Kate and Oliver Hudson Get Candid on The Importance of Family, Wellness, and Enjoying Your 40s

Throughout 2020, many of us spent more time with family than usual— after all, it was tough to see anyone else! So, as the year comes to an end, Health wanted to celebrate those very special bonds, and we could think of no better way to do that than with an uplifting, fun convo between hilarious and charming siblings Kate and Oliver Hudson. 
By Bethany Heitman
November 10, 2020

Spend just a few minutes with Kate and Oliver Hudson and you can’t help but be filled with the warm and fuzzies. The love and respect these siblings have for each other radiates out of them. But before you start rolling your eyes, know this: It’s not in a cheesy, golly-gee way at all. In fact, the duo spend much of their time cracking jokes (sometimes at the other’s expense!) while still lifting each other up. Ollie, as Kate calls him, raves about Kate’s fearless nature and work ethic—along with her fierce acting career, Kate cofounded the activewear company Fabletics; she’s the founder of King St. Vodka; and her latest venture is InBloom, a collection of supplements. And Kate clearly looks up to Oliver as an older brother and gushes about how great a father he is.

They speak with the same affection for the rest of their family, which includes mom Goldie Hawn and her longtime partner Kurt Russell (whom they affectionately call Pa), as well as stepbrother Boston and half-brother Wyatt. Their kids are also close. Oliver has two sons and a daughter with Erinn, his wife of 14 years. Kate also has two sons, and in October 2018 she welcomed a daughter with boyfriend Danny Fujikawa (the talented photographer who shot this story!). But they’re also refreshingly candid in admitting no family is absolutely perfect. Kate, 41, and Oliver, 44, are so interested in family dynamics that in November 2019 they launched a hit podcast. Together, they cohost Sibling Revelry and interview experts and famous siblings about their bonds—while also digging into their own relationship. The biggest takeaway? That family is important and that no matter what type of familial relationships you have, they have a major influence on who you are. 

As we Zoomed with Kate and Oliver shortly after their Health cover shoot, Kate expanded on this very notion. “I’m really glad we’re doing this with Health because when people talk about wellness, we talk a lot about what we put into our body and working out,” she says. “But I also think the connections with family and how we relate to one another can become a direct reflection of how we feel or do not feel about ourselves. The healthier your relationships are with your family, the healthier your relationship will be with yourself.” Oliver, who, like Kate, has had a successful acting career for more than two decades, is very much on the same page. “And it goes both ways,” he adds. “If you have a healthy relationship with yourself, it lends itself to having a healthy relationship with your family.”

Left: Credit: DANNY FUJIKAWA
Right: Credit: DANNY FUJIKAWA

How have you both been keeping busy during this time?

Kate: Well, I’ve been working and Ollie has been camping. 

Oliver, you’ve posted some interesting camping shots on Instagram…

Oliver: Oh, yes. I did another butt shot.

Kate: He loves free-balling in nature.

Oliver: Well, you know what? I feel I have a really good butt, and I needed people to understand that I’m 44 years old and it’s still perky and really pretty—I owe it all to Mom, and I think Kate does, too. Everyone needs to know that I’ve still got it.

Kate: So, there’s another thing—it comes back to our father. [Editor’s note: Kate and Oliver’s biological dad is singer Bill Hudson.] The times we did see him when we were very young, he loved to sun himself. He would stand, basically naked, with his chest and face to the sun. I think that Oliver, internally and subconsciously, is connecting with Dad every time he does that. That’s how I see it. [Laughs]

Oliver: But to really answer the question, I’m getting out as much as I can. I’m in Colorado just getting away from the world.

Kate: And I’m at home editing our podcast. I enjoy working.

How did the idea for Sibling Revelry come about?

Oliver: Katie and I just always wanted to do something together creatively, and the podcast world was blowing up. We wanted to explore this sibling dynamic. It’s a relationship that is undervalued in a sense, but it is an extremely important one.

Kate: The only people you can really talk about your family dynamic with truthfully and that know you better than anybody are your siblings. When you’re raised by the same parents or even just one parent, those are the only people who know what you’ve experienced. Even your partner doesn’t know; your best friends, they don’t know.

Has doing the podcast helped you have a fuller understanding of your relationship?

Oliver: Kate and I are very open. We always have been—there’s no secrets. But this medium has allowed me to express myself to Kate in ways that I haven’t been able to before, both good and bad—meaning, the things that I admire most about her or the things that I wish that I had for myself that she possesses. There’s an openness, for me, personally, that has happened while doing this show that has been really nice for me and cathartic and has, I think, brought us closer because we’re just able to speak the truth in the moment. So it’s not that I’ve learned something new about Kate—but my expression toward her has been better.

