Family Secrets and Scandals: The Fall of Armie Hammer

For many years, Armie Hammer’s life seemed picture-perfect. He had a beautiful wife and kids and a successful acting career. He was always on the verge of being the next big thing since his first feature role in 2008. Hammer was always on his way to household-name status.

Armie Hammer / The Hammer men / Armie Hammer / Armie Hammer and Elizabeth Chambers
Source: Getty Images

Hammer had several leading roles in films like The Social Network, Call Me by Your Name, and Sorry to Bother You. He had everything to rise to the top, but his hidden issues revealed themselves in 2021. Hammer’s shocking family history and allegations of dark fantasies made him the A-lister who never was.

Who Is Armie Hammer’s Dad?

Armand Douglas Hammer was born in 1986 in Santa Monica, California. He came from a privileged family as his father, Michael Armand Hammer, owned several businesses, including Armand Hammer Productions. His great-grandfather was an oil tycoon and philanthropist. His family was the type of wealthy that could afford the best.

A Hammer family photo of Armie as a little boy.
Source: Facebook

Hammer’s family had important connections and everyday privileges that most of us could only dream about. However, Hammer didn’t come from a long line of entertainers; his family was mostly entangled in oil and politics. His great-grandfather, then-head of Occidental Petroleum, maintained questionable business relationships with hostile countries.

They Moved Around

When Hammer was a child, his family moved a few times before settling in Los Angeles. They lived in Dallas for a few years before moving to the Cayman Islands when Hammer was seven. He attended Faulkner’s Academy and Grace Christian Academy, a school founded by his father.

A photo of young Armie with a dog.
Source: Twitter

After five years, Hammer and his family returned to the US when he was 12. Hammer attended a private high school in Los Angeles because his parents wanted him to have the best education money could buy. But he never completed high school because he wanted to pursue his passions.

He Dropped Out

Like many private school kids, Hammer went through a rebellious phase. He did things to get in trouble because he felt caged. His rebellion included light arson, complete with a signature. Hammer once signed his name in lighter fluid and lit it on fire.

Armie Hammer sporting blue hair poses with him mother.
Source: Instagram/@armiehammer

Hammer got in trouble, and the school asked him not to return. By his junior year, he dropped out to pursue an acting career. He didn’t want to feel caged in the life his parents wanted him to have. Hammer liked to be creative, and acting felt natural.

Who Is Armie Hammer?

He took a few college classes at UCLA, but Hammer claimed his parents disowned him when he decided to leave school and start acting. His professional career began with guest appearances on Arrested Development, Veronica Mars, Gossip Girl, and Desperate Housewives. Hammer ventured into film with roles in Flicka and Blackout.

A portrait of Hammer.
Source: eBay

Hammer’s first feature lead role was ironically playing TV evangelist Billy Graham in Billy: The Early Years. If you don’t remember this movie, you aren’t alone. Hammer said, “I got to be the title role in a movie, and then no one saw it.” The film faced many delays and was released straight to DVD.

He Almost Played Batman

Throughout his career, Hammer was always on the edge of becoming the next massive box office draw, but something always got in his way. In 2007, filmmaker George Miller hand-picked him to star in the planned film Justice League: Mortal as Batman/Bruce Wayne.

A portrait of Armie Hammer.
Source: Twitter

Unfortunately, the film was eventually canceled largely because of the looming 2007-08 Writers Guild of America strike. Stalled budgetary and rebate negotiations also halted the film. Instead, he starred as Harrison Bergeron in the short film 2081, which premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival.

So Close, but So Far

Hammer finally started to get noticed with his breakout role in 2010’s The Social Network. He played twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, drawing more acclaim and attention than he had previously received. It seemed like the stars were aligning, but the praise didn’t last long.

Armie Hammer and Max Minghella in a scene from The Social Network.
Source: Sony Pictures

The following year, Hammer landed the title role in Disney’s The Lone Ranger. While everyone thought it was his time to shine, the film’s 2013 release was criticized harshly. The film was one of the most infamous bombs in cinematic history, losing about $190 million.

It Didn’t Take Him Down

Hammer and his co-star Johnny Depp blamed the critics for the movie’s failure, which is like blaming a fire on a fire extinguisher. People thought it was enough to ruin the young actor’s career, but he continued to receive job offers.

