University. After a brief internship on Capitol Hill for a democratic congressman, he went on to model for Calvin Klein and Nike. William nabbed his first acting gig on the television movie called “The Preppie Murders,” in which he played a strangler. However, his breakout role is arguably Joe Hurley in the 1990 thriller “Flatliners," followed by a starring role in the 1991 big-budget hit “Backdraft” alongside Kurt Russell.
William is still a hardworking actor and can be seen in television shows like “Gossip Girl” and “Too Old to Die Young.” He’s set to reprise his role as Brian McCaffrey in “Backdraft II.”
Daniels is also one of the middle children in the family. Eight years out of high school, Daniel nabbed his first acting role in the 1988 made-for-television film “Too Good to Be True.” He appeared in several movies afterward, but may be remembered best for his role on “Homicide: Life on the Street,” in which he had a starring role for three seasons. (And who could forget his stellar performance in “The Sopranos,” in which he plays a pseudo Tony Soprano in Christopher’s fictional mob movie?)
Daniel is still a hardworking actor, and has appeared in 130 (and counting) television shows and movies.
The Baldwin Brothers Seem to Breed Models
Several of the Baldwin daughters have gone into modeling careers, just like William. Stephen’s daughter, Hailey Baldwin, has modeled for Vogue, Marie Claire, Tommy Hilfiger and H&M. Her older sister, Alaia, is a model signed with New York City–based modeling firm State Management and has previously worked with Major Models.
Ireland Baldwin, daughter of Alec and Kim Basinger, has modeled for Vanity Fair, DuJour, Guess and True Religion Jeans. She recently posed naked for a PETA ad, just like her mother had done 24 years earlier.
Justin Bieber Is Now a Baldwin
Everyone’s favorite (or not-so-favorite) teenage heartthrob singer Justin Bieber is married to Hailey. The two made headlines in July when Bieber reportedly proposed to the young Baldwin at a restaurant in the Bahamas with a ring estimated to cost $500,000. They officially wed in 2018, and reportedly renewed their vows in 2020.
Alec Is the Richest
It’s difficult to gauge just how much money the Baldwins have, but the lion's share clearly comes from Alec. He is worth around $65 million and is rumored to have commanded $300,000 per episode of “30 Rock.” His appearance on SNL, however, is just a passion project, earning him only $1,400 per taping in comparison.
Wealth and Financial Difficulties
While the wealth of Daniel, William and Stephen barely matches their oldest brother’s, it seems like they’re doing just fine. Daniel’s net worth is estimated at $400,000, while William has an estimated net worth of $500,000, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Stephen has had financial issues in the past — the born-again actor filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, owing $70,000 in credit card debt, $1 million in back taxes and $1.2 million in mortgage payments for a home worth $1.1 million. According to a 2017 article in the Daily Mail, Stephen is still on the hook for that million-dollar mortgage, and his home had been auctioned off for $100.
Maybe he’s doing better now, though? Celebrity Net Worth pegs his net worth at $500,000. Hailey Baldwin, now Hailey Bieber, is now the richest Baldwin by far, considering her husband is worth around $265 million.
Daniel Baldwin Has His Own Radio Show
While Daniel is still a hardworking actor, he also hosts his own local radio show in Syracuse, N.Y., for WTLA ESPN. It’s an hour-long show that’s as much about sports as it is about entertainment. In March 2018, Alec called in in full-Trump persona, complaining about Alec Baldwin in a meta-sketch. You can listen to that here.
They’re Politically Split
Trump was a divisive president, and the Baldwin family is a microcosm of this country’s political divide. Alec, who is highly critical of Trump, and Stephen, an avid Trump supporter, haven’t spoken since the 2016 elections.
While Hailey also said that her father’s political views were a contentious issue, she told The Sunday Times that she “would never let politics get in the way of my family.”
They’ve Had Their Share of Divorces
While William and Stephen have both been married since the 1990s, Alec and Daniel have had a little more trouble. Daniel Baldwin has been divorced three times, first from his high school sweetheart, Cheryl, whom he split from in the 1980s. In 1990, he married actress Elizabeth Baldwin — who still carries his last name — but the two divorced in the mid-1990s. He then had a child with his “Homicide: Life on the Street” co-star Isabella Hofmann in 1996, but the two never married. He married model Joanne Smith in 2006, and the two stayed together until 2016. In total, Daniel has five children.
Alec’s most high-profile divorce came in 2002, after a nine-year marriage to Kim Basinger. The two met in 1990 while filming the movie “The Marrying Man,” in which the two played on-screen lovers. According to People, the two had an explosive chemistry, where they frequently engaged in heated arguments, slammed doors and threw phones when the cameras weren’t rolling. He married Hilaria Thomas in 2012, and the two are still married.
Substance Abuse Problems
Daniel and Alec are also infamous for their vices, which have impacted their personal lives, financially and otherwise.
In 1998 at the age of 37, Daniel was arrested in the Plaza Hotel in New York; police found him in a trashed hotel room, naked, bloody and muttering his name; two crack pipes were also found. He was arrested in 2006 in Santa Monica, Calif., for drug possession. Earlier that year, he crashed a rented car into two parked cars in Los Angeles.
Daniel told “Primetime” that he was addicted to cocaine, starting at the age of 29 when he was acting in the 1989 sitcom “Sydney,” where he was making $15,000 a week, more money than he had ever seen in his life. But after numerous stints in rehab, he seems to have finally kicked his addiction.
Alec, too, has had issues with drugs, although he kept them private. Alec says he abused drugs and overdosed before the age of 27, but he finally stopped using.
And Anger Issues
Alec’s anger problems are also well known, and they famously came to light after a years-long custody battle with Basinger over their daughter, Ireland. In 2007, a voicemail recording in which he vociferously berated his daughter was released. Baldwin contends he spent more than $1 million in a custody battle over the years, and his anger culminated in that phone call. In 2017, he said it had caused a “permanent” break in their relationship. However, the two seem to be working through it now. During an Alec Baldwin roast on Spike TV, Ireland cracked some jokes — at her dad’s expense — about the incident.
There are more incidents, of course. Baldwin allegedly punched a New York Daily News photographer in the face for photographing him and his wife after they had obtained their marriage license in New York City. (And he’s had several other confrontations with the paparazzi throughout the years).
They Have a Breast Cancer Charity
The Baldwin Matriarch, Carol Baldwin, is an 88-year-old breast cancer survivor and founder of the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center at the Stony Brook Cancer Center in Stony Brook, N.Y. It is a family-supported charity, but like many things with the Baldwin name attached, it has had some controversy involved — even if it may not be warranted.
There was controversy in 2013 when Elizabeth Baldwin Keuchler, Baldwin sister and the center’s executive director, was accused of pocketing half of the charity’s revenue as payment by Radar Online. However, according to The Post-Standard, which published the charity’s tax returns in full, those numbers were misleading because they were post-expenditures. According to The Post-Standard, the Baldwin’s charity made $1.6 million in revenue, meaning Keuchler’s pay made up 15 percent of its budget.
Stephen Baldwin Has a Hannah Montana Tattoo
In 2007, Stephen met Miley Cyrus — then known for her kid-friendly Hannah Montana show — at an event. While talking about Stephen’s many tattoos, Cyrus jokingly told Stephen to get a Hannah Montana tattoo. Stephen agreed — his daughters were big fans of Cyrus — on the condition that he would appear on the show.
So, he actually got one! It’s an “HM” initialing near his left shoulder that looks like it may have been done in prison. The funniest part? He never did get onto the show, probably because Cyrus forgot about the whole thing. Needless to say, he regrets getting the tattoo.