June 05, 2020

David Spade's Complicated Relationship with His Father Wayne — A Glimpse Inside

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Comedian David Spade has a complex relationship with his father, with whom he became estranged after he became a father himself.

Spade welcomed his daughter Harper in 2008 with former Playboy Playmate Jillian Grace, and becoming a father completely changed the way he saw his own father and his presence in his life.

Two or three times a year Sam would call to organize a pick-up, and then leave his sons waiting, with packed overnight bags


David Spade at The Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe i 201n6 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images


Spade admits that Jillian's pregnancy was not planned, but when he held his daughter in his arms, his life was transformed. 


Most specifically, being a father, loving his child and wanting to be there for her, led Spade to reevaluate his own father's behavior towards him and his siblings, and he was devastated by his conclusions.

David Spade and daughter Harper at the world premiere Of "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation" in 2018 | Source: Getty Images



Spade recalled that his father abandoned his family when he was four years old, and his brothers Bryan and Andy were 8 and 6, respectively. From then on, Sam would show up sporadically.

Two or three times a year, Sam would call to organize a pick-up, and then leave his sons waiting, with packed overnight bags, and wouldn't show up or explain his absence. Spade said:


“We’d be sitting at the doors with our bags because he would call us and say he wanted to see us.”


Worse of all, no explanation would follow, and the boys would be left in limbo, waiting for the next call. And Sam never gave his ex-wife or his sons his phone number, so they could never contact him. Spade said:

"I couldn’t picture my daughter being sick and calling me and me not answering. Or just calling her without any way for her to call me."


Spade's father, whom he describes as a "bar fly" and a "skirt chaser" began to pay attention to his youngest son when his career as a stand-up comedian started to take off. Spade confessed that his father would hang out at comedy clubs for free drinks, and lapped up the fame by association.


And Spade, hungry for his father's approval, attention, and love, allowed him to worm his way into his life. Sam even moved in with Spade in his Arizona home. But the free ride ended for Sam when Spade welcomed Harper. He said:

"When I had her, I got this new tidal wave of resentment towards my dad because of his irresponsible behavior and manipulative mean streak. So I stopped talking to him.”


Spade suddenly saw his father's actions and attitude towards his three sons in a brand new light. He revealed:

“I know it sounds crazy, but I just thought, ‘Holy s—. You really played your cards the way you did when we were kids.’”




pade's relationship with his mother

is in complete contrast. Judith J. Meek, a writer, and a magazine editor, was the pillar of strength of the family and is very close to her youngest son.

Spade's mother is now retired and very active in animal protection and helps run a shelter. She often gets Spade to get his celebrity friends to promote the adoption of abandoned animals, and to donate items for auction to raise money for the shelter.




In June 2018, the Spade family was struck by a tragedy. Spade's sister-in-law, handbag designer Kate Spade, married to his brother Andy, committed suicide in their New York apartment. Spade posted on Instagram:

"She was so sharp and quick on her feet. She could make me laugh so hard. I still can't believe it."


Kate's husband and business partner, Andy Spade, would later reveal that his wife was suffering from depression and an anxiety disorder that had placed considerable pressure on their marriage.

Andy and Kate share a daughter, Frances Beatrix, born in 2005, just three years older than her little cousin, Harper.

The painful loss brought the family together in their grief and in their effort to be there for Francis, now 15.