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Celebrity children almost always follow in their parents’ footsteps and enter the entertainment world. For many, their connections are usually an advantage as they enter a world that’s tough to navigate without facing significant hurdles. Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s son Cooper Hoffman didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue acting because he was initially “kind of scared” to start.

Philip Seymour Hoffman and his son

Philip Seymour Hoffman was a private person. He rarely talked about his family in interviews and once told an interviewer that he would rather not speak of it because doing so gives them no choice. The actor was in a long-term relationship with Mimi O’Donnell, a costume designer.

The two met in 1999 when they both worked on a play the actor directed. The play was titled In Arabia We’d All Be Kings. Although they never married, they lived together in New York City and welcomed three children, two daughters and a son, Cooper.

Some reports speculated that Philip and O’Donnell had ended their 14-year-long relationship in 2013. However, the costume designer refuted the claims saying that she and the actor were still in a committed relationship even though he’d moved out of their shared residence to a nearby apartment. O’Donnell further insisted that Philip’s relocation was meant to protect his children from the effects of his relapse.

At the time, Philip was publicly battling substance abuse. As seen on YouTube, the actor told 60 Minutes in 2006 that he began using drugs and alcohol during his time at New York University. He said he used “anything I could get my hands on,” noting that he liked everything.

However, when he graduated in 1989, he entered rehab and remained sober for 23 years until his relapse in 2013. The actor checked himself into rehab once again in 2013 for 10 days. Sadly, Hoffman died in 2014 from acute mixed drug intoxication.

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s son was ‘kind of scared’ to start acting

Cooper Hoffman at the National Board of Review awards gala at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City
Cooper Hoffman at the National Board of Review awards gala | Cindy Ord/WireImage via Getty Images

Philip Seymour Hoffman had one of the most successful careers in Hollywood. With 63 acting credits, it’s easy to see why he was revered. However, Cooper Hoffman initially didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps. He told ABC News that he joined plays in school but only as a backstage crew member. “I don’t think I ever really considered it a possibility. I was always kind of scared to enter that arena because my dad did it so well,” he said.

Things changed when he auditioned for his latest project in Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie. The actor appeared for a casual lets-see-where-this-goes type of audition for Licorice Pizza with Alana Haim, and according to Cooper, something clicked.

He told the outlet, “The second I read with Paul and Alana, I kind of got so emotional. I was like ‘Oh my God, I need to do this.'” Cooper said he felt comfortable filming Licorice Pizza and loved doing it, even though it was something he was initially scared to do. He said, “I felt incredibly close to my dad through the whole shooting process.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s impressive acting career

Cooper Hoffmans’s work with Paul Thomas Anderson almost feels like a tribute to the actor’s late father. Anderson famously cast Philip Seymour Hoffman in five of his first six films. Philip and Anderson began working together in 1996 when the director cast the actor in his debut film Hard Eight. They then reunited for Boogie Nights the following year and for Magnolia in 1999.

The duo partnered again in 2002 to make Punch-Drunk Love and then The Master a decade later in 2012. Some of Philip’s other acting credits include Mission: Impossible III, Capote, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Doubt, and Cold Mountain.

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.