Brie Larson’s mother Heather has always been one of her biggest supporters
Brie Larson is known for playing a powerful superhero, but to her parents, Sylvain and Heather Desaulniers, she was once just their little girl with big dreams.
The Marvels star was born to Sylvain and Heather on Oct. 1, 1989, and a few years later, in 1993, they welcomed Brie’s younger sister, Milaine. However, when Brie was 7 years old, her parents split, leaving her with a rocky relationship with her father while Heather managed life as a single mom.
Her parents' divorce aligned with when her mother moved her and her sister to Los Angeles from Sacramento so that Brie could pursue her acting dreams, but Brie didn’t realize at the time that the move was more permanent, she told Elle in 2016.
"Everybody just sort of hoped that I didn't understand what was happening, and I didn't! I was seven. I didn't have the words to understand it, or negotiate, or describe it,” she said. “And because I didn't have the words, I didn't have any adult in my life able to go, 'This is what's going on,' to create a sense of confidence. It was like being in the middle of a crossfire that I didn't want to be in. You just kind of hide under the table."
From her childhood to her relationship with them now, here’s everything to know about Brie Larson’s parents, Sylvain and Heather Desaulniers.
Her dad is French Canadian
Though Brie goes by Larson professionally, her full name is Brianne Sidonie Desaulniers, which ties back to her father's French-Canadian roots. Sylvain taught Brie French, her first language, though she has forgotten most of it, as she told Elle.
Her parents were chiropractors
Growing up, Brie’s family was more into homeopathic medicine as both were practicing chiropractors.
"So they wouldn't give me Tylenol," Brie told Elle. "But they weren't spiritual. My impression was we were pretty suburban."
Per Variety, Sylvain and Heather shared a chiropractic practice.
Her mom was supportive of her acting career from an early age
Heather always felt she had a creative bone herself, Brie told Elle, so when her daughter said at just 6 years old that she wanted to be an actress, Heather was quick to support her any way she could.
"My mom always felt like she was a creative person and her parents wouldn't allow her to have that kind of life," Brie said. "So when I got interested in acting, she was like, 'Okay, let's make this happen.' "
She packed the family’s Mercedes and drove down to L.A. with her two daughters, where they rented a studio at Oakwood Apartments, joining the other hopeful young stars and their parents who lived there.
The three shared a bed and ate ramen noodles while Brie went on casting calls. That era in her life later reminded Brie of the movie that earned her an Academy Award, Room, which follows a mom and her son trapped in one room.
“It was ‘Room.’ It was all one room; the bed came out of the wall. I had two pairs of jeans, a couple shirts, a couple headbands and a pair of orange Converse (sneakers),” Brie told Variety.
She continued, “My mom created this amazing world, and I never remembered it as being a time where things were tight, and we were just eating Top Ramen and 99¢ Jack in the Box tacos, and I didn’t have any toys. It didn’t feel that way to me at all; it didn’t feel sparse.”
Her parents divorced when she was 7
One day while they were sharing the studio in L.A., Brie woke up to her mother crying. At the time, she wasn’t sure why, but upon reflection, she realized what had been meant to be a three-week journey in L.A. had been extended to an indefinite stay as her parents were splitting, she told Variety.
“She was holding her hand over her mouth, trying not to wake us up with these guttural sobs,” she said. “And I thought, ‘That reminds me of when my toys are taken away.’ It wasn’t until much later I realized, ‘Gosh, we never went back to Sacramento. I never saw my dad.’ ”
“Years later, I realized that right before we had left for what was supposed to be a three-week thing, my dad said he wanted a divorce,” she continued.
She doesn’t maintain a relationship with her dad
Brie opened up to Elle in 2016 about her relationship with her father, revealing that she hadn’t seen or spoken to her father in a decade.
"When legally I didn't have to have visitation with him anymore, I jumped on it," she said. "As a kid I tried to understand him and understand the situation. But he didn't do himself any favors. I don't think he ever really wanted to be a parent.”
While she admitted he does reach out to her, she said she doesn’t respond. However, she is still grateful for her experiences and how they’ve informed her performances in projects like Room.
"He reaches out a lot," Brie said. "I don't have anger; I have gratitude. It took me a really long time to feel that. How could I continue to be fighting and pushing up against something that has only opened doors for me because I've united with it?”
She continued, “I wouldn't have been able to do Short Term 12 without it. I wouldn't have been able to play Ma and make Room if I didn't have my experience. I can catalogue it in a way so that when the time comes, I can go, 'Oh, this is an emotional location that I know and I can share it.' "
Sylvain spoke to the Daily Mail in 2016 about his love for his daughter and how proud he was of her career.
“It’s my daughter and I love her to death,” he told the outlet. “This is her life, this is her thing. I’m very proud of her.”
He added that he still keeps photos of his daughter when she was young around his apartment, and shared that he loved Room so much that he saw it three times.
Heather joined her on SNL
While Brie may have a difficult relationship with her father, she has nothing but love for her mother. The actress showed her mom just how much she means to her by inviting Heather to join her onstage during her opening monologue on Saturday Night Live in May 2016.
The show aired the day before Mother’s Day, and Alicia Keys was the musical guest — which Heather was jokingly the most excited about when Brie asked her if she was looking forward to the show.
Toward the end of her monologue, Brie invited Heather to join her onstage and shared a sweet tribute to her.
“You’ve been so supportive to me over the years,” she said. “Endless words of encouragement. And as a token of my appreciation, I got you a front row seat to the hottest show in New York.”
“Hamilton?” her mom joked.
“No mom, no. This show,” Brie replied.
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