All About Elle Fanning and Dakota Fanning's Sister Relationship

Elle Fanning and Dakota Fanning, née Mary Elle Fanning and Hannah Dakota Fanning, discovered their shared passion for acting at a young age.

The sisters used to perform elaborate scenes around their home in Georgia, Elle told Porter in 2019. Soon enough, Elle, now 25, and Dakota, 29, both landed roles in the 2001 film I Am Sam and their careers took off from there. Elle has found success with projects like the Disney film Maleficent and her Hulu series The Great, while Dakota is known for films like Charlotte’s Web, The Twilight Saga and Ocean’s 8.

The sisters work together professionally — they have their own production company, Lewellen Pictures — and they also have a close bond.

In a February 2022 Instagram post for Dakota’s 28th birthday, Elle posted childhood photos with her sister, writing: “My big sister who I watch effortlessly layer jewelry in such a cool way and wear hair clips that i could never pull off and bake insanely good cakes … Dakota is the perfect person and she is ALL MINE!!!!!”

The next year, Dakota returned the favor in a post for Elle’s 25th birthday. “My confidante, my truth-teller, my person in all lifetimes,” she captioned a black-and-white photo of them embracing. “Being your sister is a dream. Happy birthday angel, i love you the most.”

So who are Elle Fanning and Dakota Fanning? Here’s what to know about the actresses and their relationship with each other.
They’re from Georgia

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The actresses grew up in Conyers, Georgia. Per the New York Times Magazine, they went back and forth between Georgia and California until they permanently moved to Los Angeles when Dakota’s acting career took off at just 6 years old.

During a September 2020 interview with Vanity Fair, Elle taught some Georgia slang. She explained that in Georgia, people tend to say “fall” rather than “autumn” and that Waffle House is “the best restaurant in the world” with “the best breakfast in existence.” She also mentioned that “pretty as a peach” is a great compliment and that “tea” in Georgia is synonymous with sweet tea. According to Elle, her grandmother makes the best sweet tea.
They were already performing as young children

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Elle and Dakota both caught the acting bug when they were young. “My sister and I would play these elaborate scenes around the house,” Elle told Porter in 2019. “Like birthing scenes … I would be the baby, coming out … Crazy stuff like that.” She noted that they were doing it on their own. “We weren’t, like, ‘Oh, Mom and Dad, sit down and we’re gonna perform for you,’ ” she added.

The actress remembered that she would often dance and sing, but Dakota wasn’t a fan. “My sister would yell at me to shut up ’cause I was singing all the time, too loud,” she told the outlet. “I had this hyper, like, ‘Whoo, I gotta go-go-go’ personality, you know? I still do.”

During a Q&A at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Dakota explained that she fell into acting unexpectedly. “It all started so coincidentally for me,” she said. “I did this commercial and I had a good time so I did another one, then I did a TV show which turned into a movie and then I was an actor all of a sudden. I wasn’t a kid that was like, ‘I want to be in the movies.’ "

Dakota continued: “I just liked to play around the house and make up scenarios and my mom kind of noticed that I was disinterested in all of the lessons she put me in. I just wanted to play at home so she put me in a drama camp to see if I liked doing that.”
They have some royal ancestry

Donato Sardella/Getty researchers found historical documents, including census, birth and death records, that the sisters are actually the 22nd great-granddaughters of King Edward III. They’re related to the royal family through their mother, Heather Joy Arrington.

This relation also means that the Fanning sisters are 21st cousins of Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales. Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, is a great-granddaughter of Edward III as well.
Dakota hates going on dates

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In October 2016, Dakota told Town & Country that she doesn’t enjoy dating. “I find dates, in general, horrific,” she said. “We have to sit there and ask these questions and pretend to eat a meal, and it just feels so stiff.” She explained that she’d rather meet a potential partner through a friend because the person is “most likely not a freak.”

