Phillip Seymour Hoffman did not leave any money to his children in his will. He repeatedly rejected recommendations from his accountant that he set up trust funds for his kids. He “did not want his children to be considered ‘trust fund’ kids,” court documents reveal. I think that’s the mark of a good parent – one who understands how important it is to work for things in this life and not have everything handed to you. I think it’s obvious Hoffman wanted to be a great father.
His estate was instead left to his partner and the mother of his children, Marianne O’Donnell, Hoffman believed she would “take care of the children,” his accountant recalled. He also expressed the desire that his son, Cooper, would be raised in New York, San Francisco, or Chicago – so that his son would be “exposed to the culture, arts and architecture that such cities offer.” Yes – Hoffman wanted to be a great dad. Whether he succeed or not is up for debate.
Hoffman died of an accidental drug overdose in February at the age of 46. I’m fully aware that addiction is a disease, I just think it’s one that only certain members of society get a pass at having. Hoffman was wealthy, famous – and definitely one of those people who got that “pass.” So often I write about mothers or fathers in desperate situations – broke, addicted and continually making bad parenting decisions. We don’t have as much sympathy for these people as a whole – we just don’t.
I think when you look at a person like Hoffman, you can refer to his body of work and accomplishments to allow him to not just be defined by his addiction – the thing that ultimately ended is life and robbed his children of their father. I think it’s easy to be less forgiving of the parents we see in the news everyday, making one wrong decision after the next. It’s why I’m always so thrilled to hear anyone’s tale of victory over a drug – no matter how dark a place they went with it.
I personally love Phillip Seymour Hoffman and totally respect his work. I also respect that he was trying his best to be a good father while he battled a dark, consuming addiction. It’s just my hope that I remember that people who are in darker places with less money and glory deserve to not be defined by their addictions as well.
(photo: Getty Images)