Tessa Gourin continues to speak up about her life and what it was like growing up as Jack Nicholson’s estranged daughter. In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, the New York-based actress, 28, explained that her mother, Jennine Gourin, had advised her since she was a kid “not to tell anyone that I have this famous dad.”
“I knew he was powerful and Daddy Warbucks-level rich, so I kind of equated my life to being like Orphan Annie’s,” she said. Gourin told the publication, which described her as Nicholson’s “spitting image,” that the actor “wasn’t interested” in developing a relationship with her when she was a child. Gourin declined to go into specifics, but she did say that he paid for her early education.
“When you’re a child, you don’t have a choice where you’re going, so if your mom is pushing you on someone who’s technically your father and he agrees to see you for anywhere between one hour and a couple of days, that’s where you’re going to go,” Gourin said. “I don’t know this person very well, we’ll just say that.”
Nicholson has not publicly acknowledged Gourin as his daughter, despite having five other children. A representative for the actor did not immediately reply to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
Gourin also told The Daily Beast that she had always wanted to be an actress, having asked to be filmed as a child and performing at sleepovers. “My mom wouldn’t let me act when I was younger, and I can respect that, but I’m like, ‘F—, I would have killed it,’ ” she said.
Last month, Gourin wrote a piece for Newsweek where she explained that she “sat on the sidelines and watched in frustration as other celebrity children have seamlessly secured roles or been signed to huge agencies.” In her interview with The Daily Beast, she elaborated on the “no baby” issue and other actresses denying that they benefitted from nepotism.
“It’s such a double-sided thing because I can also understand the frustration of getting in the door, and then once you’re there it’s like, ‘Okay, now show us what you can do,’ ” Gourin said. “But as an actor, that’s the most exciting thing to me. It’s a driving force to want to prove yourself. This guilty thing over ultimately having a gift is something you should just work out yourself, and put into your work.”