The producer and actress explained that her preferences stem from how she grew up. “I was raised by very traditional Southern parents with Southern manners,” she said. “You don’t air your dirty laundry to people that aren’t your family or your friends. Why would I ever want to portray myself as anything other than together?”
They’re working on a movie together

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The sisters have wanted to act together for a long time, and they have a movie in the works called The Nightingale.

In May 2020, Elle told Entertainment Tonight: “It was so exciting and special to finally find a script. We’ve been looking for something for so long, and this story is completely a sister story. That’s the heart of it. What more could we ask for?”

Although the project was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Elle told Porter in 2022 that they were deeply invested in their first time acting together. “It’s a very rare and special thing that we both do this,” she said. “We can’t have the first time over again, so we want it to be the right thing.”

A year later, Elle said that The Nightingale may be “coming back around.” On the podcast Happy Sad Confused, she told host Josh Horowitz, “I think we both would want that to be the one” to star in together.

The sisters have technically appeared in the same film before. In the 2001 movie, I Am Sam, Elle played the younger version of Dakota’s character.
They have a production company

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Elle and Dakota launched their production company, Lewellen Pictures, in March 2021, signing a first look deal with Civic Center Media and MRC Television. “We are thrilled to be launching this company together and to be teaming up with MRC who have been excellent partners on The Great,” the sisters said in a statement. “Our goal is to tell stories, through comedy and drama, which are authentic to the human experience, and not just from our own perspective.”

Per Deadline, the sisters plan to develop television shows, films and other types of media. As their first project, Elle and Dakota began work on a TV adaptation of Megan Miranda’s novel The Last House Guest.

According to MRC Entertainment, they also produced the 2022 Hulu miniseries, The Girl from Plainville, which starred Elle as Michelle Carter, the woman who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after convincing her boyfriend to die by suicide in 2014. Hulu announced another partnership with Lewellen Pictures in April 2023: The streaming platform and production company teamed up for a docuseries called Mastermind, which tells the story of renowned nurse and FBI consultant Dr. Ann Burgess, per Variety.
Elle is a hopeless romantic

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During an April 2023 interview with Harper’s Bazaar U.K., Elle confirmed that she and her boyfriend of five years, Max Minghella, had recently split. Nevertheless, she still considered herself a “hopeless romantic.”

“I believe in love at first sight,” the actress said. “Call me crazy, but I believe in those things. I feel that it's my destiny.”
They both have brand partnerships

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Elle and Dakota each partner with brands and post promotional content on their Instagram pages, where they have millions of followers.

Dakota is a brand ambassador for the skincare and makeup brand Clé de Peau Beauté. On May 2, 2023, she posted a photo of herself with one of its products, and wrote in the caption, “The Concentrated Brightening Serum from @cledepeaubeaute gives me the perfect glow for summer!”

Dakota also gave a glowing review of its product La Crème. “I have noticed such a difference in the hydration of my skin, the way that I wake up looking more refreshed, and plumper, and more glowy,” she said in a video.

Elle is a global ambassador for the French jewelry company Cartier and the face of its Grain de Café collection. “

Cartier has my heart forever,” she wrote in a June 2023 Instagram post. “This campaign is a dream come true and the new stunning #graindecafé collection is modernized while still nodding to the history of the past.”

She also promoted Paco Rabanne’s fragrance Fame in several different posts in 2022.
They share a special bond

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In the July/August 2019 issue of Shape, Dakota opened up about her relationship with her sister. “My sister, Elle, and I are really close,” she said. “We always have been. We’re very different, but we’re very connected. We don’t talk every day, but we don’t have to. We just have that special bond."

She noted that they’re always rooting for each other, adding, “There’s no one I want to succeed more in this business than my sister, and I know she wants the same for me.”

During her May 2020 interview with ET, Elle shared a similar sentiment. “Your sister knows you more than anyone,” she said. “I mean, she can sniff anything out of you. She can push your buttons more than anybody. That dynamic is so special and unique. They know your family more than anybody.”

Elle emphasized, “She is my closest person.”