Mikaela Spielberg was arrested & charged with domestic violence on her fiance

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As we recently learned, Mikaela Spielberg is going through *something*. At the age of 23, she is one of the younger “kids” of Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg and she seems to have had a lot of problems in her young life, including sexual abuse and disordered eating. Mikaela recently announced in an interview that she was going to pursue a career in porn. She sounded sure of herself, but she also sounded like she could really benefit from some intensive therapy. Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg are reportedly kind of embarrassed about all of this. What I thought was the most problematic part of Mikaela’s interview was that this young woman – just 23 – is engaged to a 47 year old man named Chuck Pankow. It seemed… like a disaster waiting to happen. And it’s already started to happen:

Steven Spielberg‘s daughter Mikaela Spielberg has been charged with domestic violence, PEOPLE confirms. An official with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee confirmed her arrest, and online inmate records show that Mikaela, 23, was arrested at approximately 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, and admitted into the Hill Detention Center in Nashville. The official told PEOPLE that Mikaela’s bond was already posted, but she will not be released until the end of a “12-hour hold” period, routine in domestic violence arrests.

A rep for Spielberg did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Radar Online was the first to report the news. Mikaela’s fiancé Chuck Pankow also confirmed the arrest to Fox News, telling the outlet in a statement that the incident was “a misunderstanding.”

“No one is hurt,” Pankow, 47, added.

[From People]

I have such a bad energy about all of this. I think this dude is manipulating Mikaela and he talked her into a porn career and now he’s the kind of guy who will call the cops on her and claim that yes, she hit him but it was a misunderstanding, but why don’t you just arrest her to teach her a lesson. Maybe I’m wildly off the mark. But it definitely feels like Mikaela would benefit more from psychiatric intervention rather than a day in jail. And I definitely feel like her parents could and should intervene.

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52 Responses to “Mikaela Spielberg was arrested & charged with domestic violence on her fiance”

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  1. Sayrah says:

    Oh lord. This is a sad situation all around

    • FHMom says:

      Yes, it is. Hopefully,her parents can get her help, and hopefully, she will accept help.

      • sam says:

        Maybe her parents are part of the problem? She said she was abused and groomed: by whom? when? what was done about it? So many holes in that sad (developing horribly) story.

      • Shannon Bullock says:

        She was adopted by the Spielbergs at a very young age (around a year old I believe) but may have had contact with her extended bio family (meaning grandparents, siblings etc.) and/or bio parents if it was an open adoption. Even if she didn’t have contact with them, children who are adopted can have a really tough time feeling a sense of belonging in their adoptive families especially in their teenage years. That is amplified even more for a child whose racial/ethnic identity doesn’t match that of their adoptive parents. There are cultural issues that love alone can’t bridge understanding on for a little girl of color and white adoptive parents and that may have caused her to look for love or validation outside of her adoptive family, potentially with someone who didn’t deserve her trust. If she didn’t exhibit clear signs of trauma vs “going through a stage” as an adopted teenager who is searching for meaning and identity (those two things can be hard to tell apart even for mental health experts), her adoptive parents might not have realized she was spending time with people who were hurting her. She was pretty clear in interviews that her adoptive parents were not the people who caused her trauma. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t have missed the signs of her being groomed and abused but it’s easy to say that in hindsight.

  2. Nikomikaelx says:

    age doesn’t matter, maybe he is a victim of abuse why do you automatically think he’s the problem?

    • Guest with Cat says:

      Just call it a hunch. Might be wrong though. Your point is valid.

    • Brit345 says:

      With all the other issues she is seeming to have it wouldn’t surprise me if their is some substance issues involved as well.

      Wouldn’t be surprised if she also did fly off the handle in an argument and hit him…he might legit be trying to get her some help by calling police or protecting himself

      Call it a hunch

    • Faithmobile says:

      Age does matter. A grown man choosing to be with a young women whose brain hasn’t fully developed reeks of control issues.

      • Arpeggi says:

        But 1st, we don’t know anything about his mental health and 2nd, it doesn’t mean that he can’t be a victim of domestic violence too. Is it probably better for both of them to not be together? Yes. Would it be better if she was hospitalized instead of jailed? Sure, but unless things go really, really dark, you can’t force someone to seek treatments if they don’t want to

      • Erinn says:

        Oh he’s shady as hell.

        But that doesn’t mean he can’t be a victim, too. Hell, he might be trying to get the girl some help for all we know. Calling it in might have been the only option he felt he had.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        Women’s brains are fully developed at 21 lol.

