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26 Famous Sibling Rivalries That You Should Know About

Neha B Deshpande
They say having a sibling is a blessing indeed. However, when a sibling is born, the elder one has to share everything which belonged only to him/her once. On the other hand, the younger sibling is often under the 'shadow' of the elder one, struggling to make his/her own identity. In some cases, the competition has been carried forward to their careers too.
"Many toxic parents compare one sibling unfavorably with another to make the target child feel that he's not doing enough to gain parental affection. This motivates the child to do whatever the parents want in order to regain their favor. This divide-and-conquer technique is often unleashed against children who become a little too independent, threatening the balance of the family system."
― Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
Looking back at our childhood days, we all can remember what it was like to have a sibling, who was always getting on our nerves. As we grew up, these childish fights, and the vying for our parent's attention all got replaced with admiration and respect for each other.
However, some unhealthy competition between siblings, might give birth to sour feelings between them. When a younger sibling is born, the elder one experiences pangs of jealousy, but eventually these feelings wear away. However, in some cases, this feeling increases with the competition to get more attention, success, and fame.
Sometimes, even parents and teachers are to blame. The weaker sibling is always subjected to ridicule by those who compare them. If you have a smarter sibling, you can certainly relate to this feeling. This indirectly nurtures a feeling of insecurity and jealousy amongst siblings.
The repercussions can be seen even in one's career, where each struggles to perform better than the other. Of course there are a whole lot of instances of healthy sibling rivalries too.


Olivia de Havilland & Joan Fontaine

The feud between these two sisters is very famous in the history of Hollywood, with both actresses competing for the Oscars, and vying for their mother's attention too. They had an age difference of only 15 months. Olivia and Joan's fight was embedded right from Joan's birth itself.
Apparently, Olivia was not happy over having to share parental love with a sibling. And when both the sisters were keen on pursuing an acting career, their competition only grew. Though Olivia first entered Hollywood and made a mark there, it was Joan who won the first Oscar, though Olivia soon followed.
Things worsened when their mother passed away in 1975. In 1978, Fontaine wrote a book named 'No Bed of Roses', describing her relationship with her sister.

Julia Roberts & Eric Roberts

This brother-sister duo started out big in Hollywood. Eric, who is almost 10 years elder than Julia, was first nominated for an Oscar for his role in 'Runaway Train' (in 1986), but it was Julia who first walked away with one for the role of the leading actress in 'Erin Brockovich' (in 2000).
Later, he got involved with drugs and alcohol, and tensions between the siblings grew. As far as success is concerned, it is Julia who has found much more success than Eric. However, it is said that they both came together recently following their mother's death.

Maggie Gyllenhaal & Jake Gyllenhaal

A famous pair of brother and sister in the movie industry, they have often been compared for their acting skills. The younger sibling Jake Gyllenhaal followed his sister's steps and made an entry into Hollywood.
However, these siblings have stood by each other's sides, and Tinseltown likes them as the world's cutest siblings. Who said all sibling rivalries are bad? While Maggie is famous for her roles in 'Secretary', 'Sherrybaby', 'Crazy Heart', etc., Jake has been appreciated for his roles in 'Brokeback Mountain', 'Nightcrawler', 'Prisoners', etc.

Shirley MacLaine & Warren Beatty

Elder sister Shirley MacLaine made her mark in Hollywood first, and younger brother soon followed suit.
Apart from being an actress, Shirley had also authored many books. Both rose to stardom in the film industry, and have been often compared with each other for their numerous successes.
Shirley's hits include movies such as 'Terms of Endearment', 'The Apartment', etc. On the other hand, Warren's hits include movies like 'Bonnie and Clyde' and 'Reds' and 'Heaven Can Wait'.

Alec Baldwin & Stephen Baldwin

Alec has always been the more successful Baldwin brother. However, the other sibling, Stephen, has also been a fierce competitor.
While Stephen struggled to make his mark in the industry, Alec found more success. Alec has many awards to his credit, including Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, etc. Stephen is best known for his roles in 'Threesome', 'The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas', etc.

Haylie Duff & Hilary Duff

The Duff sisters are both in showbiz, however, it is younger sibling Hilary Duff who achieved more fame than her elder sister. Both are however cordial towards each other and belong to a close-knit family.
Hilary is best known as the Disney girl for her lead role in the television series Lizzie McGuire. Apart from that, she also is a singer. Haylie became popular due to the character Sandy Jameson in the television series 7th Heaven.

