If you’re an 80s or 90s kid, you can almost certainly visualize the iconic, Edvard Munch “Scream” face of Macaulay Culkin after trying his Dad’s aftershave. Cute as a button, sly as a fox, Culkin stole a lot of hearts in Home Alone, and even received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor for his work in that film. Culkin was one of the most famous kids of the 1990s, but where is he now? Did he fall into the same traps that so many child actors do? Read on to find out.
Life After Home Alone
Immediately after the success of the original Home Alone movie (made when he was ten years old), Culkin went on to star in other films such as My Girl (1991), The Good Son (1993), The Pagemaster (1994) and a sequel to the original Home Alone movie. At that time, he was considered the biggest child star since Shirley Temple.
Culkin’s early acting career was short, however, as he decided to stop acting in 1994. Wanting a “normal life,” Culkin went to high school and graduated. His acting hiatus would last until the twenty-first century, when he returned to acting on the stage in 2000, and on the television show Will and Grace, before finally appearing on the big screen again in the 2003 film Party Monster. His acting in these and other roles earned him good reviews from critics, who hailed him as a child performer who had transitioned into a very fine adult actor.
In 2006, Culkin wrote an experimental, semi-autobiographical book called Junior. The book is a collection of poems, drawings, letters, comics and quizzes that some reviewers have described as only “semi-coherent.”
The very limited and hard-to-follow story of Junior describes the adventures of a child star named “Monkey-Monkey Boy” and a young man named “Junior” who has a troubled relationship with his father.
The book is only loosely held together by this thin plot, and uses a great deal of over-used typographical tricks like blank pages, font changes and crossed out sentences.
While the reception for his book was overwhelmingly negative, this did not seem to faze Culkin, who in interviews continued to seem willing to live a simple life and work on the projects that interested him the most.
Pizza Rock Comedy Stylings
In 2013, Culkin continued his plan to try new, and weird things. In that year, he started a new kind of career, trying his hand at a blend of music and comedy, founding a unique (and odd) band called the Pizza Underground, based in New York.
The Pizza Underground, which started as a joke between friends in 2012, mostly parodied the work of the experimental British rock band The Velvet Underground. Discovering that almost any Velvet Underground (or another rock lyric) could be replaced with the words “cheese” or “slice” Culkin and a group of his friends decided to see how far they could take this avant-garde comedy concept.
Culkin was frontman for the band, singing and playing the kazoo, and some percussion instruments. Other band members played pizza boxes, tambourines, and the glockenspiel. They made music videos performing on a bed of pizza boxes, and sometimes wearing slices of pizza as masks. They had a successful 18-show North American tour in 2014.
The group had an enthusiastic (if small) following in New York, but got booed off the stage in the UK, having beer thrown at them. Their performance only lasted 15 minutes. Culkin admitted in 2018 that the Pizza Underground had broken up.
Culkin’s personal life has been covered significantly in the press, but in the end, he seems to (in 2018) have found a comfortable place for himself to chase personal goals and not just fame and fortune.
Raised in a one-bedroom apartment with six other children, Culkin’s early fame and fortune became a source of discord with his father at an early age. His father, Kit, was domineering and abusive, and both Culkin and his siblings report both humiliation and physical abuse as standard elements of their childhood life with their father. In 1995, Culkin’s mother filed for divorce and custody of Culkin (and his fortune). In response, Culkin had both of his parents legally blocked from the control of his $17 million fortune, a move that broke ties between Culkin and his father forever, but set Culkin free to be his own person.
While arrested once in 2017 for marijuana possession, Culkin has never had significant issues with drugs or alcohol (that we know of) and has lived a quietly successful life pursuing projects that he is interested in for the last several decades. Speaking of his friend Michael Jackson, he said that “I could have turned out that way…I could have just put up a fortress around myself, bought a big chunk of land somewhere and said F*** y’all!, but I made a decision when I was 14 that I was going to live life.”
Acting and Family and Paris
Culkin, in 2018, lives in Paris and continues to have good relationships with his mother and younger siblings (including actors Rory and Kieran). Having taken control of his finances at the age of 14, he continues to have a very healthy net worth of $15 million.
After a brief teenage marriage to actress Rachel Miner, Culkin has dated Mila Kunis and Jordan Lane Price. He is currently reported to be in a relationship with the actress Brenda Song, with whom he stars in the upcoming film Changeland.