Is there any relation between these Hollywood stars? When Stranger Things premiered in 2016, fans wondered if Gaten Matarazzo — who plays Dustin Henderson on the show — was related to fellow actress Heather Matarazzo in real life! Keep reading for everything we know. 

Who Is Heather Matarazzo?

The Princess Diaries fans may recognize that name! The actress played Lilly Moscovitz alongside Anne Hathaway‘s Mia Thermopolis in the 2001 film.

“This is a question I get asked a lot, and here’s the deal: I know for me, that the opinions and feelings I had when I was a teenager are not the same opinions and feelings I have as an adult,” the actress said of her iconic role in a TikTok video from June 2021. “The thing I love about Lilly is that she was self-aware enough to admit when she was in the wrong, which is not something I can say for many adults. [For instance], she very clearly said that she needed an ‘attitude adjustment.’”

Since her days playing Lilly, the actress has gone on to nab some TV and movie roles, including several episodes of Grey’s Anatomy in 2015.

Are Heather Matarazzo and Gaten Matarazzo Related?

Here’s the thing, Gaten’s mom’s name is actually Heather — making her Heather Matarazzo — however, it’s not the same person as this Princess Diaries star.

“We are not related. He is NOT my son, though he is adorable and such a good actor,” actress Heather shared in a since-deleted Twitter post from 2016. In July 2022, she addressed fan questions once again in a TikTok video, writing, “I adore #gatenmatarazzo but he is NOT my son.”

Gaten, for his part, addressed the rumors during an interview with Wired in November 2017. When he was asked, “Is Gaten Matarazzo related to Heather Matarazzo?” the New Jersey native made the distinction between his mother and the actress.

Uncover the 'Stranger Things' Cast in Their Very 1st Onscreen Acting Roles
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

“Not the actress, but my mother’s name is Heather Matarazzo,” the Netflix star explained. Costar Joe Keery chimed in, adding, “I was going to say, that is your mom’s name. So, there’s an actress?”

Gaten explained, “There’s an actress named Heather Matarazzo and everyone’s like, ‘Is that his mother?’ and I’m like, ‘No.'”

Joe also seemed surprised by the comparison noting, “I didn’t even know that,” before they moved on to the next question.

Who Is Gaten Matarazzo’s Mom?

While she’s not actually an actress, Gaten’s mom is a bit of a star in her own right. Heather responsible for supporting her son’s decision to go into acting,  she even drove him into the city from their hometown in New Jersey every night when he landed a role in a Broadway show.

Gaten’s mom describes herself on Twitter as: “A broadway stage mom, a soccer/basketball mom, and the mom of a just-about-to-drive teenager! They are my joy.”

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