It’s been over seven years since Paul Walker died in a tragic car accident, but he remains a beloved figure in Hollywood. From his first Pampers commercial at age 2, Walker worked tirelessly throughout his career until he hit his apex playing Brian O’Conner in the wildly successful Fast & Furious franchise.
But many fans wonder about his personal life at the time of his death. Although Walker never married, he did leave a child behind. Here’s what we know about Paul Walker’s ex, Rebecca Soteros, and their daughter Meadow Rain Walker.
Who Is Rebecca Soteros?
Rebecca Soteros is the former girlfriend of Paul Walker. Born in 1974 to Mark and Julie Ann Soteros, she dated Walker in his early 20s right before his career took off. From past interviews with Walker, it appears their relationship wasn’t too serious, and getting pregnant took them both by surprise.
Speaking with WENN, Walker explained, “It was tough. I went to Christian high school, and I was told mom and dad were supposed to be together. I was so conflicted. I was one of those ones who believed when you get married it’s forever. But I was thinking down the road. I knew where I was at with chicks and having fun. I mean, I was sleeping with her friends, for crying out loud. You know what I mean? I was an animal, and so I want to be there and my heart wants to be in it, but the mind just isn’t following it.”
While it’s not clear exactly what caused the couple to split, it appears the stress of the pregnancy was a driving cause. As such, Soteros resided in Hawaii and shouldered the bulk of the parenting duties. “I felt guilt, so I’d come around and do what I could do. What left me off the hook emotionally was at least I was providing financially, but emotionally I wasn’t there yet,” Walker went on to tell WENN. “[Meadow’s] been with her mom her whole life.”
In 2011, Meadow relocated back to California and began living with her father. In a much better spot emotionally, the two began to form a strong bond. “My heart was desperate for so many years with the situation with my daughter,” he told EW. “My daughter lives with me full time now, and she’s the best partner I’ve ever had. It’s so nuts. I’ve never had anything like this in my life.”
Sadly the two wouldn’t have much time together. And if the actor’s passing wasn’t ugly enough, the aftermath was worse. Soteros and Walker’s surviving family all become entangled in a drama worthy of a soap opera.
Meadow Rain Walker Received Paul’s Entire Estate
Due to the success of the Fast & Furious films, Walker died a very wealthy man. Meadow, 15 at the time and the sole beneficiary of his will, inherited a $25 million fortune. Neither Soteros nor Walker’s then-girlfriend, Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell, were granted a share of his estate.
Yet Walker’s daughter receiving the sole benefit of his estate came with its own problems. In 2014, the late actor’s mother, Cheryl Ann Walker, petitioned to become her granddaughter’s legal guardian.
According to E! News, “Walker’s will did designate his mom as ‘dedicated guardian’ of Meadow and ‘personal representative’ of the estate should his father, Paul Walker III, not be able to carry on as executor.” So it appears the move might have been in attempts to make controlling the estate now given to Meadow Rain easier. But in the court filings Cheryl Ann alleged that Soteros had a drinking problem, possibly as a move to shore up her bid to become legal guardian of Meadow.
Soteros admittedly had two DUIs on her record, but there wasn’t any public evidence that she was an unfit mother. “It’s just crazy how people blow things out of proportion,” an insider told TMZ as cited by E! News. “She doesn’t have a problem or a serious drinking problem. From what I know, she has never once been incapable of not taking care of her children…Rebecca is a great mother and Meadow is a very happy child. Their relationship is excellent. They are good friends and very close just like any mother and daughter. Rebecca was basically the only parent raising Meadow for the first 12 years of her life. Rebecca is a former school teacher and good with children.”
What Is Rebecca Up To Now?
Soteros has always kept a low profile. Even before Walker’s rise to fame and passing, she wasn’t someone who sought the spotlight. Aside from public reports of her custody battle (a form of attention she certainly did not seek), she has managed to stay out of the public eye. She is not active on social media, nor does she give interviews.
According to some sources, she currently lives in Los Angeles and has returned to teaching as a profession.
She is also reportedly active in philanthropic efforts. Perhaps she plays a behind-the-scenes role in the Paul Walker Foundation. The non-profit organization, established in 2015 by Meadow, provides grants to “students and researchers pursuing marine science educations or working on advancements in the field.” The cause is inspired by the late actor’s love of the ocean—as well as his tendency to display “spontaneous acts of goodwill.” Here’s a 2015 Instagram post by Meadow announcing its launch:
It seems staying out of the public eye is just what Soteros wants, and all we can hope is that she and Meadow continue to love and support one another in the wake of Walker’s passing.