Taylor Lautner has melted the hearts of teenage girls ever since he played Jacob in the young adult phenomenon that was Twilight. But he’s now affected everyone else, too, with the touching picture he shared of his sister in hospital. Be warned, though: you may have to get the tissues ready…
Born in Michigan in 1992, Taylor Lautner spent his childhood with his younger sibling Makena in nearby Hudsonville. However, the future star’s first big passion wasn’t acting but karate; in fact, after having attained his black belt aged just eight, Lautner went on to win a handful of junior world championship titles. He was coached by Michael Chaturantabut, the Xtreme Martial Arts founder who had once starred in Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue as the Blue Ranger.
On his mentor’s advice, however, Lautner began to pursue an acting career while simultaneously balancing his interests in karate, football, baseball and dance. Then, after relocating to Los Angeles with his family, he landed his first major role in TV movie Shadow Fury. Supporting parts in My Wife and Kids, The Bernie Mac Show and Summerland would follow.
And Lautner finally got his big break when he was cast as the titular male character in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D. He went on to appear in Cheaper by the Dozen 2, play Christian Slater’s son in My Own Worst Enemy and also guest on Love. Inc. But his career reached new heights when he was cast in the big-screen adaptation of a young adult phenomenon.
Indeed, Lautner became something of a heartthrob as Jacob Black in the first Twilight film. He then put on 30 pounds of muscle to keep his role in the sequel, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and also returned for the franchise’s third entry, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. By this point, Lautner had become Hollywood’s highest-earning teenager.
It must be said, though, that Lautner appeared in several other films during his Twilight stint. In 2010, for example, he joined country singer Taylor Swift – his supposed girlfriend during that period – in romantic comedy Valentine’s Day. A year later, he took the leading role in Abduction – an action thriller that received a critical mauling from the press.
And even after the Twilight franchise finished, Lautner’s career continued apace. He enjoyed supporting roles in two Adam Sandler films: as Frat Boy Andy in the sequel Grown Ups 2 and then as Lil’ Pete in The Ridiculous 6. Lautner also took top billing in 2015’s parkour-based action movie Tracers and 2016 family drama Run the Tide.
The star even took the chance to showcase his comedic skills on the small screen. In 2014, for instance, he replaced fellow Hollywood actor Andy Samberg in the British sitcom Cuckoo. Then, two years later, he played Dr. Cassidy Cascade in the second season of Scream Queens.
Love may have blossomed on the Scream Queens set, too, as Lautner is said to have become romantically involved with his co-star Billie Lourd. Reportedly, he had supported the actress as she attempted to cope with losing both her grandmother, Debbie Reynolds, and mother, Carrie Fisher, within days of each other. Lily Collins, Marie Avgeropoulos and Olivia Holt are just a few of the other celebrity names Lautner has been linked to.
But despite having become a bona fide Hollywood star, Lautner continued to live at home with his parents and sister Makena in the Californian neighborhood of Valencia. The actor told GQ in 2010, “The thing I love is that my home life hasn’t changed. I still help out with the garbage. I still help out with the lawn.”
And Lautner showed how much he cares about his sister with a series of Instagram posts in 2018. On the social media site, for example, the actor shared a photo of him kissing his younger sibling Makena while she was in hospital recovering from a heart operation. And his accompanying message may have made all of his followers’ hearts melt.
A relieved and joyous Lautner captioned the photo, “2nd heart procedure is finally a MASSIVE success.” He then added, “Couldn’t possibly look up to this little/not so little girl any more. You are much braver than I @makenalautner. Love you so.”
But as Lautner’s caption suggests, this wasn’t the first time that his sister had been in hospital. In 2017 Makena took to Instagram to reveal that she suffered from the condition known as tachycardia. While a normal resting heart rate is no more than 100 beats per minute, Makena’s heart rate clocked in at over 300 beats per minute.
And Makena also took to Instagram herself to inform her followers about her well-being. She wrote, “2nd heart procedure was a huge success! It couldn’t have gone any better. God answered 3 years of prayers today more than any of us could have ever dreamt of.”
Lautner’s younger sibling only discovered that she had tachycardia when she went into hospital for another ailment. In 2016 Makena tore her anterior cruciate ligament while playing volleyball – a sport that she had wanted to pursue professionally – and the young woman later spoke about her road to recovery during a TEDx talk.
But Makena has refused to let the condition affect her life. And in 2016 she told radio station KHTS why she had decided to host a talk on the subject. She said, “Through these TED talks, I just wanted to inspire people. When you face unexpected circumstances in life, you should fill it with something good rather than just giving up.”
Makena went on to add, “The message that I want to spread is to just not give up. I didn’t want to just sit down and pout that I couldn’t play volleyball anymore. I wanted to do something that would help other people.”
It’s perhaps little wonder, then, why Lautner is so proud of his sister. And he’s not shy about showing his love for Makena, either. Just a few months before his sibling’s second hospital visit, the star sent her a birthday message on Instagram, writing, “HAPPY 20th BIRTHDAY to this cool cucumber who inspires me every single day. One day I hope to grow up as cool as you. Love you more.”
Lautner also showed pride in his sibling when she graduated from high school in 2016. Alongside a photo of him kissing Makena in her purple gown, he wrote on Instagram, “Congratulations to my beautiful little sis @makelautner. Class of 16!!! So many amazing things ahead of you. Love you more.”
Makena’s education didn’t end there, though. After graduating high school, she enrolled at Belmont University, a Nashville-based liberal arts and private Christian college. And just weeks after her second heart operation, Makena posted an Instagram photo in which she can be seen alongside her best friend and her dog – and which revealed that she was heading back to school.