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in a still from Call Me By Your Name.
Source: Sony Pictures

He appeared in films like The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Nocturnal Animals, and Call Me by Your Name, which was nominated for Best Picture. Hammer was given another chance to take his career to the next level. But there were already signs of trouble bubbling up.

Troubling Signs

Hammer’s career slowly recovered, but he started to say problematic things in public. Most people ignored his bizarre comments, like the ones he made in a 2013 Playboy interview. At the time, he was married to journalist Elizabeth Chambers, and the interviewer asked about his interest in knots.

Hammer kisses Elizabeth Chambers on the cheek.
Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

He was asked if there was anything people needed to know about his sex life. While Hammer could have been coy, he gave way too much detail. He called himself a “dominant lover,” foreshadowing his not-so mainstream sexual activities that would later become even more public.

Eccentric Behavior

With the knowledge we have now, Hammer was practically a walking red flag before his life came crashing down. In 2019, he made everyone uncomfortable with a since-deleted Instagram post featuring his two-year-old son Ford sucking on his toes. The caption added to the ick factor.

Hammer’s son is seen munching on his father’s toes.
Source: Instagram/@armiehammer

Hammer wrote, “This happened for a solid seven minutes… foot fetish on fleek.” A few months later, he received more criticism for supporting MDL Beast, a music festival in a country with questionable human rights. He compared the event to Woodstock, claiming it would cause a cultural shift.

Feeling Trapped

As he showed in his childhood, Hammer had a history of acting out when he felt caged or trapped. In 2020, Hammer had been quarantining with his father, stepmother, wife, and his young children in the Cayman Islands. Hammer said it was a “very complicated, intense situation.”

Hammer and his family at the beach.
Source: Instagram/@armiehammer

Hammer said a lot of big personalities were locked in a tiny place. He compared himself to a trapped wolf who “wanted to chew his leg off.” Hammer was desperate to escape, so he booked a flight home, leaving his wife and kids behind.

A Troubled Romance

In 2010, Hammer met Elizabeth Chambers after they were introduced by his friend, Tyler Ramsey. The two had two children, a daughter in 2014 and a son in 2017. Hammer was reportedly unfaithful shortly after his son’s birth but said it was a one-time offense.

Armie Hammer and Elizabeth Chambers pose during the Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Chambers’ friends later found evidence that Hammer was having an affair with a co-star. They went to an expensive family therapist, but the betrayal was hard for Chambers to forget. She also couldn’t understand why Hammer would leave her and the children in the Caymans.

Facing the Consequences

Hammer and Chambers tried to work on their marriage, but the pandemic magnified their issues. They were married for nearly a decade, but allegations of infidelity had tested their relationship. It was the last straw when Hammer left Chambers in the Cayman Islands.

Armie Hammer and Elizabeth Chambers attend the Hammer Museum Gala.
Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images

Chambers filed for divorce in July 2020, but Hammer bounced back about six months later. He had a string of short-term girlfriends, including Paige Lorenze. Hammer was ready to face the year saying, “2021 is going to kneel down before me and kiss my feet.” Boy, was he wrong!

What Did Armie Hammer Do?

Hammer thought 2021 would be his year, but he couldn’t have been more wrong. In January 2021, an anonymous Instagram account released supposed text messages between Hammer and various women. The messages contained references to sexual fantasies about violence, among other things.

Armie Hammer attends the The National Board Of Review Annual Awards Gala.
Photo by Steven Ferdman/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

Hammer said the messages were fake, but things worsened when Courtney Vucekovich and Paige Lorenze revealed details about their intense relationships with the actor. The two dated him following his split from Chambers, and he made them do truly bizarre things that made them feel unsafe.

Sharing the Truth

Vucekovich and Lorenze shared their experiences with Vanity Fair. Vucekovich said, “Day one, he makes you feel bad for him, making himself look like the victim. You’re the only girl in the whole world, and then he starts the manipulation and darker stuff.”

Paige Lorenze / Courtney Vucekovich
Source: Twitter

Lorenze added that her relationship with Hammer got even darker. “He started making rules for me of things I could and couldn’t do. I started to feel unsafe.” Vucekovich sought treatment for the trauma she experienced in the relationship, and Lorenze wanted to bring awareness to consent in relationships.

He Had to Step Away

Other women also took to social media to accuse Hammer of emotional abuse, manipulation, and violence. He reportedly branded one of his girlfriends and told Lorenze he wanted to “barbeque and eat her rib.” On top of his pending divorce proceedings, Hammer’s reputation took a nosedive.

