Laura Dern Is ‘Making’ Her Daughter Jaya, 17, Finish School Before Pursuing Acting

Respecting mom’s wishes! Laura Dern’s 17-year-old daughter, Jaya, will finish school before following in the Jurassic Park star’s acting footsteps.

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“I’m basically making her wait,” the actress, 55, told Ellen DeGeneres on Wednesday, March 30, noting that the teenager will “maybe” end up working with her one day.

Laura Dern Is ‘Making’ Her Daughter Jaya, 17, Finish School Before Pursuing Acting
Jaya Harper and Laura Dern. Rob Latour/Shutterstock

The Oscar winner, who also shares son Ellery, 20, with ex-husband Ben Harper, added, “I started very young at 11 and am so happy she’s waiting and wanting to go to school [even though] she knows in her heart she wants to act. … She does often say, ‘You didn’t wait.’”

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The Los Angeles native went on to note that she “pushed” her parents to let her act at a young age and “forced” her career on them. “I saw the consequences of not being in school, just doing my thing,” the Marriage Story star explained during the Ellen DeGeneres Show appearance.

The Emmy winner, who has starred in Big Little Lies, Little Women, Twin Peaks: The Return and more projects over the years, became a mom in 2001 when her and the 52-year-old musician’s son arrived. Jaya was born in 2004.

Since finalizing her divorce from Harper in 2013, single parenting has been “stressful,” Dern told Modern Luxury six years later.

“On good days, I am kind enough to remember that there are growing pains, and it is all overwhelming and not easy or always fun,” the Golden Globe winner told the magazine in August 2019. “On the hard days … there is too much going on — and it can be hard to carve out a minute for yourself. I have never had anybody else bully me in my single parenting life.”

The Wild star noted at the time that she has been surrounded by “champions” while raising Ellery and Jaya, saying, “I can definitely do it myself.”

Three months prior, Dern told InStyle that she became more “ambitious” as a single mom.

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“Raising kids gave me enough street cred to feel like I deserved the right to make money,” the Enlightened alum explained to the outlet in May 2019. “This moment in my life is so sexy and freeing because I’ve had many relationships, I’ve had a marriage, I have my amazing children, so I’m not hiding who I am to get somebody who is willing to have kids or be married.”

While quarantining with her brood amid the coronavirus pandemic, Dern and Jaya bonded over their skincare routines. The teen even did her mom’s root touch-up.

“She did an amazing job, God bless her,” she gushed to Refinery29 in April 2020.

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