All About Charles Melton's Parents, Sukyong and Phil Melton

Charles Melton has a close relationship with his mom Sukyong and dad Phil



Charles Melton and his parents Phil Melton and Sukyong Melton arrive for the premiere of "The Sun Is Also a Star" on May 13, 2019 in Los Angeles.

Charles Melton credits his upbringing by parents Sukyong and Phil Melton for much of his success.

The Riverdale actor was born in 1991 to Sukyong and Phil, shortly after the couple moved from Korea, Sukyong's native country, to Alaska. Charles is close to both his parents, especially his mom whom he often refers to as his “queen.”

"I wouldn't change my relationship with my mother for anything — like anything," he told Good Morning America in 2019.

Charles, who won the Gotham award for outstanding supporting performance for his role in May December in November 2023, also often speaks about the support he’s received from both his parents as he pivoted from his dreams of being an NFL star to an actor while he was still in college — and his parents couldn’t be prouder.

“I feel great about it. He’s always been a romantic,” Phil told the Los Angeles Times in 2019. “A real lover and a dreamer.”

From their careers to how they support their children, here’s everything to know about Charles Melton’s parents, Sukyong and Phil Melton.

Sukyong was born in Korea

<p>Jon Kopaloff/Getty</p> Charles Melton and mom Sukyong Melton attend the World Premiere of "The Sun Is Also A Star" on May 13, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Jon Kopaloff/Getty

Charles Melton and mom Sukyong Melton attend the World Premiere of "The Sun Is Also A Star" on May 13, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Charles’ mom, Sukyong, was born and raised in Korea and immigrated to the U.S. in 1990 after marrying Phil. The two settled down in Juneau, Alaska, where Charles was born a year later. However, while she was pregnant, Phil left to serve in the Gulf War, while Sukyong stayed behind with his family.

"My mom [at this point] has never been to America," Charles told Good Morning America of her move. "She doesn't have her driver's license, she has no friends in America, and then my dad finds out he's getting orders to go to the Gulf War in '91.”

Sukyong became a citizen when Charles was in middle school after practicing for the citizenship quizzes with him every day, as he told Mixed Asian Media. She kept her Korean culture alive by teaching Charles and his sisters Korean and raising them to be proud of their heritage — especially the food — no matter where they lived.

“What’s unique is that back home in Kansas my mom has four refrigerators, and she makes the best kimchi, man,” Charles told the outlet in 2019. “Three of those refrigerators are for her spring kimchi, summer kimchi, and winter kimchi, and you know she cooks every meal.”

He added that having grown up in a mixed household, he was surprised when others only spoke one language at home or didn’t “eat rice even for breakfast.”

“People would come over and be like, ‘What is that? That smells gross!’ ” Charles said, adding that he would reply, “‘That’s kimchi, man!’ ”

The Meltons moved around while Phil served in the military

<p>Charles Melton Instagram</p> Charles Melton with his family.

Charles Melton Instagram

Charles Melton with his family.

When Charles was growing up, his family moved around frequently due to Phil’s job in the army. Though he was born in Alaska, Charles has also lived in Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, New York, Texas and California.

The actor even lived abroad, returning to his mother’s home country Korea for five years before moving to Germany for four years. He calls Kansas home, however, as he lived there for five years and attended high school in Manhattan, Kansas. He also later went on to play football for Kansas State University.

“I’m very cultured to the extreme,” he told Mixed Asian Media of all his moves.

They have three children

<p>Broadimage Entertainment / Alamy </p> Charles Melton and sisters at the premiere of 'The Sun Is Also a Star' on May 13, 2019.

Broadimage Entertainment / Alamy

Charles Melton and sisters at the premiere of 'The Sun Is Also a Star' on May 13, 2019.

Phil and Sukyong are also parents to Charles’ younger sisters, Patricia and Tammie. Charles is close to both his sisters, who have accompanied him to his movie premieres and traveled with him.

Tammie has even served as Charles’ photographer at important events in his life, like the Cannes Film Festival in May 2023.

“to my incredible sister @tammieymelton who has been such a rock for me on this journey and during the filming of #maydecember,” Charles wrote on Instagram following the festival. “i’m so grateful to have you by my side.”

Phil instilled a love of movies in Charles

<p>Broadimage/Shutterstock</p> Charles Melton and his dad Phil Melton at the premiere of 'The Sun Is Also A Star' on May 13, 2019.


