Anthony Hopkins Left His Only Child When She Was a Toddler - They Had a Reunion but It Did Not Last

Popular Welsh actor, Anthony Hopkins, abandoned his 14-month-old child when he divorced his first wife, Petronella Barker. Father and daughter reunited years later, but the pain his absence caused lingered, and they soon stopped speaking to each other.

Anthony Hopkins was born in Port Talbot, Wales, in 1937. He was the only child of his parents. Hopkins did not do well in school, and by the age of seventeen, he dropped out.

The youngster was inspired by local actor Richard Burton, whose autograph he got at the age of fifteen, so he decided to become an actor himself, setting his sights on the stage.

Anthony Hopkins and daughter Abigail Hopkins circa 1991 | Source: Getty Images

The actor joined the National Theatre in 1960 but was given non-speaking roles in plays. Hopkins was so disgruntled and, with this fierce drive to be a star, confronted the casting director about what he had to do to get leading roles.

During the early 70s, Hopkins became a stage star in London. In 1974, the Welshman moved to America intending to become a Hollywood star, and soon after, he landed roles in movies like "A Bridge Too Far" and "Elephant Man."

He also appeared in TV mini­series like "Hollywood Wives" and "Great Expectations." In 1991, Hopkins rose to fame when he landed the role of Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter in "Silence of the Lambs." The actor won an Oscar for his performance in the movie.

The actor has since enjoyed stellar success in Hollywood, appearing in multiple blockbuster movies over the years. He also recently earned critical praises for his performance as a feisty, elderly Londoner succumbing to dementia in "The Father."

Anthony Hopkins’s Personal Life

The upcoming actor was struggling with alcoholism when he married actress Petronella Barker in 1966. They had met while the Welshman was filming a play. Their marriage was supposedly not a happy one initially, but they welcomed their daughter Abigail two years later, in 1968.

After the birth of their child, Hopkins started staying out more, and his drinking habits increased. Sometimes, the Welshman would drink a bottle of tequila in a day.

In 1970, Hopkins was reportedly so drunk he missed a flight back to London, and Pinewood studios had to send one of their secretaries, Jenni Lynton, to get him. The actor started a relationship with Lynton, and two years later, in 1972, he divorced his wife and left her to take care of their only child alone.

He married Lynton a year later before moving to America with her on his quest for a Hollywood career. Just like his first marriage, the actor divorced Lynton in 2002.

The actor married his third wife, Stella Arroyave, in 2003, who the actor explained made him happy after years of being in bad relationships.

His Estranged Daughter Speaks

Abigail was 14 months old when her father, Hopkins, walked out on the young girl and her mother. In an interview, Abigail revealed that she only saw her father once a year during her childhood.

When she was 16, they fell out completely when a row happened with Hopkins over the treatment of her mother. Abigail dropped out of University when she was 18 and shortly after suffered a breakdown. She said:

"I bottled up so much emotion in my childhood it caused my mind to go. I came very close to killing myself. It was the worst time I can remember. I totally abused my mind and body."

After this episode, she trained as an actor at the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York. In 1990, Hopkins and Abigail had a brief reunion, which enabled her to have cameos on two of his films, "Shadowlands" and "The Remains of the Day."

Speaking on the filming experience with her father, Abigail revealed that even on set, she and her father kept to themselves and rarely spoke. Since then, they have barely spoken for two decades and remain bitterly estranged.

Abigail, a singer-songwriter based in London, revealed her father has never been to any of her concerts despite several of his trips to London coinciding with her performances.

The singer revealed that she and Hopkins share some traits because of their genes. These include his love for acting, some of his depressive traits, and most especially playing the guitar, a love she inherited from her father.

Despite their years of estranged relationship, Abigail has been reluctant to criticize her father Hopkins, instead embracing the independence her music gives and giving herself time to move out from under his shadow.

Hopkins’ Reflections

The Radio Times asked the Oscar winner whether he was a grandfather or not; the actor coldly replied he did not know or care if Abigail had any children. He said:

"I don't have any idea. People break up. Families split and, you know: 'Get on with your life.' People make choices. I don't care one way or the other."

The actor also revealed he did not know where Abigail lived and that people could do whatever they wanted. Children do not have to like their fathers, and neither is it compulsory for someone to love their family.

Hopkins was told his reply sounded cold, and the legendary actor responded, it was cold because life is cold. His remarks about Abigail reportedly stem from their long tortured relationship, and also, the actor sometimes felt rejected by his daughter as he rejected her once as a kid.

The Oscar winner also ascribed his past difficult relationships due to his drinking habit, which nearly damaged his health. He also blamed his difficult upbringing due to his parents sending him to a boarding school which he hated.

Hopkins was also diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a neurological condition that affects social interaction. Although he has tried to represent himself with warmth and friendliness, he has always felt empty inside all his life.