What We Know About Ryan Gosling's Complicated Relationship With His Dad Thomas

Ryan Gosling is known for big screen roles like Ken in "Barbie" and Noah in "The Notebook," the latter of which was nearly played by another actor. The Ontario native has a thriving personal life, too, and is a loving partner and doting father. Gosling and his partner, Eva Mendes, have kept their relationship timeline private, but were first publicly linked in 2011 and have two daughters together. Even though the "La La Land" actor has happily embraced fatherhood, his relationship with his own dad is another story.

While Ryan was accompanied by his sister Mandi at the 2024 Oscars, with their mother and stepdad also making appearances, his father Thomas Gosling was notably absent from the award celebrations. Gosling has revealed that he had a troubled childhood, with his rocky relationship with his dad being one source of conflict. "I was a lonely child, I didn't do well at school and TV was my only friend," he told the Daily News.

Back in 2017, a source close to the family told Radar Online that Ryan and his father were somewhat estranged, with the elder Gosling hoping for a reconciliation. "We're all worried about Ryan and want him to reconnect," the source said. "We just want him to know we're all here for him and whatever has happened in the past is done and dusted. We want him to be part of our family."

Ryan Gosling's parents divorced when he was a tween

Ryan Gosling has occasionally provided insight into his complicated relationship with his father. Donna and Thomas Gosling divorced when their son was 13 years old, with Ryan and his sister Mandi subsequently being raised by their single mother.

Outlets like Radar Online have reported that there were accusations of both emotional and physical abuse from both parties during the court proceedings, though these claims haven't been substantiated. Ryan, however, has commented on how life-changing his parent's divorce was for him, explaining to The Guardian that his 2014 film "Lost River" was "a visualisation of my emotions at that time. Everything demolished."

The fantastical film, which was Ryan's directorial debut, follows a single mother and her two sons as they struggle to keep their family together. Though it was largely panned by critics, it was noted for being visually stunning. With how little Ryan has actually said about his father, the 2014 movie also provides an interesting glimpse into his mindset following the divorce of his parents.

The actor has always been close to his mother

Throughout his career, Ryan Gosling has been pretty vocal about his positive relationship with his mom Donna Gosling. Ryan was raised Mormon in a "pretty religious" household, as he told The Guardian. "My mother admits it: She says, you were raised by a religious zealot.  She's different now, but at the time, it was a part of everything."

While the religious upbringing didn't stick — Ryan doesn't consider himself Mormon — his mother's influence has shaped him into who he is today. Donna even temporarily homeschooled him when he was experiencing trouble at school due to having ADHD, which made it difficult for him to focus, and being bullied by his peers. Being homeschooled, even though it was for a short time, was beneficial to the budding performer. "It really did turn things about for me," he told British GQ. "I had a great teacher, though. My mother was so good at it she became a teacher."

Donna Gosling has continued to provide support to her famous son as an adult. Though it was initially difficult for her to see Ryan in some of his darker movies, including the leading role of a Jewish man who becomes a violent neo-Nazi in "The Believer," she has come to terms with the eccentric collection of roles he's assumed. "My poor mother, she doesn't ask questions any more," he told The Guardian, going on to reference his 2007 movie "Lars and the Real Girl." "She just says, 'Oh yeah, sex-doll movie. It's great!' She's a really supportive mom."