Dakota Johnson’s Family Cut Her Off Financially When She Decided to Act

Photo by Luca Guadagnino.

Clearly, being the child of rich and famous celebrities can give you a leg up in the world. It probably hasn’t hurt Dakota Johnson’s career that she’s the daughter of Miami Vice actor Don Johnson and Working Girl actress Melanie Griffith. Though, she still had to risk some sacrifices to step her foot into the family business. In fact, she was cut off financially from her family when she chose to pursue acting.

Don, who is currently appearing on the NBC sitcom Kenan, virtually stopped by Late Night with Seth Meyers on Tuesday, when the subject turned to his daughter’s aspirations. Don claims he knew Dakota had wanted to act ever since she was a child, but he wasn’t necessarily going to make it easy for her.

“We have a rule in the family that, you know, if you stay in school, you get to stay on the payroll,” said the elder Johnson. “So, you go to college, you get to stay on the payroll. Toward the end of high school, I went to her and I said, 'So, do you want to go visit some colleges?' Or something like that. And she was like, 'Oh, no. I'm not going to college.'"

One can easily imagine Dakota relaying that decision in the same manner she once told Ellen Degeneres, “That’s not the truth.” Gently, but in a way where you knew she meant business.

Dad informed her that she’d then be cut off, and asked her how she managed to support herself.

"Three weeks later she had nailed down that part in David Fincher's The Social Network,” he said.

She’s worked steadily in Hollywood ever since, and even starred in her own sitcom, Ben and Kate, for a season. Though, obviously, it wasn’t until the 50 Shades of Grey franchise that Dakota truly established herself as more than a financially independent working actress and as the star we know her as today.

Don Johnson, however, doesn’t appear to be lying about his preference that his kids go to school. His eldest son Jesse Johnson graduated from Occidental College before pursuing his acting career.