“Sex and the City” actor Mikhail Baryshnikov is a father of four children. Baryshnikov had a very saddening and traumatic upbringing growing up, involving both his parents.
Mikhail Baryshnikov shares unplanned daughter Shura Baryshnikov with actress Jessica Lange. The former couple first met in 1977.
Both in their thirties at the time, the pair kept their romance away from the limelight and rarely appeared together in public as much as they could.
An undated photo of Russian Ballet Dancer and choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov | Photo: Getty Images
Their child Shura, born Aleksandra, was not planned and was born in March 1981. However, her mother has no regrets about bringing her into the world.
“I didn’t want to make my life exclusively this career. I wanted some balance, which is why I decided to have the baby,” Lange said of her acting career and her baby at the time.
Jessica Lange at the Hammer Museum Gala held at the Hammer Museum in Westwood on October 14, 2017 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Shutterstock
She added, “I take such joy from her. I’m getting into some heavy bonding that never existed before in my life." Lange never wanted to be away from her infant daughter for a more extended period.
She decided to hire a nanny to free her to work with an acting coach 10 hours a week. At the time, while filming for a movie, she took her child with her on set.
Actress Jessica Lange attends the premiere of "The Politician" at DGA Theater on September 26, 2019 in New York City | Photo: Shutterstock
"This child is not going to have an orthodox upbringing. I don't want to leave her for 14 hours because the most important thing is that she's around people who love her," she shared.
Today, Shura is an interdisciplinary artist who works as a dancer, a choreographer, and an actor. The 40-year-old has a passion for dancing.
As a dance educator, she has co-founded several dance projects, including Doppelganger Dance Collective, a Providence-based company.
Jessica Lange at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre LA Live on September 23, 2012 Los Angeles | Photo: Shutterstock
The daughter of ballet legend spent most of her childhood in tutus and pointe shoes. In 2016, she starred in a production of Oscar Wilde’s “Salome” in Boston.
Shura also tackled her first musical in the ensemble of Trinity Rep's "Oklahoma!" Even though it was a small role, she said she was “not embarrassed to be a beginner.”
“No one was telling me I couldn’t do these things except me,” she revealed while admitting that the shadow of her famous parents prevented her from pursuing a career as a performer even though she shared she was never pressured to do so.
Jessica Lange at the PaleyFEST LA 2015 at the Dolby Theater on March 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Shutterstock
Apart from her career as a performer, Shura is also a doting mom of two daughters Ilse and Adah. The kids’ grandmother Lange was once asked to give a speech about her life to her young granddaughters’ girls’ group.
She told the next generation, “The one thing I’ve always felt is that I’ve never allowed myself to be restricted. I’ve done everything I wanted to do, and no one could tell me there was something I couldn’t do.”
When coming to her Hollywood career, the Oscar winner said: "ageism is persuasive in this industry” and is not a level playing field for women, referring to the world of entertainment.
Someone who is also pursuing a career in showbiz is Lange’s former boyfriend’s daughter Anna, an actress. In an interview with W magazine in 2019, the 29-year-old admitted she loves musical theater.
“I’m a true musical theater fan. I was obsessed with Blue Man Group as a kid and went to that a bunch of times,” she told the publication.
Anna landed her break-out role opposite Lucas Hedges in "Manchester by the Sea" and scored a series regular role on the sitcom "Superior Donuts."
However, she only started her career until she was 18 years old because her famed parents told her that she would have to wait until that age to live her dream.
Mikhail shares Anna and her siblings, Peter and Sofia-Luisa, with dancer-choreographer Lisa Rinehart. "I desperately wanted to work as a kid, and they nixed the idea. I bargained them down from 18 to 16 as the age I could start auditioning for things,” Anna explained.
It was not long before she used her babysitting money to enroll in an acting class. She managed to bag a few commercial gigs and made her way to Northwestern University, where she studied theater.
THE ONLY SON
One other sibling who almost took after his father's footsteps is son Peter, 32, but not with jetes and battements. In an interview with the New York Times in 2013, Peter revealed he took dancing classes when he was younger.
“I took one or two dance classes just to try it, and a course in middle school, which I loved. But it was just for fun,” he said. Instead, Peter pursued a career in photography.
Speaking on his father’s accomplishments, he said he has always been more interested in the abstract and draws a lot from painting. As for him, his work is more content-based and more about things.
Peter’s father is a renowned Russian American ballet dancer who choreographed several iconic pieces, making him one of the most incredible ballet dancers of the 20th century.
He was born in Riga, Latvia, on January 27, 1948. The 73-year-old had a difficult childhood as he and his father, a Soviet colonel, did not get along.
The “White Nights” star said his dad was “not a very pleasant man.” In addition to their animosity, early in his teenage years, he lost his mother to suicide.
Mikhail started studying ballet around that time, and in 1963, when he was 16 years old, he began training with choreographer Alexander Pushkin at the Vaganova Choreographic Institute.