Messages allegedly sent by hammer / A selfie of Hammer.
Source: Reddit

Hammer was set to star in two high-profile projects, a rom-com with Jennifer Lopez and a series about the making of The Godfather, but he stepped away following the accusations. It didn’t take long for his agency, WME, to drop him.

It Only Got Worse

The scandal got worse when an anonymous woman, who went by the name “Effie,” came forward with allegations that Hammer violently assaulted her in a hotel room in 2017. It became a sticky situation because Hammer was supposed to be featured in the already completed Death on the Nile.

Armie poses with Effie for a photo.
Source: Tumblr

Disney had several options to potentially re-shoot Hammer’s parts or send the film straight to streaming. They decided to release the film as planned, with a trailer that barely featured Hammer. He did not participate in the film’s press tour.

He Couldn’t Avoid Controversy

Most people would lay low after having one scandal after another, but Hammer couldn’t contain himself. He retreated to his home in the Cayman Islands, but social media became his downfall. He posted (and deleted) a video of a young woman in a compromising position.

A crazy looking selfie of Hammer.
Source: Twitter

He captioned the video “Miss Cayman,” like the name of a beauty pageant held in the Caymans. The organization said, “The committee is disturbed by the video and would like to confirm that the woman is not the reigning Miss Cayman and has no affiliation to the pageant.”

Strange Past Behavior

Following the allegations against him, people started to dissect Hammer’s bizarre past behavior and social media posts. While promoting Call Me by Your Name in 2017, Hammer appeared on Jimmy Kimmel. He shared a story about a restaurant in Italy that served him a practically rare steak.

Hammer is on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Source: YouTube

Hammer said it looked like the piece of meat had “never seen a heat source.” Instead of sending it back, he ate the raw steak. People looked back on this interview after he mentioned that he wanted to eat the rib of an ex-girlfriend.

He Had a Fake Instagram Account

Hammer reportedly made a “finsta,” a private, fake Instagram account, so that he could post freely and only a few people could see it. Well, one of his trusted followers leaked screenshots from the account following the scandal. Hammer had posted about divorce, drug use, and women.

The fake account / Armie Hammer.
Source: Instagram / Photo by Rich Polk, Getty Images

The private account posted a video of a woman in lingerie on Hammer’s bed in December 2020 with the caption, “Well, my ex (for a very good reason) wife is refusing to come back to America with my children. So, I have to go back to Cayman.”

Authorities Got Involved

Following the incident with the leaked post about “Ms. Cayman,” the police investigated the issue and spoke to Hammer. He was warned about his conduct, but the matter was quickly closed. The negative media storm led Hammer’s lawyer to release a statement on the actor’s behalf.

A portrait of Armie Hammer.
Source: Vanity Fair

His lawyer stated, “These assertions about Mr. Hammer are patently untrue. Any interactions with this person, or any partner of his, were completely consensual in that they were fully discussed, agreed upon, and mutually participatory.” Unfortunately, the damage to his reputation was already done.

He Sought Treatment

Hammer had faced one scandal after another, so he checked into an in-patient treatment program in May 2021. He reportedly sought treatment for drug, alcohol, and sex issues. People reported seeing him, his estranged wife, and their two children at the Cayman airport saying goodbye.

A close-up portrait of Hammer.
Source: Imgur

Hammer’s friend told Vanity Fair, “Everyone looks at Armie thinking he’s had some sort of privileged life – and that must mean there were no problems in his youth and everything was peachy keen, but that’s not necessarily the way things go.”

He Did Well in Treatment

Hammer spent many months at the treatment facility, and his close friends said he was “thriving” in the treatment center. After about six months, sources said there was no timeline for when Hammer would leave the facility; he would stay as long as he needed.

Hammer is seen after his time in treatment.
Photo by MEGA/GC Images/Getty Images

Many of the people in his life heard improvements just by talking to him on the phone. He was able to keep in touch with his children through video calls from the center. In December 2021, Hammer checked himself out of the facility.

He Might Not Face Charges

After he left the facility, it was reported that Hammer might not face any charges for the sexual assault allegations. The LAPD completed its investigation into the allegations against Hammer, and the case was also sent to the LA County District Attorney’s Office.

