Sister Act: Hollywood Success Story of Emily and Zooey Deschanel

Both Zooey Deschanel’s sister Emily Deschanel, and Zooey Deschanel are successful Hollywood actresses.

The sisters, who are the daughters of Oscar-nominated actress Mary Jo Deschanel and six-time Oscar nominee cinematographer Caleb Deschanel have become well-known as actresses. They played standout roles in Elf and 500 Days of Summer and New Girl, for Zooey and Bones, and The Devil In Ohio, for Emily.

The pair admit that they had a typical sibling rivalry growing up. However, they are now close, and they support their family members together on the red carpet, bring their children to the work lot, and even filmed a joint episode in 2009 of Bones. It was really fun. Zooey, in a Channel Guide interview, said that Emily was “extremely welcoming and accommodating as well as very sweet” when she spoke of her holiday cameo for her sister’s long running hit which ended in 2017. “I’m glad I did it.”

Emily, the Metro journalist who described the two women as “different but also the Same” and “similar because they grew up together in the same family”, appreciates them in different ways.

In a 2013 interview, Emily told Zooey that she was a good big sister. “Very protective. You were sometimes mean. “But most of the time, you were very nice.”

She also said that her sister was very cool, telling her, “You’re awesome.” “I always thought that you were very cool.”

Emily, on the other hand, described Zooey’s “fearlessness” in Women’s Health, March 2007. “In seventh-grade this kid didn’t ask Zooey to his Bar Mitzvah. She went up to him, shouting “Why didn’t I invite you to your bar Mitzvah?” I would have called and cried to my mother.”

From their childhood in Los Angeles, to their adult lives together, here’s all you need to know about these sisters.

Both actresses

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Emily and Zooey are both well-known actresses. Emily’s first film was It Could Happen To You in 1994, which their father Caleb filmed. She followed it up with several independent projects, including a “brief-yet-memorable” role as a receptionist in Spider-Man 2 in 2004, before landing her breakout series, Bones, on which she played lead Temperance “Bones” Brennan from 2005 to 2017. In 2022, she played a psychiatrist named Suzanne Mathis in The Devil in Ohio.

Zooey made a name in the industry by playing quirky, yet lovable characters like Anita, Jovie, Summer and Jess Day, which won her a Critics’ Choice Award.

Although some people have referred to the actress as a “manic-pixie dreamgirl,” she doesn’t relate to that label. She told The Guardian that she didn’t think it was accurate. She continued: “It’s not hurting my feelings but it’s an attempt to make a woman look one-dimensional, and I am not one-dimensional.”

Emily wanted to become an architect

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Emily told BuddyTV that Zooey and she “both loved playing plays” since a young age. But Zooey was more serious about it. “I didn’t want to do that,” said Emily.

Zooey instead revealed that her elder sibling had aspired to become an architect. “I love architecture. Emily also agreed that she loved the combination of art and science. But then, I began doing plays in high-school and loved it. I even considered it a career.

They are their parents in show business

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Caleb Deschanel and Mary Jo Deschanel both worked in Hollywood. They had two children, Emily and Zooey. Caleb Deschanel is an award-winning cinematographer, director of photography and has six Academy Award nominations. His credits include The Lion King (2019), The Passion of the Christ (2004) and National Treasure (2004).

Mary Jo is an actress best known for The Patriot (2000) and The Right Stuff (1983).

The Deschanel sisters were deeply affected by their parents’ hard work and dedication to their own success. Emily said to BuddyTV that because they grew up with an actress as a mother, their parents could not tell them not to become actors. That would be hypocritical. “We also saw many actors, family members and our mother. We saw many people struggling. It’s hard work. We knew it was a difficult profession, and we had no illusions.

They wrote plays together as kids

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Emily and Zooey created plays together that they performed for their parents before they became famous. Emily said, in 2013, that they wrote Westerns and essentially Western musicals. They would charge Caleb, Mary Jo, and their friends a penny to see them perform.

Zooey continued, “I would be the one to do the music.” I would do the music for the play while we were in it.

Emily “tortured” Zooey when she was a child

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Zooey told Jimmy Kimmel, in 2012, that her older sister used to scare and intimidate her when she was a little girl. She joked, “When I turned three she was seven and already evil.” She used the plot of Invasion of the Body Snatchers as a way to terrorize me. Zooey said: “She made me cry, then my father would come and try to mediate and then she’d laugh.”

