See Laura Dern Celebrate Daughter Jaya’s 18th Birthday With Rare Photo

A proud mama bear! Laura Dern took to social media to celebrate daughter Jaya’s 18th birthday with a touching tribute.

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“My girl is 18 today!!! Happiest birthday, Jaya!” Dern, 55, wrote via Instagram on Tuesday, November 29. “You teach me every day about what it means to be an honest and profound empath, artist, and activist. I love you with everything.”

The post, which included a carousel of images of Jaya over the years, also featured a recent snap of the Big Little Lies alum and her youngest smiling for the camera.

This marks the second time this year Dern has given a shout-out to her daughter, whom she shares with ex-husband Ben Harper. Earlier this fall, the Jurassic Park star honored Jaya for National Daughter’s Day.

“Happy Daughters Day to my girl. My heart,” Dern wrote via Instagram in September alongside two pictures of herself with Jaya as a child. “You are the most inspiring person, and what an honor to be your mom!”

While the Oscar winner and Jaya have formed a deep mother-daughter bond over the years, Dern is still steadfast about making her daughter hold off before following in her footsteps.

“I’m basically making her wait,” the Blue Velvet actress said during an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in March. “I started very young at 11 and am so happy she’s waiting and wanting to go to school [even though] she knows in her heart she wants to act. … She does often say, ‘You didn’t wait.’”

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The California native went on to explain that she “pushed” her parents, Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern, to let her act at a young age and “forced” her career on them. “I saw the consequences of not being in school, just doing my thing,” the Marriage Story star said at the time.

Dern and Harper, 53, who also share 20-year-old son Ellery, were married for eight years before calling it quits in 2013. The Wild star has since gotten candid about how single parenting has been a “stressful” endeavor.

“On good days, I am kind enough to remember that there are growing pains, and it is all overwhelming and not easy or always fun,” the Emmy winner told Modern Luxury in August 2019. “On the hard days … there is too much going on — and it can be hard to carve out a minute for yourself. I have never had anybody else bully me in my single parenting life.”

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Three months prior, however, Dern opened up to InStyle about the silver lining of being a single mom — including how it has made her more ambitious.

“Raising kids gave me enough street cred to feel like I deserved the right to make money,” the Enlightened alum explained. “This moment in my life is so sexy and freeing because I’ve had many relationships, I’ve had a marriage, I have my amazing children, so I’m not hiding who I am to get somebody who is willing to have kids or be married.”

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