Untold Truth of Heather Joy Arrington, Dakota Fanning’s Mother

Heather Joy Arrington is the mother of Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning, the two superstar Hollywood actresses. She is a former American tennis player who was born on July 14, 1967, and is a currently 56 years old .

Heather was instrumental in identifying and nurturing the talents of her daughters from an early age. Now that they are famous Hollywood actresses, they have not forgotten all she has done for them and as a result, they love and adore her. They often hang out with her and have praised her effusively in interviews.

Summary of Heather Joy Arrington’s Biography

  • Full name: Heather Joy Arrington Fanning
  • Gender: Female
  • Date of birth: 14 July 1967
  • Heather Joy Arrington’s Age: 56 years old
  • Ethnicity: Caucasian
  • Nationality: American
  • Zodiac Sign: Cancer
  • Sexual Orientation: straight
  • Religion: Christianity
  • Marital Status: divorced
  • Heather Joy Arrington’s ex-Husband: Steve J Fanning
  • Heather Joy Arrington’s Children: Elle Mary and Dakota Hannah
  • Heather Joy Arrington’s Parents: Rick Arrington and Mary Jane Odum
  • Siblings: Jill Arrington
  • Heather Joy Arrington’s Height in Inches: 5 feet 8 inches
  • Heather Joy Arrington’s Height in Centimeters: 173
  • Heather Joy Arrington’s Weight: 60 kg
  • Heather Joy Arrington’s Net worth: $1 million
  • Famous for: Dakota Fanning’s mother

Heather Joy Arrington is the Daughter of Rick Arrington – An Ex-NFL Player

Heather Joy Arrington was born on the 14th of July 1967 in Conyers, Georgia. She has American nationality as well as Caucasian ethnicity. Arrington hails from a family of four. Her mother’s name is Mary Jane Odum while her father’s name is Rick Arrington.
Heather Joy’s father, Rick, is a former NFL player.

He played college football at the University of Georgia and the University of Tulsa. He was drafted into the NFL upon graduation and spent his playing days with the Philadelphia Eagles (1970 – 1973) before his career was brought to a halt by recurring knee injuries.

Beyond her immediate family, Heather Joy Arrington is also royalty. She is the 21st great-granddaughter of King Edward III of England. Through that line, she is also related to Carole Middleton, the mother of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Her Sister, Jill Arrington, is a Well-Known Journalist

Heather Joy Arrington has one sibling, a sister named Jill Tiffany Arrington, who is a popular sports anchor and broadcaster. Jill studied broadcast journalism and political science at the University of Miami between 1990 and 1994. She started her career as a production assistant for CNN. She later worked as a host and reporter for Fox Sports from 1999 to 2000.

From 2000 to 2003, Jill Arrington worked as a host and sideline reporter for ESPN. During that same time period, she also worked as a sideline reporter and feature reporter for CBS Corporation. Jill presently works in Los Angeles as a sports anchor for KCBS/KCAL

Jill  Arrington is a trailblazing female sports journalist but she faced some criticism in the course of her career. She was once crowned the sexiest sportscaster in America in 2001 in a Playboy poll voted for by the public. She took it in stride but some people saw it as exploitative and a disservice to other female journalists.

Dakota Fanning’s Mother Played Tennis During Her College Days

Heather Joy Harrington majorly spent her formative years in Conyers, Georgia, and had a great childhood. Her father’s NFL career had halted when she was quite young and so, he wasn’t too busy for the family. He made out time to indulge her and her sister in his love for the sport and coached them in softball.

Given all this, Heather Joy Arrington inherited her father’s love for sports. Her niche was tennis and she played all through her childhood and her teenage years. She eventually gained a tennis scholarship to the University of Miami. Heather spent about four years studying at the institution as well as playing for them. She later graduated in the late 80s with a degree in fashion merchandising

Heather Joy Arrington possibly pursued her tennis career after college but she later left it to work a regular job and focus on her kids. She later scaled back her career altogether so as to help her daughters build theirs.

She was Previously Married To Steve J Fanning, a Former Baseball Player

Heather Joy Arrington was formerly married to Steve J Fanning. Fanning also grew up in Georgia and is a former baseball player. He played in the minor leagues and was a pitcher for the St Louis Cardinals. He later became an electronics salesman to make ends meet.

It is not exactly clear when and how Heather Joy met Steve but their mutual love for sports may have played a part in bringing them together. There is also the fact that they both grew up in the state of Georgia. Whichever it was, they started dating in the early 90s and tied the knot in 1993. They later settled down to family life in Conyers, Georgia.

They Divorced in 2018 after 25 Years Together

Heather Joy Arrington was married to Steve J Fanning for 25 years during which they welcomed two daughters namely Dakota (b. 1994) ad Elle (b. 1998). The couple were compatible in so many ways and were able to shepherd their children on their Hollywood journey without any disagreements.

However, they later experienced some issues along the way and Steve filed for divorce in 2016. He and Heather later reconciled and the truce held for a year and a half. However, by January 2018, he filed for divorce a second time. This time around, he and Heather really went through with it and their divorce was finalized in August 2018.

There was no order for child custody pronouncements as their children were already grown adults. There was also no order for spousal support and the erstwhile couple also reached a private agreement on how they divided up their assets. The true reason behind the couple’s divorce is yet to be unraveled but the split was an amicable one. There is also nothing to show that Heather Joy Arrington has remarried.

