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All About Paul Giamatti's Family, Girlfriend, and Son

The Holdovers star has a long career in Hollywood but has kept his family mostly out of the limelight.

By Elizabeth Logan

The Holdovers star Paul Giamatti is one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. With memorable roles in films like Sideways and Big Fat Liar  — and an iconic guest appearance on 30 Rock — he's by far one of America's most treasured character actors. But not too much is known about his family life. Read on for what he has revealed.

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Paul Giamatti's parents and early life

After a boarding school education, the actor attended Yale for both his undergraduate degree and an acting MFA. His father, A. Bartlett Giamatti, was Yale's 19th president, and his mother, Toni Marilyn Giamatti, taught English at a New Haven prep school, per Yale. Sadly, both of his parents have passed away. Giamatti's mother died during production of the 2005 drama Cinderella Man. The film's star, Russell Crowe, revealed to People that he promised Giamatti's mother he would use his industry clout to get the studio to campaign for an Oscar nomination for her son. Giamatti was nominated for Best Supporting Actor the next year.

He remembers having a "standard sort of Christmas" growing up, as he told People, recalling,"Well, I'm Italian, so we had a panettone every year. That's the only thing I still do, which is an Italian breakfast cake you eat on Christmas."

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Paul Giamatti accepts the award for Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for "The Holdovers" at the 81st Golden Globe Awards

About Paul Giamatti's son, Samuel 

In October 1997, Giamatti married Elizabeth Cohen in New York City. He revealed in 2007 that although he identifies as an atheist, Cohen was Jewish, and they were raising their son, Samuel Paul Giamatti, with Jewish traditions like Hanukkah. 

In a 2011 essay for The Guardian, he reflected dryly, "I wouldn't discourage my son from acting but neither would I encourage it actively. Sam is interesting, a funny combination of being a little shy and sometimes enjoying stuff like acting. He's a really good kid, he's a lot of fun. He likes to read and watch movies like I did at his age. Fatherhood is OK."

Giamatti and Elizabeth have since split. 

About Paul Giamatti's girlfriend, Clara Wong

Clara Wong and Paul Giamatti pose for a photo at the Nominees' Party for the EE BAFTA Film Awards 2024

During the first season of Billions, viewers saw that Giamatti's character, a tightly-wound attorney, lets off steam by visiting a dominatrix played by Clara Wong. Wong and Giamatti must have hit it off, because three years after the show's premiere in 2016, they went public as a couple.

Wong is a successful actress, with roles in What We Do in the Shadows and Law & Order: Organized Crime, as well as the recent film You Hurt My Feelings. She is also a feline enthusiast, as is clear from her Instagram.

In his Golden Globes acceptance speech, Giamatti said (per TODAY), “I want to say, I love my beautiful girlfriend, Clara Wong. Why you bother with me, I don’t know why.

Stream The Holdovers on Peacock now.