Emily explained her joke in 2013, telling Conan O’Brien that she “tortured” her younger sibling in the past. She said, “We used to fight physically all the time but I would play mental games with her.” She would tell Zooey that she was a Neptune alien who had taken over the body of her sister, and killed her. Then she’d say Zooey is next.

Emily explained, “It was to the point that I had to open my eyes wide to get her to freak out. She would think I was Neptunian.”

The sisters collaborated on their shows

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Emily and Zooey collaborated for the first in an episode of Bones from 2009. Emily stated in an interview that it was “nice, we have never worked together professionally.”

Zooey was the cousin of Emily’s sister. Emily said that they didn’t like each other.

The two did get along in real life. It was really smooth, and I had an amazing time. Emily was a great partner. Zooey told BuddyTV that it was a lot of fun.

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Emily had originally hoped to be on Zooey’s hit show New Girl. However, she revealed in 2013 that her husband David Hornsby – with whom she married on September 25, 2010 – appeared on the series. He played Ed Wonder. In a season six episode, the show featured the head of Jess (Zooey’s) student parent council.

Zooey has a talent for music

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Zooey is one half of She & Him. She released her debut album Volume One in 2008 with M. Ward.

Since then, the twosome have released six albums together including two Christmas CDs as well as Melt Away: A tribute to Brian Wilson in 2022.

Emily may be less well-known for her singing, but it’s something she shares with her famous sibling: Bones fans were thrilled to hear Emily sing in an episode from season 3.

The babies were born a month apart

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Emily and Zooey both had babies within a month of each other. Emily gave birth to Calvin in June 2015 with her husband David Horsby, and Zooey welcomed her daughter Elsie Otter with her ex-husband Jacob Pechenik at the end of July 2015.

Emily joked with Jimmy Kimmel, in December 2020: “[We] couldn’t have planned it any better.”

The Devil in Ohio star admitted that their schedules for their children made it difficult to meet each other, despite the fact that they lived close by. She said, “We work on the same lot and bring our babies to work and yet it is so difficult to get them together.” “One is down for a naps, the other will be up and vice versa. They nap so much.”

Emily and Hornsby share a son Henry born on Sept. 21, 2011, with Zooey.

They both watch each other’s work

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They told BuddyTV they try to keep up, but they are not “fanatical.” Emily added, “I try pretty much to see everything Zooey” does, but that some things were harder to see because they had a limited release.

Zooey continued: “Emily is busy every week.” It’s hard to keep up, but I do my best.

Drew Scott and Jonathan Scott filmed a Carpool Karaoke episode with them

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The Late Late Show/Youtube

Emily and Zooey filmed a Carpool Karaoke episode with Property Brothers stars Drew Scott and Jonathan Scott in August 2019. The foursome sang classics such as Britney Spears “…Baby one more time, K-Ci & JoJo’s “All My Life,” and Zooey’s cover of “Baby it’s cold outside” from Elf.

Zooey and Jonathan’s Instagram debut was a success. Two months after Zooey split with her ex-husband Jacob Pechenik, they made their Instagram debut. The couple announced their engagement in August 2023.

The two hit the red carpet together

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The siblings walked together in 2019 on the Oscars red carpet to support their dad Caleb who was nominated as Best Cinematography with Never Look Away.

Zooey, Emily and Caleb also attended the premiere of The Lion King live action remake in July 2019.

The two share a love for the holidays

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Zooey, the actress who played Jovie in Elf 2003, said to BuddyTV, “We love Christmas.” “I believe that Christmas is used to cheer each other up at any time of the year. We’d use it to cheer eachother up if we felt down, and we would start talking about Christmas.

According to the Daily Mail, the siblings spent Christmas Eve 2022 at the Academy Museum with Zooey and her fiancee Jonathan, along with Elsie, Charlie and Emily.

Emily helped Jonathan Scott throw Zooey’s 42nd Birthday Party

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Zooey turned 42 in January 2022. Her now-fiancee asked Zooey’s sister to help plan her party. In January 2022, he wrote about Zooey: “Fun Fact… I love throwing an intimate party… especially for her.” In the caption, he thanked Emily and the parents of the sisters for their assistance in planning.

PEOPLE reported that the event included sparklers, a pink floral cake and a violinist who played for the actress’s friends and family.

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