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James Caan Fixed 'Dysfunctional' Relationship with Son Scott Who He Raised without Child's Mom before He Died

Daniella Segell
Aug 26, 2022
10:55 A.M.
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Leaving behind a legacy when he died was something James Caan did effortlessly because of his role in the iconic film "Goodfellas." However, his son, Scott, is keeping the legacy alive.

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James Caan was married four times and had five children from those unions, one of which was a complicated relationship. Caan's first marriage was to Dee Jay Mathis from 1961-1966. Together they welcomed a daughter, Tara.

Caan married his second wife, Sheila Ryan, in 1976 after she famously dated Elvis Presley. The couple was married for only one year, but they welcomed a son together during their union.

Portrait of American actor James Caan, New York, New York, October 1971. | Source: Getty Images

Portrait of American actor James Caan, New York, New York, October 1971. | Source: Getty Images

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Scott was the son born to Ryan and Caan and was described by his father as his "dream child." However, the father-son relationship was not always rosy, and they had to mend their relationship once.

In 1990, Caan married Ingrid Hajek, but by 1994 their marriage was also over. Hajek was 20 years of Caan's junior, and the couple welcomed only one son together. Caan's last marriage to Linda Stokes was his worst.

The couple married in 1995 and divorced in 2015. During Hajek and Caan's marriage, they welcomed two sons, Jacob and James. However, Stokes often left Caan strapped for cash, and he filed for divorce twice before finally going through with it.

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Actor James Caan and Sheila Ryan attend the screening of "Black Sunday" on March 23, 1977 at Mann Village Theater in Westwood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actor James Caan and Sheila Ryan attend the screening of "Black Sunday" on March 23, 1977 at Mann Village Theater in Westwood, California. | Source: Getty Images

After his marriage to Linda Stokes finally ended, Caan never got into another relationship that ended in marriage. However, his relationship with Stokes wasn't the only dysfunctional relationship he experienced.

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While Caan had a good relationship with all his children, the one with whom he spent the most time and had the most complicated relationship was Scott. Caan revealed that he and Scott grew up together as Scott was born when Caan was still young.

The star was so taken with his son that when he was born, Caan decided that he should take a break from the lights and cameras to focus on his son and his then-wife, Sheila Ryan.

Actor James Caan and Scott Caan attend the birthday party for Greg Gorman on June 29, 1989 at Tramp's in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actor James Caan and Scott Caan attend the birthday party for Greg Gorman on June 29, 1989 at Tramp's in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Caan took roughly six years off from his career after Scott was born to help raise him. At the same time, Caan's sister had passed away, leading to Caan being somewhat off the rails and abusing substances.

However, during this time, Scott and his father were extremely close. Caan had decided that he would raise Scott much differently from how his dad raised him by showing more emotion and being more available. He said:

"My dad never told me he loved me, and consequently, I told Scott I loved him every other minute."

Actor James Caan and Scott Caan attend Hollywood Stars Night Benefit Gala on June 22, 1990 at Hollywood Park in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actor James Caan and Scott Caan attend Hollywood Stars Night Benefit Gala on June 22, 1990 at Hollywood Park in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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While Caan took a break from acting, he spent his time raising Scott. The star even coached his son's little league baseball team. Caan shared that being there for Scott was a silver lining in an otherwise stormy time of his life.

SCOTT AND CAAN HAD A COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP

Although Scott's early years were blissful for himself and Caan as father and son, things began to turn sour as Scott got older. Their relationship deteriorated because Scott noticed his father's substance abuse issues.

Actors James Caan, Scott Caan and Wendy Glenn arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of IFC Films' "Mercy" at the Egyptian Theatre on May 3, 2010 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actors James Caan, Scott Caan and Wendy Glenn arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of IFC Films' "Mercy" at the Egyptian Theatre on May 3, 2010 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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One night, when Scott was only fifteen, he followed his father to the dealer and confronted him after his father had left. When Caan found out about this, he knew that he had to change his way of life.

Caan thought he was hiding his drug addiction from his son, but after seeing Scott threaten the dealer's life with a baseball bat, he understood that his son was fully aware of his actions.

Actor James Caan and actor Scott Caan arrives at the "Mercy" red carpet during the 11th annual CineVegas film festival at the Brenden Theatres at The Palms Casino Resort on June 14, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

Actor James Caan and actor Scott Caan arrives at the "Mercy" red carpet during the 11th annual CineVegas film festival at the Brenden Theatres at The Palms Casino Resort on June 14, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

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The star knew right then that he could not continue to abuse substances as it was affecting his relationship with the boy he called a "dream child." He confessed:

"That was like the rude awakening. It was over."

The father-son duo then had a complex relationship as Caan was recovering, and his father's actions still hurt Scott. This also led Scott into his own battles and Caan having to help him through them.

 Actors James Caan and Scott Caan arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of IFC Films' "Mercy" at the Egyptian Theatre on May 3, 2010 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actors James Caan and Scott Caan arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of IFC Films' "Mercy" at the Egyptian Theatre on May 3, 2010 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Caan once said that saying his relationship with Scott wasn't dysfunctional would mean lying. However, he also mentioned that it was his son who helped him through his struggles, saying:

"He saw me when I was a little rough around the edges."

Once both men had overcome their issues, they could mend their relationship once and for all. They were then back on the fast track to becoming best friends again. Caan shared that he was proud that his son grew up into a fine young man.

SCOTT HELD NO RESENTMENT TOWARD CAAN

Actors James Caan and Scott Caan attend the premiere of "His Way" at Paramount Studios on March 22, 2011 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actors James Caan and Scott Caan attend the premiere of "His Way" at Paramount Studios on March 22, 2011 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Although Scott and Caan had a complicated relationship for a big chunk of Scott's life, the "Hawaii Five-0" star does not hold any resentment toward his father. In fact, he is grateful to him for the life he lives.

Scott shared that his father initially didn't want him to go into acting, but it worked out well in the end, as he landed his role on "Hawaii Five-0" and made a successful career for himself.

Actors James Caan and Scott Caan attend the "Mercy" film premiere at the Egyptian Theater on May 3, 2010 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actors James Caan and Scott Caan attend the "Mercy" film premiere at the Egyptian Theater on May 3, 2010 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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When speaking about the pair's struggles, Scott said that even though they had a dysfunctional relationship, he could always count on his dad when he needed him. He shared:

"He made mistakes that affected him — and me — but he's always been there for me no matter what."

Because of Caan's mistakes, when the duo finally mended their relationship, Caan did his best never to disappoint his son again. While this train of thought was prevalent in their personal lives, it also extended to their professional lives.

Actors James Caan and Scott Caan arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of IFC Films' "Mercy" at the Egyptian Theatre on May 3, 2010 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actors James Caan and Scott Caan arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of IFC Films' "Mercy" at the Egyptian Theatre on May 3, 2010 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Caan once shared that he did his best not to disappoint his son in a movie they both starred in. "Mercy" was a romantic drama starring both Scott and Caan, which Scott wrote and produced.

While Caan had only two scenes in the movie, he wanted to ensure that he did his best in those two scenes so that he would do Scott's movie justice. Caan said he didn't mind failing in his own capacity, but he did not want to fail Scott.

Unfortunately, in July 2022, Caan passed away at 82. The news was shared via Caan's Twitter page, with a message from the family thanking fans for the outpouring of love. The family then asked for privacy during their mourning period.

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