In 1982, audiences were introduced to the Keatons, an American family dealing with their political and idealogical differences. But Family Ties wasn't just about young Republican Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) and his former flower child parents (Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter)—there were also two Keaton sisters: baby sibling Jennifer (Tina Yothers) and fashionable and materialistic Mallory (Justine Bateman). The sitcom was the first acting credit for Bateman, whose younger brother Jason Bateman was also enjoying TV comedy success as Derek on Silver Spoons at the same time. Justine played Mallory until Family Ties ended in 1989 and went on to enjoy a varied career not just in acting but in other areas as well. Read on to find out what the 56-year-old is doing today.
Bateman continued acting for decades after the sitcom.
Bateman took on a few other acting roles during Family Ties' run, including an Afterschool Special and some TV movies. After the sitcom's finale, she continued acting, focusing mostly on TV. Notable parts include recurring roles on Desperate Housewives and Men in Trees, a leading role on the comedy Men Behaving Badly, and a memorable guest appearance on her brother's show, Arrested Development. Bateman also appeared in several TV movies and some feature films. Her most recent acting credits are both from 2013: an episode of Modern Family and the independent movie Deep Dark Canyon.
She just made her directorial debut.
Over the years, Bateman has also stepped behind the camera. In 2021, Violet—a drama she directed, produced, and wrote—premiered at South by Southwest and was also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie stars Olivia Munn as a high-powered film executive and Justin Theroux as the nasty voice in her head stoking all her insecurities.
"I think this is true for everyone, but I can only speak for myself, my life, and the things coming in my life that doesn't give a [expletive] how old I am or what gender I am or anything," Bateman told The Playlist of reaching this milestone in her 50s. "It's just like OK, now is the time for this. Let's go."
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She's spoken out about ageism in Hollywood and beyond.
Bateman has written two books, which critique celebrity culture and our obsession with youth. First, 2018's Fame: The Hijacking of Reality, explores the concept by looking at the "internal reality-shift of the famous, theories on the public's behavior at each stage of a famous person's career, and the experiences of other famous performers," according to the official synopsis. Bateman's second book, Face: One Square Foot of Skin, was published in 2021 and focuses specifically on society's reaction to the natural aging of women's faces through short stories.
She told W Magazine that the idea for the book initially came about thanks to Google's autocomplete search feature. When Bateman went to search for herself a few years ago, the site suggested the term, "Justine Bateman looks old."
"That messed with my head more deeply than I imagined it could, and for a longer period of time than I was comfortable with," she explained. "But once I processed that and got to my root fears underneath, I started thinking, there's a completely disturbing leap we've made from the unusual event of someone getting a full face lift in the '70s to 'These are all things you should do, it's just a matter of when.'"
She's a married mom of two.
Bateman has been married to real estate executive Mark Fluent since 2001, and the couple have two children: Gianetta (18) and Duke Kenneth (19). She keeps her family life fairly private, using her Instagram instead to share photos of art and news about her projects. Back in 2007, Jason told Dark Horizons (via People) that he understood completely why his sister had stepped away from Hollywood for a while when her children were still young.
"But she certainly wasn't as ambitious as she was before, and just really enjoyed her kids. And her husband works really very hard, and is a very successful real estate guy," he said at the time. "And so she wanted to stay home with them, and do that thing. And having a 10-month-old myself, I get it."