Forest Whitaker's 4 Kids: All About Ocean, Autumn, Sonnet and True (2024)

Forest Whitaker may be the godfather of Harlem, but in real life, he’s a father of four children: Ocean, Autumn, Sonnet and True.

The Big George Foreman actor welcomed his first child and only son, Ocean, 34, in 1990 with a previous partner. In 1996, Forest married his now late ex-wife Keisha Nash and the two welcomed daughters Sonnet, 27, and True, 26, in 1996 and 1998, respectively. Nash also had a daughter, Autumn, 32, from a previous relationship, whom Forest also helped raise as his own.

Whitaker filed for divorce from Nash in December 2018, citing irreconcilable differences. The two were married for 22 years before their split.

Five years later, Forest and Nash’s youngest daughter, True, announced her mom died on Dec. 7, 2023, in an Instagram Story.

"Goodbye mommy. I love you 4ever and beyond," True wrote over a black-and-white photo of her mother. "The most beautiful woman in the world... thank you for teaching me every single thing I know. I'll see you in my dreams and I'll feel you in my heart."

Forest Whitaker's 4 Kids: All About Ocean, Autumn, Sonnet and True (1)

From how they helped their dad prepare for a major role to his thoughts about their dating lives, here’s everything to know about Forest Whitaker’s kids.

Forest and Nash had two children from previous relationships before they got married

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Forest’s eldest child, Ocean, was born in April 1990. He was 4 years old when Forest and Nash met. Nash also had a child before meeting Forest — a daughter born in 1991 named Autumn.

Ocean is a movie editor who has worked on a few projects, including Montebello, The Game of Silence and Another Try. Apart from accompanying his dad to the White House for the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s march in August 2013, Ocean has remained out of the public eye.

Autumn has also primarily stayed private, though she has accompanied Forest to numerous red carpets throughout his career, including The Butler premiere in 2013 and the Huffington Post pre-inaugural ball in 2009.

After marrying in 1996, Forest and Nash welcomed their daughters, Sonnet, on Oct. 3, 1996, and True on July 2, 1998.

Forest was the more lenient parent when the kids were growing up

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In a 2009 interview with Parade, Forest admitted that Nash was the stricter parent when his kids were young — and he was the one who let things slide by.

"I'm not a tough love guy. To be honest, my wife is much stronger with the kids than I am,” he said. “They come to me when they're trying to slip something by.”

He continued, “I have to always take a pause when they come and say, 'Hey Dad, is it OK if we do this?' So I just look at them like, 'Have you talked to your mom about that?' They know I'm the easy one."

His children played an active role in helping him prepare for his roles

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When Forest was cast in the children’s movie Where The Wild Things Are, he enlisted the help of his brood of kids to help him prepare. Forest voiced Ira, who, though he was a gentle “Wild Thing,” was still a beast and needed to growl and grunt.

To prepare, Forest practiced his animal noises at home with his kids, who were already familiar with the story, he told Parade.

"The grunts and stuff I've done at home with my kids. When they were younger, I'd do it a lot when I'd read them the book,” he said. “It's sort of been handed down in my family because it was read to me when I was a kid. I read it to all my kids, and now they read it on their own now. They loved the scary parts."

While Ira was a friendlier role, Forest has had experience with less welcoming characters, like when he played dictator Idi Amin in 2006’s The Last King of Scotland.

To prepare for the role, Forest told Black Film that he stayed in character even when he wasn’t shooting — which led to him sometimes speaking in a voice that differed from his regular one with his children.

“I tried to let go of it as much as I could,” Forest told the outlet of when he would call his kids while shooting the movie. “My daughter would be like, ‘Daddy, why are you talking like this?’ I would say, ‘Just remember, I’m just make believing for a little while.’ She understands.”

Forest isn’t overly protective when it comes to his daughters’ dating lives

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While promoting his 2010 film Our Family Wedding, Forest told Cleveland.com that he was relatively relaxed when it came to rules surrounding dating, especially for his daughters.

“Whatever would make my children happy,” he told the outlet. “It’s really about the quality of the kid they bring home. I’m very open with my daughters. I try not to put my own fears onto them. I trust they will find a man who will let them grow. They’re strong. They wouldn’t let somebody treat them wrong.”

Sonnet is a singer

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Forest raised his children in a creative household, encouraging his children to pursue their interests and passions.

“I was very idealistic when I was younger; I read poetry books, I didn’t care about working or making money,” Forest told Paste magazine. “I would rather sleep on the couch than do something I didn’t believe in ... And even though I sheltered my kids from the business, they are very much artistic spirits too.”

While she didn’t inherit the acting bug, Sonnet lived up to her musical name and became a musician.

In October 2022, the proud dad announced his daughter put out an album, N.F.S., and encouraged his followers to listen.

“I’m so proud of my incredible daughter Sonnet for writing and recording N.F.S., her first album!” he wrote in an Instagram caption.

True starred alongside her dad in an episode of The Godfather of Harlem

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Forest’s youngest daughter decided to follow in his footsteps and pursue a career in acting. After graduating high school, True started school at New York University, where she studied creative writing.

However, after graduating, she started dipping her toe into acting work, including a role in an episode of her dad’s show, The Godfather of Harlem.

“I acted in the last season of Godfather of Harlem, starring my dad. I had a character named Sandra. She was definitely a challenge, but I loved every second of it and, hopefully, because it’s shooting right now, she’ll come back,” she told the New York Post in July 2022.

She added that she didn’t think her dad was on set while she was filming but when she wrapped up, someone informed her that he had been “secretly watching.”

“He’s very supportive,” she told the outlet. “When I went back up to my dressing room, I found him in there with balloons and a bottle of champagne, congratulating me. It was really special, of course, to be able to do that with my dad.”

True added that she believes she inherited her wit and empathy from her father, who she said raised all his children to embrace all kinds of people.

“I feel like he’s taught me and my brother and sisters to approach life with a sense of understanding and openness to different types of people in this world — to embrace different types of people, with different energies and from different walks of life,” True said.

Forest Whitaker's 4 Kids: All About Ocean, Autumn, Sonnet and True (2024)
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