Meet Annette Bening And Warren Beatty's Four Children

There once was a time when Warren Beatty was considered an indefatigable bachelor, incapable of settling down with one woman and starting a family. Linked with everyone from tragic figure Natalie Wood to Annie Hall herself, aka Diana Keaton, Warren even had a fling with former first lady Jackie Kennedy. That all changed, however, when he met fellow actor Annette Bening in 1990. At the age of 54, the avowed lothario became a father for the first time when he and Bening welcomed their first son, Stephen Ira Beatty, in 1991. With an age gap of 21 years and a union that's lasted over a quarter of a century, Beatty and Bening's marriage is among the most successful age-gap relationships in Hollywood.

The couple soon welcomed three more children together — Benjamin, Isabel, and Ella Beatty — with reformed bad boy Warren Beatty settling comfortably into domestic life. "I always felt I wasn't trying to avoid marriage," he explained on "Today." "I was trying to avoid divorce. ... The most important thing that's ever happened — the best thing that's ever happened to me — was Annette and having four kids."

Though having two super successful parents carries its own inherent career and lifestyle benefits, the Beatty kids are more than mere nepo babies. The quartet are making their own mark on the world, from activism to pursuing acting careers on their own terms. Let's meet Annette Bening and Warren Beatty's four children.

Warren Beatty and Annette Bening are proud of their transgender son, Stephen

The eldest child of Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, Stephen Ira Beatty, came out as transgender at 14. Warren and Bening are incredibly supportive of their son, with the former waxing lyrical about him in a 2016 chat with Vanity Fair. "He's a revolutionary, a genius, and my hero," he declared.

Bening is equally proud, though she admitted in a sit-down with The Hollywood Reporter that she was ignorant of transgender issues when Stephen first came out (Stephen had previously stated that he survived conversion therapy). "He's someone I do admire," she said, "and I've learned a lot from when he first came out ... I, like every other parent, want to protect my kids and make sure they're OK, and I had a lot of learning to do."

For many years, Bening declined to talk about Stephen in interviews in order to protect his privacy. However, she opened up about his coming out in a chat with AARP in 2019, acknowledging the obstacles often faced by trans people. "He's managed something that's very challenging with great style and great intelligence," she reflected. As Bening explained during an appearance on "The View," she decided to start publicly discussing Stephen's transgender identity as she felt that her silence was doing a disservice to him, as well as the LGBTQ community. The "Nyad" star explained that anti-trans legislation spurred her to start being more vocal in her support for Stephen.

Like his parents, Stephen Ira Beatty is a political activist

He may not have opted to become an actor like his famous mom and dad, but political activism is very much in Stephen Ira Beatty's blood. Like his parents — Warren has long been a champion of progressive causes, whereas Annette Benning has heavily criticized the Trump administration — Stephen has frequently used his platform to advocate for issues close to his heart. In 2011, Beatty, who is avowedly anti-racist and feminist, called out Sarah Lawrence College for deadnaming him and refusing to refer to him by his preferred name.

That year, he also criticized Cher's son, Chaz Bono, over comments that he made following his own coming out as a trans man. Bono made a number of statements that Beatty perceived as misogynistic, such as claims that increased levels of testosterone made him find feminine traits irritating. "I don't want any rich white trans guy . . . telling the media that testosterone made him a misogynist . . . he has some deep-seated misogyny to work through," Beatty wrote (via ABC News).

In 2013, Stephen appeared in a video for GLAAD to raise awareness of trans people's difficulties in accessing healthcare in New York. "I've always known that I wanted to move here for the city's vibrant artistic community," he explained. "As a trans person, I would hope that I'd be welcomed, but many trans people aren't because we don't have the basic healthcare coverage that we need to survive."

Stephen Ira Beatty is also a writer

Rather than following the same career path as his thespian parents, Stephen Ira Beatty has embraced a literary life. From a young age, he displayed an aptitude for writing. "You may have noticed I tend to be a little young to be doing the things I do," the then 20-year-old told We Happy Trans (via HuffPost) of his politically-charged literary ambitions in 2012. "I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do but let time pass."

In 2022, The Paris Review published "How to Wash Your Hands," Beatty's stream-of-consciousness meditation on his experiences of transphobia and homophobia. He also has a poetry zine, "This Zine Has Everything," which he offered to his Instagram followers for however much money they were able to pay in accordance with their needs. Praising Beatty's intellect and literary skills, Annette Bening has said that she can't help but marvel at her son. "Stephen has always been a highly literary person," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "I just read his latest poem that was just published; wow, it is so extraordinary. I'm so proud of him, and yes, he was in The Paris Review! ... He has carved his own way."

In addition to writing, he co-directed the experimental short film "I Have to Think of Us as Separate People," which featured at OutFest in 2019. The film explores the relationship between Beatty and co-director Christopher Berntsen, as trans and cis gay men respectively.

Benjamin Beatty is an actor

In 1994, Annette Bening and Warren Beatty had their second child, Benjamin Beatty. He was born prior to the release of the film "Love Affair," in which the couple starred. Benjamin was exposed to the film industry at just 6 months old, when he and his big brother visited the set of "The American President" to see their mom at work. At the time, Bening told the Los Angeles Times that she wouldn't be forgoing roles now that she had multiple children; rather, she wanted to balance motherhood with her work. "I couldn't be a person who's peaceful, good at home, unless I stay engaged," she explained.