Luke Wilson & Owen Wilson

These two handsome dudes of Hollywood have both achieved success as actors. Though a healthy competition runs between then, off-screen they're cordial brothers, and they have even worked together.
Luke Wilson is best known for his roles in 'Bottle Rocket', 'Old School', 'Legally Blonde', etc. On the other hand, Owen has hits such as 'Meet the Parents' and 'Marley & Me' to his credit. Owen was also nominated for an Oscar Award for the movie The Royal Tenenbaums, for the category of Best Writing.

Joan Cusack & John Cusack

This brother-sister duo are well-known siblings for their glorious acting careers in Hollywood. They have other siblings too who act, however, comparatively, both these have achieved more fame and attention.
John Cusack's hits include movies such as 'Being John Malkovich', 'The Thin Red Line', 'Say Anything', etc. Elder sister Joan received nominations mostly for her supporting roles. She worked in hits such as 'In & Out', 'Married to the Mob', 'Working Girl', etc.

Emilio Esteves & Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen is a well-known name in the television industry, famous for his role in 'Two and a Half Men'. His original name is Carlos Irwin Estévez.
His other siblings are actors too, and their father is the well-established actor Martin Sheen. Well, belonging to the same industry, competition has been in their blood. However, off-screen, they are happy siblings.
Emilio is known for the movie 'Bobby', for which he was nominated for a couple of awards. Charlie Sheen obviously won many awards for his role of 'Charlie Harper' in 'Two and a Half Men', and as 'Charlie Crawford' in 'Spin City'.

Britney Spears & Jamie Lynn Spears

Both these music stars have achieved a whole lot of fame. While elder sister Britney had already impressed her fans, her younger sister Jamie's entry in 2013 with her song 'How Could I Want More', scored high on the charts.
However, the sisters claim that they do not compare or compete with each other. Britney's hit songs include 'Crazy', 'Oops!... I Did It Again', '...Baby One More Time ', etc. Little sister Jamie was best known for her lead role in Nickelodeon's Zoey 101. After her pregnancy at a tender age of sixteen (in 2007), she made her comeback in the music industry.

Matt Dillon & Kevin Dillon

Matt and Kevin belong to a close-knit family. When Matt already made his mark in the acting field, Kevin had expected himself to be compared with his brother.
However, despite the competition, they have been always together as a family. Matt, who was a successful teenage star, received many awards and nominations for his movie, 'Crash' and 'There's Something About Mary', whereas Kevin, best known for his tough roles, was highly acclaimed for his success in the HBO series 'Entourage'.


LaVerne Sophia, Maxine Angelyn & Patricia Marie

The Andrews Sisters: LaVerne, Patty, and Maxene were America's sensational singing group, known for their harmony and humor.
Though professionally they worked together and delivered many hits, things started going for a toss when their music composer left the group. In 1954, Patty left the group to make her solo career, and the other two sisters joined hands. LaVerne's death in 1967 made matters worse between the other surviving sisters, and the group split forever.
Patty and Maxene were estranged sisters, with Maxene blaming Patty's husband for their separation. Maxene retired from the music industry, and Patty continued to give performances wherever possible. Though, she never had the immeasurable success which she earlier had with the group.

Nick Carter & Aaron Carter

Nick Carter garnered fame as a part of the hit boy band 'Backstreet Boys'.
However, younger brother Aaron soon followed suit to make his name in the music industry. Nick Carter seemed to have a complex relationship with his family, when he chose not to attend his sister Leslie's funeral, and was also not present at his little sister Angel's (Aaron's twin) wedding.
However, Aaron made all attempts to attend his big brother Nick's wedding, which was held in April 2014, though he missed it eventually.

Ashlee Simpson & Jessica Simpson

These two sisters have been the glittering stars of the music industry for some time now.
Ashlee followed after elder sister Jessica rose to success from the fame she gained from the show 'Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica'. Both girls have achieved their own share of success. However, they're constantly compared and equally loved by the audience. As of today, however, the sisters are very much together.

Lata Mangeshkar & Asha Bhosle

The Indian music industry was once ruled by these two sisters. While Lata Mangeshkar made her mark earlier than her sister, Asha was a struggling singer back then.
However, with changes and revolution in music, O. P. Nayyar gave her new success, and Asha was chosen for the new genre of music, after which she delivered many hits. Though the industry talked much about their sibling rivalry, the sisters rubbished such claims.
They were often compared with each other, with Lata being considered as the connoisseur of traditional music, and Asha for pop and Western music. It was also said that Sai Paranjpe's movie 'Saaz' was loosely based on the relationship of the sisters. As of today, the two sisters sing praises of each other.