        But that’s not the point. There’s too many variables currently orbiting this situation. And each one is sketchy AF. I bet this is going to be around for a while, and I don’t think even Mr. Spielberg can direct this one.

      • Sara says:

        trying to delete my comment

      • Ladyjax says:

        @mabs, nope, they’re not fully developed til 25.

      • Jaded says:

        In people with disorders such as BPD, NPD, HPD, etc. the parts of their brain (pre-frontal cortex, amygdala) governing rationale thought, decision-making, impulse control, delayed gratification, etc. don’t mature at all beyond that of a teenager. As a result, behaviour patterns like addiction, lack of risk-control, “responding” instead of “reacting”, black and white thinking and fear of abandonment cause the sufferer to behave like a child. I don’t know what her life was like before she was adopted, I believe she was only about one year old, but childhood trauma can often trigger these behaviours. Her boyfriend sounds like a tool, he’s a professional darts player. Let the dart-shaming begin….

      • Emma33 says:

        An attachment disorder could also be a possibility – it is usually only seen in fostered or adopted children who never got to bond with a carer at crucial times in their development. It causes all kinds of problems in relationships (I.e. insecure attachment), and in life in general. Not saying that is what is going on here, but it is one possibility. It just sounds like a sad situation all round.

  3. Brit345 says:

    I agree sounds like she is dealing with a lot. What bothers me in this post is the assumption that
    a) she is open to getting help/support from others, or listening to others concerns
    b)that people haven’t tried to get her support or intervene (sometimes this can cause even more issues)

    Yes, at 23 you are youngish still but she isn’t a child anymore and is fully capable unless deemed otherwise to make her own decisions, no matter how immature she is acting you cannot force someone to change unless they are willing.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but the lightbulb has to really want to change.

    • kitkat says:

      So true, it is essentially impossible to get someone help if they don’t want it or are not actively suicidal/homicidal. You can be sure her parents have tried or are trying.

    • Kimberly says:

      23 is is a young adult…while not a child….definitely not a grown up yet.

      it always weirded me out when people call kids young adults……in order to have that adjective “young” before adult, you must be an adult. Otherwise you’re a big kid, child, adolescent, teenage person 13-17….definitely not a young adult

      I think I must be alone in this thought…

  4. OG Cleo says:

    I work in psychotherapy and, as someone who wants to adopt in the future, the elevated proportion of adopted children who end up in intensive inpatient care and have severe psychological needs is so sad. There’s almost always a significant abuse or disordered attachment history, even if they were adopted as babies. There’s only so much parents can do, at the end of the day. Of course not all adopted children end up needing intensive care and intervention, but so many do.

    • Christina says:

      OG Cleo, it’s very sad. You post makes me even more sad that she was sent away instead of parented closely as a young person. It seems to me that kids who have been adopted need to feel closeness to their family. It had to be difficult, but parenting takes a lot of energy, and young people, regardless of whether or not they are adopted, need emotional support. I don’t mean that parents need to do everything for their kids. I mean that kids need to be hugged (if they are ok with it) and spoken to like they matter, and they need to have conversations with adults who love them and who want them in their lives. Having professionals help is different than sending them away to have professionals raise your kids while you only see them on holidays. How can you really know your kid if they are away at boarding school?

      If I had that kind of money, I wouldn’t have sent her away to boarding school. I would have kept her close.

      • Meg says:

        Oh thats right she was sent away, rosie odonnell did that with her adopted kids too
        It does seem odd to adopt then send them away, while the school itself im sure was high quality ur right they need a sense if belonging and to be sent away seems to discourage that from happening.
        Tilda swinton went to boarding school and speaks very little of it, saying harry potter may glamourize being sent away so young for school but she didnt think it was enough support for kids at those impressionable ages

      • Emma33 says:

        Wow, was she sent to boarding school? I have a young child in my family who came through the foster system and has an attachment disorder. Sending her away to school would be the absolute worst thing we could do for her. I am just staggered that this would be an option for any adopted child, no matter when they were adopted.

        ETA – I take that back, apparently it was a therapeutic setting. Which makes sense…

    • paranormalgirl says:

      This is more prevalent in international adoptions, especially those from eastern bloc countries. The younger the child is at adoption, the less lively this is to occur. The longer a child is in the system (here or abroad, where the system includes institutional orphanages), the more likely there are to be mental health issues. Babies in international adoptions are more likely to exhibit issues due to FAS or drug use by the mother that are not diagnosed at birth and treated for.

