All About Mercedes and Jack

Iceman is a dad!

Val Kilmer, who famously played Tom Kazansky, a.k.a. Iceman in Top Gun, is a father to son Jack Kilmer and daughter Mercedes Kilmer. The actor shares his children with his ex-wife, Joanne Whalley.

Speaking to Vanity Fair in 2012, the dad of two recalled turning down “10 really great directors just because I was trying to be responsible to my family or my marriage.” He said, “I just didn’t pay attention to business. I can’t be a responsible parent and only be there three or four months a year.”

In late 2017, Val opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about his two-year battle with throat cancer in an interview with his children. The Batman Forever star has called his two kids “really brilliant.”

“I am just madly, wildly entertained by them,” Val later said in a 2020 interview with PEOPLE. “My only gripe is that I never see them enough, so I never get enough of the wild entertainment that everyone else gets, but they’re really, really, entertaining.”

While dealing with Val’s health has been challenging, Mercedes pointed out that “so many good things have come out of it.” She shared, “We all spend so much time together. Even just getting to meet all my dad’s friends from before I was born — there are so many beautiful things that happen when you need help from people.”

Val added at the time that his family has really “done everything to make my health as usual.”

Here’s everything to know about Val Kilmer’s two kids.

Mercedes Kilmer, 32

Kevin Winter/Getty

Val and ex-wife Whalley, who got married in 1988, welcomed their first child together on Oct. 29, 1991. According to the Los Angeles Times, the pair’s daughter was born i​​n Sante Fe, New Mexico.

Mercedes admitted to The Hollywood Reporter in 2017 that she couldn’t “remember not being aware” of her parents’ fame. “It was about navigating how other people perceived us rather than any kind of reckoning,” she said.

Not long after her dad was diagnosed with cancer, Mercedes was hit by a car. “We were in the same hospital at the same time,” she told THR.

Mercedes has a close relationship with her father, whom she’s dubbed “a good friend” of hers. “My dad is such a smart and creative person that I love hanging out with, even if he wasn’t my dad, too,” she told PEOPLE in 2020.

Not only is he a friend, but Val has also been her costar. Mercedes made her feature film debut in 2020’s Paydirt, in which she played her dad’s daughter onscreen. “The producer called me up and asked me if I would play this role and I said, ‘I don’t know if you’ve found anybody yet to play my daughter, but I might have someone for you. Her name is Mercedes Kilmer and perhaps you’d be interested in meeting with her,’ ” Val recalled in an interview with PEOPLE. “Mercedes and the producer met, and they all had a ball.”

Michael Tullberg/Getty

Working on the project with her dad proved to be a learning opportunity for Mercedes. “It’s obvious my dad’s speech is compromised and so this whole experience revealed the personal effort I had put into working with actors with a disability, which I hadn’t done before,” she told PEOPLE. “It revealed how much I had to gain from working with people who have different abilities. My dad’s able to very artfully circumvent the limitations of his speech, so I learned so much watching him, how he communicated physically. It taught me so much about acting that expanded what I thought acting was, which was central to speech.”

Mercedes is credited as an associate producer on the Prime Video documentary Val, which is about her famous father. She and her brother attended a photo call for the documentary at the Cannes Film Festival in 2021. Prior to the documentary’s release, Mercedes told Entertainment Tonight that the “entire movie” made her emotional.

“I wouldn’t say things surprised me about my dad. He’s such an open person that I know very well,” she explained. “But it did really surprise me to see it with an audience. I’m so used to people not understanding my dad. I’m so used to his public image being different than the playful, funny person that we know.”

Jack Kilmer, 28

Kevin Winter/Getty

Val’s second child was born in June 1995. Weeks after the birth of their son, Whalley filed for divorce from the actor, citing irreconcilable differences, according to TIME.

Kilmer proudly celebrated his son’s graduation in 2013 with a snapshot of himself and Jack. “My sons graduation today!” he captioned the post.

Jack has followed in his family’s footsteps. He appeared in Gia Coppola‘s Palo Alto, which also starred James Franco, and, according to Interview magazine, Jack “had done virtually no acting before walking onto set.”

At the time, Jack told the magazine that he and his father could “relate on a whole other level.” He said, “It was exciting to read a script with him.”

Jack’s credits also include the 2018 drama Pretenders, which was directed by James Franco, as well as Josie and Summer 03. Like his older sister, Jack is credited as an associate producer on the 2021 documentary Val.

Rich Polk/Getty

In addition to being an associate producer, Jack also narrated the film for his dad, whose voice has been left “impaired” as a result of “extensive radiation and chemotherapy treatment” for throat cancer. “It was interesting doing the narration because our goal was to get me to sound as natural as possible,” Jack told the Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile, Kilmer admitted that it was “shocking to hear how much” his son sounded like “the young version” of him. The Top Gun: Maverick actor confessed, “There were several times when I couldn’t tell who was talking.”

Jack told PEOPLE in 2021 that there are things they do every day to soothe his father’s “vocal cords and to repair them, but they’re very damaged.” Val’s son said, “It’s funny I don’t notice it anymore. I’m so familiar with his voice that maybe I hear his old voice when I’m talking to him. But he doesn’t seem like he’s in pain when he speaks. Sometimes you can’t shut him up.”

Jack added, “It’s hard, but that’s life. We appreciate every day we get to see him and be around him.”

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