Liam Gallagher & Noel Gallagher

Liam and Noel were inseparable brothers of the music band Oasis. However, in 2009, both brothers had a fallout backstage, and since then, things turned sour between them. They've been quite vocal about their feelings towards each other, and have often shot out insults against each other.


Michael Schumacher & Ralf Schumacher

Both are well-known car racers, with elder brother Michael obviously having achieved much more success than his younger brother. Both have been top competitors in Formula One. As kids, they were introduced to the sport at a very early age, and competition had germinated since then.
Ralf had shown very impressive performances at a very early age. Yet, it is Michael who has proven to be more successful, and is arguably the best F1 driver the world has seen. As of today, Ralf has retired, and Michael, after tragically meeting with a skiing accident in December 2013, is currently under medical treatment.

Jim Harbaugh & John Harbaugh

These two coaches visibly have sibling rivalry among themselves, with an age-gap of barely 15 months. Of course, the rivals on field keep their sportsman spirit alive. They have coached San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens respectively. They have deep mutual admiration for each other though.

Serena Williams & Venus Williams

The two Williams sisters, with an age-gap of only 1 year, and highly acclaimed professional tennis players, have played against each other numerous times.
However, both have maintained that competition motivates them to perform better every time. Both have almost gained their fair share of success and fame. Of course, their competition is limited to the game only, but Serena has been far more successful than her sister as far as Grand Slam wins are concerned.


Mukesh Ambani & Anil Ambani

This infamous corporate rivalry in India, from the Ambani family, has always been the talk of the nation. After their father's death in 2002, the business tycoon who built this successful business empire, the two brothers had their fair share of differences over running the empire.
Their differences have been so serious that Reliance Group was split between both of them. Since then, the dirty war between them has showed its repercussions: with the brothers even accusing each other of unethical practices in business.
Nevertheless, this isn't one of those famous corporate rivalries, due to the fact that most of their respective businesses cater to different industries.

Adolf Dassler & Rudolf Dassler

These two German brothers, who started together, and were pioneers in the shoe-making business, but parted ways after an unknown reason.
There are many rumors and theories that revolve around their fallout. However, their rivalry was so bitter, that even death did not bury the hatchet. The two went on to build two of the most successful brands we know - Adidas and Puma.


Cleopatra & Ptolemy XIII

This Egyptian brother and sister duo were willed to co-rule their kingdom by their father. However, the ambitious Cleopatra had no intentions of sharing power with her brother. Though she was ousted by her brother, she managed to usurp the throne after her comeback, seeking vengeance.


Goneril, Regan & Cordelia

King Lear is a tragic play by Shakespeare, that displays sibling rivalry between three sisters, which is unfortunately created by their own father when he asks them to prove who loves him the most. The first two scheming sisters, Goneril and Regan, join hands against the youngest one Cordelia.
They sing false praises for their father, and get their share of his kingdom and wealth, whereas Cordelia is thrown out as she says nothing to praise the king. The foolish king later realizes that his youngest daughter loved him the most, and the other two were merely bluffing to obtain his wealth.


Eppie Lederer & Pauline Phillips

These two advice columnists wrote under different names, and were the talk of the town. Eppie got the first chance to write a column named 'Ann', and Pauline helped her by answering some of her letters. Later, Pauline decided to start her own column under the name 'Dear Abby', which became a huge hit.

Fictional Characters

Alan & Charlie

Two and a Half Men: These two characters with opposing personalities, still proving the fact that 'men will men', are known for their impeccable sense of humor. While Charlie is a womanizer, and to his luck, has that charm (and money too) to pull so many women into his bed, Alan is the underdog, who is left penniless after paying alimony.
Yet, they share the same roof, with Alan refusing to let go of his brother's house. These two opposite characters were much-loved by the audience worldwide. After Charlie's exit from the show, it has never been like before, and he is missed by all his fans.


Paris Hilton & Nicky Hilton

The two Hilton sisters, who are socialites and fashionistas, obviously have been the talk of the town often because of their cat-fights. However, they were together on National Siblings Day held in April 2015.
Well, a little bit of rivalry is present in every family we can say. But the sisters are very much together. Currently, Nicky is all set to get hitched to James Rothschild, and elder sister is busy planning her sister's wedding.
With all these cases, it seems that some rivalries are indeed healthy, but it is society that compares two individuals in an unfair manner. Often, the younger sibling is overshadowed by the elder success, or people taunt the elder sibling if the younger one is more successful.
Having an elder sibling, I feel it is one of the most unique and wonderful relations in life. Even though siblings are at war in their careers, a healthy bond between them will guarantee that they never carry it off-field.