Heather Joy Arrington
Heather Joy Arrington with her ex-husband and their two daughters Image Source

Heather Joy Arrington’s Two Daughters are Famous Hollywood Actresses

Heather Joy Arrington has two children namely Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning. Both are from her marriage to Steve and both have gone on to become famous actresses in Hollywood.

Dakota Fanning

Heather Joy Arrington’s eldest child is named Dakota Fanning. She was born in 1994 and started her acting career at the age of five. She has since gone on to feature in several movies and TV series such as I Am Sam, War of the Worlds, Dreamer, Hide and Seek, Charlotte’s Web, The Secret Life of Bess, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, and The Alienist.

Dakota Hannah has received several awards, including best performance in a feature film by a young actress aged ten or under at the 2002 Young Artists Awards. She was also awarded best performance in a TV movie, mini-series, or special – leading young actress at the 2003 Young Artist Awards.

Dakota also holds the record for the youngest person to receive a SAG award nomination: a feat she achieved at the age of eight in 2002. This was for her role in the 2001 movie I Am Sam.

Elle Fanning

Another famous daughter that Heather Joy Arrington has is Mary Elle Fanning. Born in 1998, Elle also started her career at a young age and often played the baby version of her elder sister’s onscreen characters. From these humble beginnings, she has built an enviable career for herself in the industry and can be seen in movies such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Super 8, and We Bought A Zoo.

Elle also worked with Angelina Jolie in the Disney fantasy film, Maleficent. Maleficent is a retelling of the classic sleeping beauty story and Elle Fanning plays the role of Princess Aurora. The movie grossed $758.5 million at the box office on a budget of $180-$263 million and led to a sequel that saw Elle reprise her lead role.

Elle Fanning also plays the lead role in the Hulu series, The Great, which premiered in May 2020. The Great is a satirical take on Russia’s longest-serving female ruler, Catherine The Great, and Fanning played the empress as the series chronicled her youth and marriage to the depraved Peter III.

Her performance was a wonderful one which fetched her numerous industry accolades. She won the award for best actress in a television series musical or comedy at the 2021 Satelite Awards. She was further nominated for best lead actress in a comedy series at prestigious award ceremonies such as the Golden Globe Awards, Critics’ Choice Television Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards all in 2022.

Heather is Instrumental in the Success her Daughters Have Achieved

Heather Joy Arrington contributed a lot to the success that her daughters have achieved presently and they regularly attest to this. For instance, Dakota has revealed that while she was growing up, her mom wanted her to imbibe her (Heather Joy’s) love for tennis. When this did not happen, she was unhappy but nevertheless supported her in what she wanted to do.

Heather helped find agents to represent her little girl and when the young girl’s career started taking off, she decided to move the family to Los Angeles so that Dakota could have access to the best of opportunities. In Los Angeles, Heather gladly drove her daughter to her auditions, brought a change of clothes, and more importantly ensured that no one took advantage of the little girl.

Heather Joy Arrington also did not mismanage her children’s money but made sure that their money was properly saved up for them. She also did not try to micromanage their careers. She never acted as their manager but employed professionals to do the job for them.

All of Heather Joy’s efforts helped her daughters to achieve success and they remain eternally grateful to her. Dakota has spoken at length about the sacrifice that her mom made, basically giving her own life aspirations for her. She has also described her mom as her everything.

Dakota has also revealed that the reason she remains grounded and has not gone the destructive path of some other child stars is that her parents instilled in her good habits such as the importance of manners as well as respect for adults. The superstar actress has also revealed that her parents made sure to give her a normal childhood and taught her to ensure that she remained a good person and a person that is true to herself no matter what.

She However Prefers Staying Out of the Spotlight

Despite having two daughters who are famous Hollywood celebrities, Heather Joy Arrington still prefers to stay out of the spotlight. She hardly makes it to the red carpet for her daughters’ movie premieres or award nights. It is also rare to find any interviews that she has given about her daughters. Heather Joy Arrington is also not on social media, unlike some other celebrity mothers and fathers.

The only public sighting of Heather Joy Arrington is when she is out and about with her daughters. She is super close to her daughters and is often spotted in Los Angeles with them on routine tasks such as getting lunch, going to shopping or just taking a stroll. She has also been spotted in New York with them as well.

Heather Joy Arrington’s lifestyle does not come as a surprise. She is a very private person who did not allow her kids to use Facebook as children. She believes that one’s personal life should be kept private and her children imbibed this. For instance, Dakota is rarely on social media and she always takes care to protect her love life from members of the public.

Heather and her Ex-Husband Were Criticized for Dakota’s Role in the 2007 Movie, Hounddog

Most people are full of praise for the way Dakota Fanning’s mom and dad raised her but there has also been criticism. For instance, the couple was heavily criticized allowing their daughter to feature in the 2007 film, Hounddog.

Hounddog is a drama film about a young girl, Lewellen, who is often neglected by her parents. She later suffers a terrible rape experience but the music of Elvis Presley helps her to deal with her trauma. A 13-year-old Dakota Fanning featured in Hounddog as Lewellen and though she was praised for her performance, the movie was derided by critics and filmgoers alike. It also caused an uproar amongst Politicians and evangelical groups alike.

Many people were disgusted with the rape scene and criticized it as exploitative. They also blamed Fanning’s parents for allowing her to star in it with Heather Joy getting the bulk of the criticism. Dakota didn’t take too kindly to this. She reminded people that it was only acting. She also reminded them that the purpose of the movie was to help provide healing to girls that had been through that experience.

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