      • OG Cleo says:

        You’re right on international adoption, and additionally the risk of unethical practices is harder to detect and avoid than domestic adoption (where unethical practices absolutely occur but prospective adoptive families have easier access to information on how exactly the organizations treat the birth parents).

    • Justwastingtime says:

      As an adoptive parent of well-attached child who was adopted at birth, I would be interested in the research on non attachment with adopted babies as that is not something I have seen before.

      I am white and my child is black. One thing to note is that there are lots a lot of unique things to work out with transracial adoption including having good ties and friends in your local black community. Of course i have no idea of the situation so I am not speculating but it does make adoption more complicated.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        One of my colleagues did some research, but it was focused on international adoptees with attachment disorders. I’ll look for it later and if it’s online and accessible, I’ll post the link.

      • justwastingime says:

        Thanks paranormalgirl!

      • wildwaffles says:

        As an adoptee (adopted at birth) and a clinical social worker, I would like to suggest the book “Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self”. It explores how being adopted is part of your identity formation that has different impacts across your development all the way into old age. While an adoptee might have no issues at one stage of development, they can develop identity issues at another stage. Also, a child’s ability to understand what it means to be adopted changes over time. A 4 year old’s understanding of the concept of adoption is very different than a 10 year old’s. The book is older so it mainly deals with the closed, at-birth adoptions in the years preceding the 1980’s but the basic concepts are helpful to understand.

      • Justwastingtime says:

        wildwaffles – thanks, we have read a lot of good adoption books and attended adoption classes that address the triangle and the importance of birth parents- critical to every adoptee’s history but always good to get more perspectives.

        As I said earlier, there is an important extra step needed in trans-racial (black-white) adoption. If you don’t immerse yourself into black history and culture and hang out with black people, it’s hard its hard to make that transition so that your children are comfortable with themselves. That means that we have had to make changes and at times get out of our comfort zone but my daughter and our entire family have benefited from it.

        Again zero judgement on the Spielberg family, and I have no idea how or whether they dealt with it. It’s hard balancing the needs of many children, we only have two so it was easier for us.

  5. tegteg says:

    Is he gross for dating her when she is 20 years younger than him? Yes. But that doesn’t make her hitting him okay.

    Men who suffer domestic abuse often feel they can’t come forward because they won’t be believed or will be viewed as less than a man. So, I’m not okay with negating her actions here by saying “he’s the type of dude to manipulate her, call the cops when she hits him, and say it’s a misunderstanding.” If she hit him, then she should be arrested. End of.

    • Arpeggi says:

      This. Victims of domestic violence will often claim that it wasn’t that bad and that the whole things was a misunderstanding and try to protect their abuser. While I think it’s gross to be with someone so much younger than you with mental issues that might affect the whole consent/power dynamics in the relationship, I think it’s wrong to imply that somehow, it’s his fault if she hit him without anything proving this.

    • Kelly says:

      I agree, calling the cops after an incident of domestic violence is absolutely the correct course of action.

  6. Guest with Cat says:

    Get help sweet girl. Stop witn the porn and the boyfriend and go get some help to get you past the abuse you suffered so you can rebuild your dignity and self respect and get your mental conditions stabilized.

    I know she isn’t going to read this but that is my hope for her.

    And yes her boyfriend may in fact be nice. He may in fact be the victim here. I hope he realizes he can’t fix this and gives her the space she needs to get herself well with professional help. He’s older and should be wiser and have more life experience to do that for her if he truly cares about her and himself. If he doesn’t, well…what can I say.

  7. lucy2 says:

    Whatever is going on here doesn’t sound good for anyone. Hopefully everyone is safe and healthy, and whoever needs help gets it.

  8. Christina says:

    Generally speaking, when a child is off the rails at 23, if the parents are loving and caring and have been working with therapists for their kid, and the kid has been in therapy, there is no more intervening. If someone is over 18 and refuses therapy or psychiatric treatment, that’s that. All the parents can do is be there for the phone calls and show up when asked.

    Honestly, I was surprised to hear that she had been sent to boarding school. Wealthy couples who adopt children to send them to boarding school confuse me. Why did you adopt/have children to send them away? Many people probably have positive experiences at boarding school, but I don’t know anyone closely who went to boarding school. The only person I know of who did was an awful, spoiled young woman because my mom worked for her mom. It seems to me that kids who need attention and help aren’t better off being sent away. All I hear are awful stories about people who went to boarding school, and Micaela seems like someone who needed her parents and day-to-day closeness. Either that or she has a personality disorder or an issue that requires meds. Bipolar disorders frequently manifest in the late teens-early 20s (see Britney Spears).