Hammer waves to the press.
Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The LAPD said the witnesses lacked credibility and there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed with a case. Hammer denied all the accusations, including those about the assault from 2017. It seemed like he got to walk away without facing any legal consequences.

Rejoining Social Media

After a long break out of the public eye, Hammer returned to social media around March 2022. His account, however, has remained private. Fans only realized he was using social media again because his profile picture changed, and he deleted all of his posts.

A mirror selfie of Hammer with a strange look.
Source: Twitter

Although Hammer hasn’t posted anything new, it is interesting that he would want to be back on the platform that got him into so much trouble. Since leaving rehab, Hammer was spotted several times and even stopped taking selfies with fans.

Making Things Work

Although Chambers filed for divorce in July 2020, she and Hammer called off their divorce to reportedly give their marriage a second chance. Sources close to Chambers told People magazine that “Elizabeth’s priority has always been her children and their well-being. The past year hasn’t always been easy.”

Hammer and his family have fun in the pool.
Source: Facebook

Hammer and Chambers always had love for each other and wanted to put their family first. Friends said the couple was trying to figure things out as a couple. Chambers even shared a photo of Hammer playing with their kids in the yard.

What Happened to Armie Hammer?

After his Hollywood exile, Hammer found a new job in the Cayman Islands. In July 2022, TMZ reported that Hammer was selling timeshares and acting as a “personal concierge” at Marriott’s Grand Cayman Island resort. He retreated to a normal life away from the spotlight.

A portrait of Armie Hammer.
Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images

Although he formed a better relationship with his parents over the years, they didn’t give him financial support. Once he was banished from Hollywood, Hammer barely had income and was practically broke. He took a regular job to support his family.

A Dark History

Hammer isn’t the first man in his family to show their dark side. Many men in his family have gotten themselves into trouble. Discovery+ created a show about the scandals surrounding Hammer and his family, titled House of Hammer. It will begin airing in September 2022.

Armie Hammer poses for a portrait.
Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post/Getty Images

The family’s first brush with scandal was in 1919. Hammer’s great-great-grandfather, Dr. Julius Hammer, terminated the pregnancy of a diplomat’s wife. The woman died a few days after the procedure, and Dr. Julius was convicted of first-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Taking Over the Business

While his father was in prison, Dr. Julius’ son, Armand (Hammer’s namesake), took over his father’s other business, Allied Drug. Armand moved to Europe in 1921 to fortify family connections and expand the business. While there, he married a singer named Olga.

Dr Armand Hammer.
Photo by New York Times Co./Getty Images

Olga and Armand had a son named Julian, Hammer’s grandfather. By the 1950s, Armand divorced Olga and married his second wife, Angela. He moved to LA, married a wealthy woman in 1956, and invested her money into Occidental Petroleum. Armand drove the company to incredible success.

Reimagining His Life

Armand tried to distance himself from his past connections, rebranding himself as a self-made industrialist. He hired a ghostwriter to help him with his memoir, The Remarkable Life of Dr. Armand Hammer. Armand transformed his life. He made connections with people like Prince Charles.

Armand Hammer poses with two women.
Photo by Bertrand LAFORET/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

However, after Armand died in 1990, a biography exposed him for laundering money, bribing his way into the oil business, and making illegal contributions to political campaigns. He also reportedly had several mistresses and a decade-long affair. He also didn’t care much about his son.

Begging for Attention

Armand’s son Julian (Hammer’s grandfather) always fought for his father’s attention. Armand neglected his son and passed him over entirely by leaving Julius’s son his business empire. Julian frequently acted out to get his father’s attention. He resorted to very bad behavior.

Julius, Armand, and Julian outside their home.
Source: Vanity Fair

In 1955, Julian killed his friend because of gambling debt and supposed advances on his wife. Armand paid a lawyer $50,000 in cash to get Julian out of jail. He claimed he killed his friend in self-defense, and the court bought his story, so he got away with it.

Abuse Allegations

Julian’s daughter, Casey (Hammer’s aunt), revealed family secrets in her 2015 book, Surviving My Birthright. She claimed her father sexually abused her and was abusive to others in the family. Casey is estranged from most of her family, but she said everything was very public.

Armand, Michael, and Casey.
Source: YouTube

While Casey made strong accusations about her father and grandfather, her siblings Michael (Hammer’s father) and half-sister Jan said they had a wonderful childhood. Jan said she had wonderful memories, and her grandfather gave them the best education and taught them strong values.

