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Everything Maya Hawke Says About Her Famous Parents In “Driver”

After starring in Netflix’s latest hit movie Do Revenge, Maya Hawke released her second album Moss on Sept. 23. Her new album shows off a deeply vulnerable personal side to the artist, with one song in particular really pulling on my heartstrings. Maya addresses the heartbreak she went through during her celebrity parents Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke’s divorce in the lyrics on her track “Driver.”

Maya has publicly spoken about her close relationships with both Thurman and Ethan, and “Driver” reveals a new perspective of her view of their relationship. Maya blends soft, light melodies with reminiscent lyrics that reference their public relationship. She calls back onto the memories she had as a young girl remembering her parents being happily together before they split in 2003 when she was around the age of five. Maya seems to deal with something many children recognize as they get older — she sees herself in a relationship that mirrors that of her parents.

I cook and I clean now
I do different things than I used to do
Feel I'm always rinsin' dishes
I load them and I think about you
I imagine my mom and dad
Loosely neckin' in the back of a taxi cab
I'd give everything I'll ever have to see them happy
Kissin' just like that

The first verse conveys the nostalgia that Hawke often feels for times when her parents were still together. Hawke reminisces on these lost times, simpler times when she remembers her parents being happy, while doing simple activities around the house.This is something that, arguably, many children long for if their parents have split up. Maya sees it in the simple moments. In an interview with As If, she previously referred to their time together in the present as “no longer [having] a feeling of infinite time; you realize it’s borrowed time.”

And oh, I can watch it in the movies
I don't wanna see it that crafted and clear
Wanna be the pervert driver
Gazin' at them through a tilted mirror

Maya pulls from a recollection of her parents’ relationship engraved in the minds of their fans, referencing the film Gattaca that her parents met in. It’s one thing to rewatch a love scene from a movie where her parents are playing characters, but it’s another to be able to witness it in real life. 

She craves to observe the blossoming of their relationship in real time, to even be a fly on the wall when they were still together. Who wants to watch a fabricated Hollywood love story after they’ve already lived through the real thing? 

Skipping ahead in the lyrics of “Driver,” Maya continues to pull from reminders of her parents’ relationship.

Now I'll tell you a secret
A secret that everyone already knows
You remind me of my father
Your attitude, your disheveled clothes

Maya is met with the idea that her current lover resembles her father. Ethan’s career took off when he was 18 years old after the success of Dead Poets Society. He struggled with his instantaneous rise to fame, telling Elle that “success when you’re young is really overwhelming,” a factor that would contribute to the public’s disarranged image of Ethan.

He’s gained something of a rough around the edges persona after some failed attempts at venturing into the worlds of writing and directing. Maya may be connecting these elements of an unkempt personality and lack of direction that the general public sees in her father in her lover… down to even the messy clothes that they both wear.

Thinkin' of you makes me happy
Happy that my father, he got free
That even though it hurt me
He can be whoever the hell he wants to be

Here, Maya conveys the feelings that many children come to terms with after their parents’ divorce. Maya has mentioned in interviews that her “parents’ divorce was really interesting and difficult in a lot of ways,” and that it forced them to communicate through different mediums

“When I was with my dad we’d spend a lot of time together playing guitar, singing songs,” she said in her interview with As If. “He was figuring out how to fully engage with a child. I was the kid who wasn’t interested in sports so he had to engage with me in creative ways.”

Ethan has spoken about the difficulties that arise in co-parenting after a divorce in his 2015 book Rules for a Knight. He stated, “One of the things that’s really hard about parenting from a divorced standpoint, is that your kids can wreak havoc over you.” He added, “There is a lot of, ‘At Mommy’s house, we have ice cream all the time’ and ‘I don’t think I’m going to come next weekend,’” voicing clashes that may have contributed to Maya’s sense of hurt.

You see, a free man can be a relied on
Trusted not to let go of the bike
Nothin' stickin' his feet to the ground
No one's holdin' a string to his kite

With the ending of her parents’ relationship, Maya calls back to some of the claims that her father made that have stuck with her since the divorce. Speaking with Elle, Ethan explained that he was in no position to be “taking vows that would [not] last more than two weeks.”

Though he was speaking out his truth, it’s undeniable that such words could consequently hurt a child. Maya conveys this when she compares her father’s freedom to no one holding a string to a kite — he was “freed,” in a sense. 

McKinley Franklin is a writer and recent college graduate from East Carolina University. She was Her Campus' fall 2022 entertainment and culture intern and is a current national writer. McKinley specializes in entertainment coverage, though her favorite niche of the industry is reality television.