“I was dealt a really sh*tty random card, but I’m not gonna let that destroy me,” she continued, adding, “In fact, I’m gonna use it to fuel me.”
Tessa Gourin, an actor who is 28 years old, resembles her Oscar-winning actor father Jack Nicholson to a T. Although it is well known that the actor is the father of five other children from four separate women, he has never acknowledged Gourin as his daughter in public and hasn't been around her since she was a young girl. “From a very young age, my mother told me not to tell anyone that I have this famous dad,” Gourin tells The Daily Beast. “I knew he was powerful and Daddy Warbucks-level rich, so I kind of equated my life to being like Orphan Annie’s,” she added.
Gourin shared that Nicholson "wasn't interested" in seeing her when she was a youngster, despite the fact that he paid for her early schooling, as she mentioned to the newspaper that called her the "spitting image" of the actor, per PEOPLE. “My mom wanted me to have a relationship with him, but he said he wasn’t interested,” Gourin said.
“When you’re a child, you don’t have a choice where you’re going, so if your mom is pushing you on someone who’s technically your father and he agrees to see you for anywhere between one hour and a couple of days, that’s where you’re going to go. I don’t know this person very well, we’ll just say that,” she elaborated. “Look, I was raised by a single mother in a really intense, nuanced situation,” Gourin shared of her childhood. She added, “I grew up in private schools, which I am appreciative of, but my home life wasn’t great, so I don’t feel as though I really even got the full benefit of a good education. I was so all over the place with processing my life. I was acting out. But granted, I’m not saying, ‘Poor me, I grew up so poor.’ I was completely fine. My mother indulged me.”
Although she always wanted to act, she was scared of upsetting her father by crossing into the acting territory or even being blacklisted by others. “I’ve wanted to act my entire life,” Gourin says, and her mother also did not really let her act. “My mom wouldn’t let me act when I was younger, and I can respect that, but I’m like, ‘F***, I would have killed it,’” Gourin said.
At the height of the "nepo babies" debate on the internet, she wrote a piece in Newsweek explaining how it felt for her to sit on the sidelines. “Having grown up without my father, I’ve sat on the sidelines and watched in frustration as other celebrity children have seamlessly secured roles or been signed to huge agencies,” Gourin wrote in the piece.
When questioned if she had ever learned the reason her father had chosen to spend so little time in her life, she said, “I formed my own opinion. He’s a complicated person, and I think my mom fights her own demons, and with the combination of the two, I was simply collateral damage.” She concluded on a motivational note, adding, “I was dealt a really sh*tty random card, but I’m not gonna let that destroy me,” she continued. “In fact, I’m gonna use it to fuel me.”
Cover Image Source: (L) Getty Images | Kevork Djansezian ; (R) Instagram | @tessadotgourin