Tessa Gourin/Instagram; FocKan/WireImage
Tessa Gourin continues to speak out about her childhood and what she says it was like growing up as the estranged daughter of Jack Nicholson.
The New York-based actress, 28, spoke with The Daily Beast in a recent interview about her experiences, explaining that since she was young, her mother, Jennine Gourin, told her “not to tell anyone that I have this famous father.”
“I knew he was powerful and Daddy Warbucks-level rich, so I kind of equated my life to being like Orphan Annie’s,” she said.
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Gourin told the publication — which described her as the “spitting image” of Nicholson — that the actor “wasn’t interested” in having a relationship with her when she was a child. Gourin declined to go into detail on specifics, although she did state that he funded her early education.
“When you’re a child, you don’t have a choice where you’re going, so if your mom is pushing you on someone who’s technically your father and he agrees to see you for anywhere between one hour and a couple of days , that’s where you’re going to go,” Gourin said. “I don’t know this person very well, we’ll just say that.”
Nicholson, who has five other children, has not publicly acknowledged Gourin as his daughter. A rep for the actor did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Gourin also told The Daily Beast that she wanted to act her entire life, asking to be filmed as a kid and performing at sleepovers. “My mom wouldn’t let me act when I was younger, and I can respect that, but I’m like, ‘F—, I would have killed it,'” she said.
Last month, Gourin wrote a piece for Newsweek where she explained that she “sat on the sidelines and watched in frustration as other celebrity children have seamlessly secured roles or been signed to huge agencies.” She added some additional thoughts on the “nepo baby” discussion and other actresses denying that they benefitted from nepotism in her The Daily Beast interview.
“It’s such a double-sided thing, because I can also understand the frustration of getting in the door, and then once you’re there it’s like, ‘Okay, now show us what you can do,’ ” Gourin said. “But as an actor, that’s the most exciting thing to me. It’s a driving force to want to prove yourself. This guilty thing about ultimately having a gift is something you should just work out yourself, and put into your work.”
RELATED: Jack Nicholson’s 5 Children: Everything to Know
While she had a lifelong admiration for acting, Gourin revealed that she grew fearful of being blacklisted because of her connection to Nicholson, and stopped in her mid-20s. “I was afraid people would think I was tacky or that I was riding off his coattails,” she said. “But this person doesn’t want me in his life, so how would you use that to your benefit?”
As an actor, Gourin said she has respect for Nicholson. “I really want this to come across: If I were to discredit anything about his acting, then that wouldn’t make me an artist, because making art and being the world’s greatest dad are not the same thing,” she said.
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Nicholson’s five other children are Jennifer Nicholson, 59, from his marriage to Sandra Knight; Caleb Goddard, 52, with Five Easy Pieces costar Susan Anspach; Honey Hollman, 41, with model Winnie Hollman; and daughter Lorraine, 32, and son Ray, 30, with actress Rebecca Broussard.
The actor previously told AARP Magazine in 2010 that he wanted to be “inspirational, or some kind of good influence on them without overburdening them” as a father.
“I always read to them, from childhood on; I think that’s a father’s responsibility,” he said at the time of the two younger children. “I took them to things I knew they might not love — opera, ballet. They like going to the ball games with me. And they are very comfortable around show business; they are good set rats.”