Struggling With Excess

Like his father, Michael struggled with excess. In 1985, Michael was working at the family oil company when he met Dru Mobely on a plane. Hammer told Vulture, “My dad was supposed to be on a flight, went to the airport, and got hammered and passed out.”

Michael and Casey Hammer attend an event.
Source: Facebook

Hammer continued, “He missed his flight, woke up, and realized, ‘Oh God, I have a meeting’.” Michael had to rebook his flight and wound up next to Mobley. The two quickly started a relationship, married that year, and had Hammer in 1986.

Battle for Money

Armand wanted to keep the empire he built in his family, but Julian was unreliable, and Michael was not as bright. When Armand died, he was reportedly worth $180 million. The battle for his estate began within hours. Police officers found Michael attempting to take belongings from Armand’s home.

Four generations of Hammer men.
Source: Facebook

Armand made many financial promises throughout his life, but the will reading shocked many. Julian was cut out of the will, and the other heirs were only left $40 million. He didn’t leave anything to his ex-wives, and Michael took over the business.

Lawsuits Piled Up

Julian was furious that his father left him out of the will. About 100 lawsuits piled up against Armand’s estate from Casey, his mistresses, charities, and more. The inheritance battle tore the family apart because everyone felt they deserved some of Armand’s money.

Armand Hammer stands outside the Hammer Collection.
Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images

Armand wanted to have a strong legacy; he spent over $100 million to build the Hammer Museum. However, Michael turned it over to the UCLA art department in 1994. He asked the Metropolitan Museum of Art to remove Armand’s name from the Hall of Arms and Armor.

Bad Karma

Julian died in 1996, and Michael moved his wife, Hammer, and younger son Viktor to the Caymans in 1997. The transition from the Caribbean wasn’t easy when the family returned to California. In 2005, the 21-room mansion the family was renovating burnt down, costing $15 million in damages.

Armire Hammer and his parents.
Source: Twitter

In 2011, Michael spent a night in jail for a DUI. Things worsened when his Knoedler Gallery, part of Michael’s inheritance, suddenly closed. The gallery was sued by hedge fund executive Pierre Lagrange for selling him a forged Pollock painting for $17 million.

He Got Caught

The first lawsuit led to others coming forward about fake paintings. The gallery was accused of selling $70 million worth of fake art in a con that stretched back to 1994. All the lawsuits were later settled, but a gallery accountant testified that Michael was stealing money during the trial.

A portrait of Michael Armand Hammer.
Source: Tumblr

He allegedly used the company credit card to buy cars and a trip to Paris for over $1 million. Before he could testify, a settlement was reached. Many in the art world thought Knoedler’s downfall would damage Michael and even Hammer’s reputations, but it didn’t.

Afraid of His Power

Someone close to the family said the Hammers never accomplished anything: “They know a lot about spending other people’s money.” Michael’s best skill is hiring good lawyers. Women and others are afraid to speak about Michael’s business and personal tactics.

Michael Armand Hammer drives in a convertible.
Source: Twitter

Despite all the scandals, Michael is a regular fixture in Montecito’s high society. He goes to old car shows and attends high-profile charity events. However, there have always been whispers about Michael’s drug and alcohol use, finances, and history with women. His wife also divorced him.

He Remarried

In 2017, Michael moved on from Modley with Misty Millward, a Four Seasons Biltmore spa “healer.” Millward reportedly helped Michael recover from back surgery. On July 4, 2017, he proposed to Millward with a patriotic theme celebration. He didn’t spare anything to impress his new woman.

Michael and Misty.
Source: Twitter

Michael gave Millward a red alligator-skin Birkin bag, Armand’s white Rolls Royce, and a seven-and-a-half carat diamond ring. Michael said the blue of his eyes completed the theme. It was a grand celebration that the Montecito Journal reported on. The two got married shortly after.

Forgetting the Past

When Hammer broke into Hollywood, his family’s dark backstory was a thing of the past. Whether it was forgotten or purposely ignored, Hammer was seen as a handsome up-and-coming actor. It was easy to ignore the red flags because of his good looks and famous last name.

Armie Hammer attends the 'Free Fire' Closing Night Gala screening
Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

In 2018, Hammer told Conan O’Brien about his 2011 arrest. He was transporting supplies for his wife’s bakery when he was stopped, and a police dog smelled marijuana. He brushed it off like it was a joke, saying, “The inmates were great.”