Ryan Phillippe’s rise to fame could be attributed to his roles in the soap opera One Life to Live and teen film cult classics, including Cruel Intentions and I Know What You Did Last Summer. These days, the longtime actor is making headlines related to how much his children, especially son Deacon Reese, 17, whom he shares with ex-wife Reese Witherspoon, look like him.
Along with his doppelgänger son, the actor is dad to two other children: Ava Elizabeth, 21, whom he also shares with former wife Reese, and Kai, 10, whom he shares with actress and ex Alexis Knapp. Ryan and Reese were previously married between 1999 and 2008, welcoming their two children prior to their divorce. He welcomed his third child, a daughter, with Alexis in 2011 following their 2010 split.
Below is everything you should know about the actor’s three children.
Ava Elizabeth Phillippe
At 21, Ava is the oldest child of Ryan and Reese. Ava is close to her parents. Reese has previously revealed to Jay Leno that she named her daughter after famed actress Ava Gardner. “To me, she was the only woman who could break Sinatra,” she said. “So the idea of that name to me is very classy and strong.” Ava, who would often attend premieres with her doppelgänger mom, is currently a student at UC Berkley and will soon head into her senior year. While on Ellen in 2019, Reese admitted to getting incredibly emotional when her daughter left for college.
“I might have gone into her empty room, laid down on her bed and cried when she went to college,” the actress said. It isn’t clear what Ava is studying, but she has dabbled in notable things prior to even graduating, including modeling for Rodarte’s Fall/Winter 2018 portrait series alongside major stars, such as Rowan Blanchard, Tessa Thompson, and Kirsten Dunst. The eldest child of Ryan and Reese is also an artist, having shared impressive paintings, sculptures, and photographs that she has done on her Instagram page. In a Draper James blog post, Reese gushed about her daughter’s “strong opinions” and “empathy.”
“From the time that she could speak, Ava has always had her own ideas, and I love to watch her express herself,” the actress said. “She also cares deeply about her family and the world around her. She frequently educates me on news stories and issues young women are facing.”
Deacon Reese Phillippe
At 17, Deacon is the youngest child of Ryan and Reese. The teen is a musical artist — one who performs under just the singular name Deacon — who infuses his love of EDM and country music to create a unique sound. And while Deacon is still a high school student at Pacific Palisades Charter High School, he recently scored a major contract last year for his budding music career: a record contract with Sony Music. He released his debut track “Long Run” in July 2020 and his second, “Love For the Summer” with Loren Gray, a few months later in October 2020.
In his conversation with Interview mag last December, Deacon opened up about the decision to foray into music — and whether he would ever consider acting, given the careers of his famous parents and all. “When I was listening to the radio in the car with my dad, something just clicked,” he said. “I realized there’s more to making music than just being a vocalist, and that a lot of times it’s the production that makes me feel something. I asked my dad about how it works, and he taught me all the stuff he knew, and then I started watching YouTube videos.”
As for the whole acting thing: “That’s definitely something I’m interested in,” Deacon said. But some of the downfalls of fame is something he has always been familiar with. “From the time I was really young, I remember paparazzi being around,” Deacon continued. “I don’t really know what it’s like not to be seen by the public.” Like his sister, Deacon is close to his parents. He’s often seen working out or vacationing with Ryan: the two traveled to Mexico earlier this week and soaked in a hot spring.
At 10, Kai is Ryan’s youngest child, although the actor has never publicly discussed his youngest daughter before. At the time of Kai’s arrival in 2011, reports on whether Ryan was actually the father of the child of his former partner was up in the air. (The two briefly dated in 2010 prior to the pregnancy.) But various reports did note that the actor was in the delivery room when Alexis gave birth. At the time, a source told PEOPLE that the actress was “doing great” post-birth. A separate source told the outlet a few months prior to baby Kai’s arrival: “Ryan is aware of the situation [and] totally prepared to take responsibility should the child be his.” Not much else is known about the actor’s third child.