The children of celebrities have always made for interesting gossip fodder.
We wonder what their lives are like, the parenting styles of their famous parents and how often they are able to get away with things that us, mere mortals, would never be able to.
However, there’s also the schadenfreude that comes with their lives and the paths they take that go to the “dark” side.
We get excited because we speculate that maybe their parents aren’t great at home and have not fostered a positive environment for their children to become law-abiding and unproblematic citizens.
Take the recent news about the arrest of Aryan Khan, the son of Bollywood and global icon Shah Rukh Khan.
The arrest of 23-year-old Aryan sent shockwaves through Bollywood.
He and seven others were arrested last weekend on drug charges.
He was apprehended by India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), on charges of consumption, sale and purchase of narcotic drugs after a rave party was busted aboard a luxury cruise ship off the coast of Mumbai.
Initially, Aryan and two others – Munmun Dhamecha and Arbaaz Merchant – were arrested. The arrest was made in connection with the seizure of 13g cocaine, 5g MD, 21g charas, and 22 pills of MDMA (ecstasy) with a street value Rs133 000 (about R27 000) from him.
The arrest came after the NCB’s swoop aboard the Cordelia Cruises deluxe ship as it was preparing for a scheduled voyage from Mumbai to Goa on Saturday evening.
The trio appeared in the Esplanade Magistrate’s Court, amid tight security, earlier this week.
At the court hearing, during a heated moment in the arguments, Aryan’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde said that it was not as if he “was selling drugs in the ship, if he wants, he can buy the ship”.
Aryan has been charged under various sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
According to media outlets in India, the NCB’s Superintendent VV Singh, in his arrest memo, said Aryan was arrested under the NDPS Act for his involvement in the consumption, sale and purchase of contraband (drugs) along with other known and unknown persons.
Aryan is said to have acknowledged the charges and said he understood the grounds of his arrest and had informed his family.
Shah Rukh, one of the most influential actors in Bollywood, is yet to comment on the incident.
However, in a plot reminiscent of “Richie Rich”, Aryan has reportedly told the NCB sleuths that his father remained so busy that, occasionally, he needed an appointment to see him.
A couple of days ago, Shah Rukh had to get the NCB’s permission for a brief meeting with his son in the agency lock-up, where he cried before his celeb dad.
On Tuesday morning, worried about her son’s dietary health, an anxious Gauri Khan rushed to the NCB office armed with a few packets of McDonald’s burgers in her car, fondly hoping that Aryan would relish them.
Aryan’s story is not unfamiliar in Bollywood or Hollywood. He is just the latest child of a famous person who has landed on the wrong side of the law.
While they might have access to money and privileges “regular” children don’t always have, that has not stopped some celebrity children from displaying questionable behaviour and landing themselves and their parents in salacious headlines.
Staying with narcotics, actor Jackie Chan’s son, Jaycee, was sentenced to six months in prison in Beijing after being caught up in a huge drug bust in 2015. Chinese police found more than 100g of marijuana in his flat.
This despite the fact that Jackie Chan was named an anti-drug ambassador by the Chinese government in 2009.
Then there is Chet Hanks, the second-eldest son of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, who has referred to himself as the black sheep of the family.
He has openly struggled with drug addiction. In 2015, he was wanted by British police after damaging a hotel room, incurring damages amounting to $1 800. The same year, he entered rehab for cocaine addiction.
Earlier this year, the former Empire actor was sued for $1 million (about R15m) by his ex-girlfriend, Kiana Parker, who was granted a temporary protective order against him on March 30, according to Texas court documents. She is seeking $1m from Chet, whom she has accused him of mentally and physically abusing her. Chet allegedly threatened her with a murder-suicide while her nine-year-old twins were in the house.
In August this year, Chet reached the top of the trends list on social media after he posted a video on Instagram, initially urging viewers to get vaccinated for Covid-19.
He then revealed it was a joke and denied being vaccinated himself, claiming: “You ain’t sticking me with that motherf***ing needle. It’s the motherf***ing flu. Get over it, okay?”
He received backlash for the comments on social media, with many pointing out that his parents had contracted Covid-19 the previous year and publicly encouraged others to get vaccinated as a result.
Last year, Indio Downey, actor Robert Downey Jr’s 20-year-old son, was arrested for cocaine possession.
Indio is said to have struggled with substance abuse issues in recent years and voluntarily checked himself into rehab after the arrest.
Robert, who battled drug addiction himself for years before getting sober in 2002, has rallied to help his son.
And then there is Sami Sheen, the 17-year-old daughter of Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen, who made headlines when she moved out of her mother’s house and into her father’s house, alleging that the actress and her husband, Aaron Phypers, were abusive.
In recent viral TikToks captured by the New York Post’s Page Six, Sami reportedly wrote that just one year ago she was “trapped in an abusive household (and) hated myself,” claiming that she “would go days without eating or sleeping, insanely depressed, hated school, etc…”
“Now,” she then added, according to the outlet, “finally moved out of the hell house, had a spiritual awakening, own 2 cats, happy single, full of self love, and dropped out of high school :)” The posts have since been made private.
Sources say Sami did not want to live with her mother anymore because she did not want to follow the “regular” house rules, which include attending school.
This has led to Charlie no longer having to pay child support to Denise for their daughters, Sami and Lola, 16.
A judge made the decision in Los Angeles County court on Monday, adjusting the child support payment to “zero dollars per month”, commencing from August 1, 2018.