Left: Credit: DANNY FUJIKAWA
Right: Credit: DANNY FUJIKAWA

Are you good about spending quality time together?

Kate: Our kids are like siblings—they want to be with each other at all times. I either have the kids or I send my kids to Ollie’s. Then we come over and we meet up and we have dinner.

Oliver: And we live so close to each other; it makes things pretty easy.

Kate, did you worship Oliver as the older brother when you were younger?

Kate: Yes. I think at one point I called him a Greek god and never lived it down. Oliver was feeling insecure. He was looking at his body and he’s like, “How do I look?” I’m like, “Ollie, come on. You’re like a Greek god. Look at you. You’ve got the thing.” I literally said that because I felt like I wanted to make him feel confident. I looked up to him so much. I thought I was doing the right thing by building up his body confidence—and instead, I’ve never lived it down.

When did he stop seeing you as the annoying little sister and start seeing you as someone he wanted to hang out with?

Kate: When he left for college, I was 15 or 16. When he came back, I was getting older and had cute girlfriends. He and his friends were like, “Oh, now we can all hang.”

Oliver: I think I have PTSD from my own asshole-ness. I have my own little daughter, Rio. When the boys treat her poorly, it triggers me. Something comes over me, and I get so angry—it has to be from something deep, something from my own psychology of how I treated my sister.

Credit: DANNY FUJIKAWA

Do you parent your kids in a similar way? 

Oliver: There are similarities, for sure. Personally, as a country, I think we coddle our kids too much. Katie and I can definitely be strict—in a good way. We’re different in a lot of things, though. I’m very liberal in letting my kids watch whatever movies, and I curse in front of my kids. If I curse in front of her kids, it’s “Oliver!”

Kate: I’m super lenient when it comes to matters of the heart. I’m actually quite lenient as long as they’re doing their part. As far as I’m concerned, there’s what you’re entitled to and then there’s your privileges. The only things you’re entitled to are a roof over your head, food, and my love. Everything else is a privilege, and I’ll take it away in a heartbeat if you’re not respecting our home’s moral compass. 

What was one of the most empowering things from your own upbringing that continues to serve you today?

Kate: We’re lucky to have parents who love our individuation and who allow mistakes. We have one of those families that is almost too close. As you get older, you always criticize your parents, right? But when I look at it really objectively, I’m like, “Whatever I don’t agree with right in this moment, they clearly did something right because there’s no one I’d rather spend time with than them.”

Oliver: Yeah, there was never a sit-down where they were like, “This is the way you need to look at life.” It’s like Kate said, they were like: “You’re an individual; go down your own path. We’re here if you need us.” And you take things from your own parents unconsciously that reveal themselves as you get older. Every day there’s something I do that I think, “That’s just like Mom,” or, “That’s like Pa.” 

Switching gears—Kate, between Fabletics and InBloom, you’re very enmeshed in the world of wellness. What does it mean to you?

Kate: The big word for me has always been connection. We can’t be well if we are not feeling like we are connecting to something—it will always backfire. You have to know what you like and why you’re doing something; otherwise, you’ll end up doing things like yo-yo dieting. So the first step of wellness for me is connectivity and the second is not putting so much pressure on yourself. 

Oliver, how about you?

Oliver: For me, wellness starts with your mind. I could drink all the green juice and take all the fish oil in the world, but if my mind isn’t right, that stuff isn’t going to do s--- for me, personally. I have to be working on myself every day in that regard, whether it’s through yoga, meditation, breath work, whatever.

Kate: That sounds great, but the truth is Oliver also really needs some green juice and fish oil. [Laughs] Our joke was that Oliver’s quote for Health was going to be “I’ve just got to stop drinking.”

Oliver: No, getting hammered with great friends around a campfire is healthy. You can quote me. [Laughs]

Credit: DANNY FUJIKAWA

On a more serious note, when you look at your sibling, what makes you most proud?

Kate: In the last four or so years, Oliver has been working really hard internally. I think of a mop—he’s wringing out old s---. One of the things I love watching most is that he’s becoming more courageous. For me, having the courage to do something was always in my nature. I always looked at Ollie and said: “I know you have that fearless nature. You just need to let go and surrender.” And he’s finally been doing that in the last four years.

Oliver: It’s so true. I’ve found my voice at 44, which is weird. One of the things I admire about Kate is her courageousness, her fearlessness, and her ability to dive headfirst into things. She doesn’t give a s--- about what people think of her—it doesn’t affect her. I never had that. The other thing with Kate is her desire to always work on herself. She knows every day is a new day with a new lesson to learn, whether it be in her relationship, business, as a mother, whatever.

Kate: The 40s are good years.

Oliver: Yes, I feel the 40s. 

This article originally appeared in the December 2020 issue of Health Magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

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