    • bluemoonhorse says:

      JMO because I don’t know these people but if you watch Spielberg’s movies, he has an anti-woman vibe throughout them all. Guess he wasn’t into being a daddy.

    • lucy2 says:

      I know one guy who did boarding school, he was the son of very wealthy people.

      Totally a guess here, but it’s possible their daughter was having behavioral issues (certainly understandable given what she went through) and possibly the boarding school was tried as an alternative. But who knows. I hope they always did their best for her, and I hope they’re still here for her now.

    • kitkat says:

      I went to boarding school. It was mostly because the highschool in my town wasn’t too great and my parents felt the teachers at the boarding schools were better. Kids usually get sent to boarding school (in USA) to theoretically get into better colleges or network with other wealthy kids. Jokes on my parents though, because my local high school had more kids get into ivy leagues than my boarding school! (not that that matters, or that I ever even had a chance of getting into an ivy, but it would matter to my parents lol) That being said, the boarding school Spielbergs daughter was sent to is different, it seems it was a boarding school for troubled youth. These are kinda controversial and super super strict (strict dress code, phone is monitored, all communication with outside world is monitored even handwritten letters, etc.) A few of my friends got sent to those, and yeah as expected, didn’t turn out to well.

  9. Annaloo says:


    The young lady is in a position of SO much privilege, and makes bad bad choices left, right and center. Not sure what level of therapy she needs, but she’d better get help or something soon. She will become a joke, she’ll have wasted her life and potential based on bad choices

    • Other Renee says:

      I, too, wondered about why she was sent to boarding school. Then I read that it was a boarding school for troubled teens. Who knows if that’s even true or not. Her troubles didn’t begin at age 23 and who knows what this family has been dealing with all these years as far as her mental state is concerned. I’m pretty sure it has been a difficult journey for all of them.

      As for the boyfriend, a 47 year old man dating a troubled 23 year old is trouble. Why do I think he’s waiting for a big fat paycheck from Daddy Spielberg to disappear?

      • Christina says:

        Other Renee, good point. She may have been having big troubles in her early teens, and sending her to a professional situation may have been the best choice if she was constantly running away and getting into trouble. They adopted so many kids, but it seems like she needed more help.

      • I agree OtherRenee. I too think it is more than likely that there is a long history of the family dealing with the issues she is having trouble dealing with, but once she is a certain age she calls the shots. They would have to take her to court and get her declared incompetent in order to make choices for her at this point. However, that is a difficult and often unsuccessful process. Sounds like she’s moving towards a ‘Britany Spears’ situation if she keeps spiraling.

      • OG Cleo says:

        This is what I thought it might have been as well, that it was a therapeutic setting. I really think people rush to judge parents far too quickly when it comes to these situations. In many cases that judgment is warranted, but very few people really see how difficult it is to raise a child with severe psychological problems coupled with an abuse history and the toll it can take on the most patient, well-meaning parents.

  10. Ali says:

    That escalated quickly

  11. Renee says:

    There isn’t much the parents can do as she is 23 years old. It is VERY hard to get someone committed or held to a mental health facility if they do not voluntarily check in themselves. I have personal experience in my family on this issue. Our family member was bipolar among other diagnosis but it was near impossible to get her to get treatment. We could not get her declared mentally incompetent (for lack of a better word) despite hiring a lawyer, etc.

    I know the Spielberg’s have endless resources so it would be much easier for them to legally intervene (than it was for us). I’m just saying it is not easy.

  12. panzley says:

    If she assaulted him then she is where she should be, in jail. She can reach out for mental health help upon her release. Unfortunately, she is an adult (a young adult but still adult) so it’s really up to her to get help. Only time will tell with this young woman.

  13. detritus says:

    I don’t trust this.

    In my limited experience targets don’t press charges until they are ready to leave. Abusers though, they will often press charges because it helps convince people the victim is equally at fault. It also allows for a smoke screen for when further abuse comes out because then no one is at fault.

    I don’t see her as holding the power in this situation. It seems to be in his hands.

    • Christina says:

      Yes, I agree 100%. She comes from money. That prick knows what he is doing. I know of a few situations where the abuser set up the target this way. Is she volatile? Maybe, but is he targeting a 23 year old with rich parents? It’s clear to my old, cynical eyes.

      Yeah, she probably hit him. He probably deserved it. I hope that this causes her to let her parents help her, but it might not. She may need to hit rock bottom. We don’t know if this is it.

  14. HeyThere! says:

    Yikes. These are some red flags! I hope she and her partner are getting all the mental health help they need. Violence is NEVER the answer.