Inside Martha Stewart's Relationship With Daughter Alexis Stewart

Martha Stewart is the first woman in the United States to have become a self-made billionaire, according to Fortune. She created an empire that continues to sell the picture-perfect suburban dream. From publishing bestselling cookbooks to making countless television appearances, Stewart's reputation even managed to bounce back after a stint in prison for insider trading, reemerging with her company's stock doubling, per ABC News. However, all this success seems to have come at a cost to her family life. 


According to Martha's only child, Alexis Stewart, life at home was difficult, as Martha was far from the nurturing mother figure publicly portrayed. Alexis, born in 1965 to Martha and her then-husband Andrew Stewart, said she struggled to please her mother, who had high expectations: "If I didn't do something perfectly, I had to do it again ... I grew up with a glue gun pointed at my head," she wrote in her 2011 tell-all book, "Whateverland: Learning to Live Here" (via ABC News).

Despite the strained relationship, Alexis has followed in her famous mom's footsteps in some ways. Like Martha, Alexis graduated from Barnard College, a division of Columbia University, and also pursued a television career on a TV show called "Whatever, Martha," according to Distractify. Here's a closer look at the pair's complicated mother-daughter relationship.


Alexis' home life far was from domestic bliss

When Martha's 29-year marriage to Andrew Stewart ended in a bitter divorce in 1990, it caused a rift between the mother and daughter. Martha revealed that she was too busy working and did not make time for her only child, and the minute Alexis could "leave home and go to boarding school, she did," Martha told People.


Alexis Stewart said that her mother had a "very hands-off approach to child rearing" (via ABC News). She explained that she lived in the shadow of her mom's fame. "I don't think my mother ever thought of me as her little girl," Alexis told biographer ​​Jerry Oppenheimer (via The New York Times). "It's like the movie star with the boyfriend and nobody knows who he is. That's me."

Alexis' father, Andrew, confessed that he and his ex-wife "did a poor job as parents," according to People. Andrew said both he and his ex-wife were too involved in their careers and home that neither of them spent much time with their daughter. 

Alexis struggled to meet her mother's standards

Martha Stewart's perfectionism has been celebrated for years. After all, the lifestyle guru built a brand based on making people's homes look and feel beautiful. However, Martha's need for constant perfection reportedly made her incredibly frustrating to work for — with multiple accounts of Martha's outbursts when things did not go her way. "Martha walked in [to a board meeting] with a pot, slammed it on the table, and goes, 'This is crap. I don't want my name on it,'" one of Martha's employees recalled to New York Magazine.


According to Alexis, Martha also pressured her to meet her unreasonable expectations at home. "Martha does everything better! You can't win! If I didn't do something perfectly, I had to do it again," Alexis wrote in her book, "Whateverland: Learning to Live Here" (via Fox News). Martha's daughter said that even as a child she was not even allowed to sit on her bed in case she messed up the bedspread, according to Business Insider. She also claimed her mother had such high standards that she would use new clothes to "bribe her to sit up straight."

Martha wasn't the type of mom who cooked or wrapped presents

Famous for her cookbooks and gift-wrapping guides, Martha Stewart surprisingly avoided these tasks at home and even outsourced them to her daughter, according to Alexis Stewart. "Martha was not interested in being kid-friendly," Alexis wrote in "Whateverland: Learning to Live Here" (via Fox News). "She would hand me things right before Christmas and say, 'Now wrap these but don't look inside.'" Alexis also lamented that Halloween was a disappointment. Her mother never took her trick-or-treating, and she wrote that the family even turned off the lights and pretended not to be home.


While Martha Stewart fans may dream of enjoying one of her legendary home-cooked meals, according to her daughter, these meals were nonexistent in her home. "There was never anything to eat at my house," Alexis shared in her book (via ABC News). "Other people had food. I had no food  ... There were ingredients but no prepared food of any kind."

Martha is not always a welcome guest at her daughter's home

Alexis Stewart shockingly recalled how her famous mom, the lifestyle guru, would always leave the door open when she used the bathroom. "I remember saying, 'You know, now I have friends over! You can't do that anymore! It's gotta stop! My friends' parents don't do it! Give me a break here! I don't feel like being embarrassed!"' Alexis claimed in "Whateverland: Learning to Live Here," via ABC News.


With so many embarrassing childhood memories stemming from her mom's disregard for her feelings, it's no wonder that Alexis prefers not to invite her mother to dinner parties as an adult. Alexis felt that her mother's vocal criticism of meals makes her an undesirable guest. "My mother will occasionally complain that I don't invite her over for dinner," Alexis wrote. "But can you blame me? Because, sometimes this is what will happen: Whatever I serve, she will sip it, taste it, make a face, and push it away."

Martha's time behind bars brought the pair closer

Martha Stewart has openly admitted that she and her daughter have a tumultuous relationship. However, she has claimed that they still care deeply about each other. "Our relationship has always been a difficult mother-daughter relationship," Martha told People. "Difficult, but she would do anything for me, and I would do anything for her." 


A turning point for Martha and Alexis Stewart's relationship happened during Martha's time in Virginia federal prison, according to ABC News. They even went on to star in the TV series "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" after Martha was released. A source allegedly close to the pair claimed that, like all mother-daughter relationships, Martha and Alexis have their highs and lows. "When they spend time together, it's rarely good," the source told New York Magazine. "Still, if anyone says a bad word about Martha, even if she's in a period of not loving her, Alexis is like a mama cat with her baby. She's deeply protective of her mother's legacy."

Martha has a relationship with Alexis' children

Alexis Stewart, having divorced lawyer John Cuti in 2004, decided to go the single-parent route. In 2011, her daughter Jude entered the world via a surrogate. The new mom then welcomed her son Truman, also via surrogate birth, a year afterward and two days before Jude's birthday. Martha was excited to become a grandmother twice within such a short time and let everyone know about it on Twitter.


Following that, Martha hosted Jude and Truman's 2014 birthday party with a very special guest in attendance: Elmo from "Sesame Street." That party was written up in Martha Stewart Living. The proud grandmother also posted a photo of Jude's 12th birthday party on Instagram in March 2023, although she may or may not have been there in person. It was a "sparty," and the tweens relaxed with spa robes, face masks, and mani/pedis.

That same month, Martha and Jude were photographed together at the "Life of Pi" Broadway opening in Manhattan's Schoenfeld Theater. Grandmom and granddaughter posed together on the red carpet — they have similar facial features and hair coloring, and both wore black. And although her grandson Truman might be more camera-shy, Martha published a photo of him on his 7th birthday on her blog, gushing about his intelligence and soccer skills.