After graduating from the pricey The Buckley School, Benjamin was accepted into Northwestern University in 2013, where he studied theater. Embracing being born into Tinseltown royalty, he embarked on an acting career of his own. In 2016, the then 22-year-old had a small role in the Coen Brothers' "Hail Caesar!", a homage to the golden age of Hollywood and its myriad scandals. Two years later, he appeared in the film "UFO" alongside Gillian Anderson. However, he has had no mainstream acting credits since then and is the most guarded of the Beatty-Bening kids.

He appears to be close to his family. In a 2016 sit-down with AARP, Warren declared that he was thrilled to be having dinner with Benjamin after the interview. "I'm an attentive father," he said. "I have to struggle somewhat not to be overly attentive."

Isabel Beatty is super close with her family

Annette Bening and Warren Beatty welcomed their daughter Isabel Beatty in 1997. At 17, she attended the 2014 Debutantes Ball in Paris, accompanied by her evidently proud and beaming mom. Speaking to Madame Figaro, she confessed that she was initially hesitant about being a debutante, but was swept away by the glitz and glamor of the occasion. "At first, I wasn't very enthusiastic about what I thought would be a somewhat boring aristocratic gathering," she said. "But it's ultimately very international, modern and fashionable! In Paris, what's more, It's magical." She also revealed that her mom is her idol. "She is the strong woman in my life," she added.

Isabel enjoys a close relationship with her parents and siblings, to whom she frequently pays tribute on social media. In 2021, she shared an Insta snap of the impressive Thanksgiving buffet she had prepared with her mom and younger sister Ella Beatty. Cooking for her family appears to be one of Isabel's favorite pastimes, as Stephen Beatty previously shared a photo of his little sister making him Christmas pudding. 

When Warren turned 85 in March 2022, he celebrated with Isabel and Benjamin Beatty, who could be seen hugging their dad in a wholesome photo uploaded to X. Later that year, Isabel paid a moving tribute to Ella on Instagram, following her graduation from Juilliard. "So proud of this beautiful renaissance woman," she wrote alongside a photo of herself and Ella embracing on the momentous occasion.

Isabel Beatty has no interest in watching her parents' movies

In a 2004 interview with The Washington Post, Warren Beatty revealed that Isabel Beatty, then aged just 7, was rather precocious. So precocious, in fact, that she was developing a habit of reading her father's bad reviews. "Daddy, what's the meanest thing anyone's ever written about you?" Warren recalled the quick-witted youngster asking him. "Daddy, were you once a brash and rumpled star?" Ouch.

Isabel's penchant for reading movie reviews was an early indicator of her own affinity for the film industry. Though she has acted in a number of short films, she ultimately hopes to venture into directing. Her parents encouraged her filmmaking aspirations, introducing her to arthouse directors. "I dream of being a director," she enthused to Madame Figaro. "My parents passed on to me an unconditional love for cinema. Harmony Korine and Terrence Malick are my mentors." In 2017, the then 20-year-old wrote for the improvisational comedy series "Quality Sketch." She has also expressed her solidarity with striking WGA members.

Despite her passion for film, Isabel has little interest in watching her parents' onscreen work, as Warren divulged in a 2016 interview with People. "Once in a while I'll say, 'Did you ever see such and such?' And they haven't," he mused. "I said to my 19-year-old last year, 'Have you ever seen Shampoo?' and she was like, 'Nooo.' So there's my legacy for you. At least around here."

Ella Beatty is a Juilliard graduate

Born in April 2000, Ella Beatty is the youngest child of Warren Beatty and Annette Bening. The previous month, a heavily pregnant Bening attended the Academy Awards with her husband, where host Billy Crystal joked (via the BBC), "Something they produced together may be released tonight."

Following some alleged campaigning by her parents, Ella was accepted into the prestigious Juilliard in 2018. When she went off to college, her parents became empty nesters. "I think we're both still adjusting to the quiet at home," Bening admitted to AARP. However, the acting vet still got to see her daughter during this time. In 2021, Ella shared an Insta snap of herself and her mom cuddling on the New York subway following her performance as Leonora in "God's Ear." "Getting to play alongside my family at Juilliard after almost four years of intensive training was insane," Ella wrote. While at Juilliard, Ella (much like her brother Stephen Beatty) exhibited her activist streak, advocating for the college to implement anti-racism initiatives.

Like Benjamin Beatty, Ella has followed in her parents' thespian footsteps, appearing in short film "The Big Special" during her time at college. Soon after her graduation in 2022, she scored a role in Ryan Murphy's "Feud: Capote vs. The Swans," which explores the real-life stories of Truman Capote's "Swans," i.e., the writer's socialite pals. She plays Kerry O'Shea, who became a lifelong friend of Capote following his romantic relationship with her father, John O'Shea (Russell Tovey).

Ella Beatty is best friends with her mom

In his aforementioned 2016 interview with People, Warren Beatty reflected on his greatest achievements, noting that he was most proud of welcoming his four kids into the world. "That's the biggest thing that's ever happened to me — and their mother," he said. "That's bigger than fame, and it came not a moment too soon."

But just as Warren and Annette Bening are proud of their kids, the quartet are equally as proud of their parents. Ella Beatty and Bening evidently share a close bond, and have been spotted on girly mom-and-daughter days out on numerous occasions. As Bening's doppelgänger, only time will tell if Ella will reach the esteemed career heights as her mother. But in any event, she is thrilled by her mom's continuing success and recognition.

When it was announced that Bening had been nominated for an Oscar for her role in "Nyad," Ella was ecstatic. "She's the best in life," she enthused to the Associated Press. "She's the best in her work ... She doesn't need a trophy to know that she's one of the best, but, you know, it's so meaningful to be recognized and I'm just so excited for her. She's my best friend."