Charles Melton and his dad Phil Melton at the premiere of 'The Sun Is Also A Star' on May 13, 2019.

Charles got his love of film from his father, who took him to the movie theater when he was a child.

“Growing up, my best friend was the movie theaters,” he told Women’s Wear Daily in 2018. “I’d go to the movies every week, multiple times a week, with my dad or alone. We watched everything: The Matrix, Armageddon, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Notebook, the Marvel Universe movies. But I think my favorite movie I watched with my dad would be A Knight’s Tale with Heath Ledger.”

In his interview with the Los Angeles Times, Charles shared that his dad would take him to the movies after church every Sunday, and one day in third grade, after watching The Matrix together, Charles told him he wanted to be an actor.

“I remember my dad saying, ‘Charles, if you keep it up with taekwondo and everything, you can be the next Jet Li, Bruce Lee, or Jackie Chan,’ ” he said. “That was cool to me at the time, but now, looking back, I realize that was his only reference to seeing someone of Asian descent in film.”

Phil was also a big fan of the Archie comics, so when Charles landed the role of Reggie, the football sidekick of Archie in Riverdale, Phil was thrilled.

“When I told him I was playing Reggie Mantle, he was pretty pumped up and excited,” Charles told WWD.

Sukyong was Charles’ biggest cheerleader when he was a football star

<p>Albert L. Ortega/Getty</p> Charles Melton and mother Sukyong Melton attend the 19th Annual Unforgettable Gala on December 11, 2021 in Beverly Hills, California.

Albert L. Ortega/Getty

Charles Melton and mother Sukyong Melton attend the 19th Annual Unforgettable Gala on December 11, 2021 in Beverly Hills, California.

Before he pursued acting, Charles was a defensive back on Kansas State’s football team. As an athlete, he was swamped between classes, practice and meetings, and credits his mom for helping him get through the busy time.

"My mom would pick me up from class every Tuesday and drive me to the football complex so I could be in time for the meetings," he told Good Morning America. "It wouldn't have been possible for me to get to the meetings if it wasn't for my mom.”

Sukyong and Phil are both supportive of Charles’ career

<p>Charles Melton Instagram</p> Charles Melton and his mom Sukyong Melton.

Charles Melton Instagram

Charles Melton and his mom Sukyong Melton.

When Charles decided to drop out of college to pursue acting full-time, he needed $3,000 to attend an arts showcase after receiving a callback. As a young college student, he knew he didn’t have the cash and turned to his parents for help.

“I thought, ‘Wow, I made it. I made it,’ and then I saw in the fine print that it was $3,000,” Charles told the Los Angeles Times. “So I ended up crying to my parents to let me do this — literally crying, full, real-deal crying. My dad was like, ‘How are you going to pay us back?’ And my mom convinced him.”

Charles ultimately decided to move to L.A. to commit to acting with just $500 and food that his grandma, whom he calls his Halmoni, and mom prepared for him.

"I remember my mom, she packed 60 cans of tuna, 60 cans of chicken noodle soup," he told GMA. "My Halmoni loves almonds, but you can't find those types of almonds that she likes in Korea, so she gave me her almonds and her nuts, which makes sense [because that's her mom] because they're so similar, giving me so much food."

He added, "My mom said, 'It's gonna be good. It's gonna be tough for two months. If you don't work or make any money, you'll have this.' This is the best that she could do."

Sukyong has accompanied Charles to award shows

<p>Charles Melton/Instagram</p> Charles Melton with his mom Sukyong in November 2023

Charles Melton/Instagram

Charles Melton with his mom Sukyong in November 2023

During Charles' press run for May December, he had his mom by his side both at award shows and behind the scenes. Sukyong not only took care of Charles during that time, but also even made her famous kimchi for the journalists covering the film.

"Who wouldn't want their mom to be with them?” he told PEOPLE in February 2024. “She’ll always tell me, no matter how old I get, I'm always going to be her baby Charles: ‘I don't care if you have a house, and you're paying bills, and you have kids, you'll always be my baby.’ ”

Charles later told PEOPLE in March 2024 that having Sukyong by his side was actually the best part of awards season altogether.

The best part was my mom making me breakfast, lunch and dinner, and just taking care of me,” he said. “You don’t get that much sleep. But I just had my sister and my mom along the way [and] my publicist, who I love dearly."

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