Kristin Nelson Temporarily Lost Custody of Her Son to Mark Harmon – Here’s how it happened

Before her demise, actress Kristin Nelson struggled with various issues, including drug and alcohol addiction. However, she faced the toughest challenge when she temporarily lost custody of her youngest child. Here’s how it happened. 

American movie star Mark Harmon and his late sister, Kristin Nelson, were spotlight siblings who had a tumultuous relationship before Kristin passed away. It all boiled down to her complicated life and the custody over one of her sons, Sam Nelson.

Kristin’s life was filled with several challenging experiences during her marriage and divorce from the late American singer Ricky Nelson. The life issues led to the mother of four becoming a drug addict.


Walking down the aisle is one of the most anticipated moments for many people; however, staying in a marriage could be more overwhelming than anticipated, hence the increase in the divorce rate in the world today.

While several individuals seek peace of mind and sanity by separating from their spouses, divorce could harm the mental health of the couple’s children, and Sam Nelson was not an exception.

Sam is a talented singer today; however, he did not experience the best childhood as he dealt with the messy divorce between his parents. Before Kristin and Ricky separated, little Sam shared a great relationship with his parents and loved spending time with them.

However, he was deprived of a more profound father and son bond after his parents called it quits on their marriage. During a 2016 interview, Sam spoke candidly about his experiences and relationship with his dad as a child.

First, he described the bond between him and Ricky as tricky, noting that although they loved each other very much, they did not get to see each other often. Sam made it known that for most of his childhood, his parents were going through a divorce.

According to the singer, he had to sneak out to see his father in his house on Mulholland Drive on Christmas Eve, and after the night was over, he would not see Ricky again till the same night the following year.

Sadly on December 31, 1985, Ricky passed away when Sam was only 11 years old. The singer said he watched the world mourn with his family, which was incredibly powerful and unique.

In remembrance of his father’s death on New Year’s Eve in 2019, Sam took to his Facebook page to celebrate his memory with a lengthy tribute. In the post, he noted that losing a parent was always tricky, especially on New Year’s Eve.

However, December 31, 2019, made Sam feel strange because he was the same age his father was when he died. According to Sam, when the clock struck midnight, he would be older than his father ever was. In all, he had experienced joy, change, and growth.


Kristin and Ricky tied the knot in 1963, and appeared to have married life for a few years. However, their marital life soon began to go south, and Kristin desperately tried to fix things, but this broke her in the process.

Kristin and Ricky began to develop drug issues, and they resorted to therapy for help. Not long after, the singer stopped showing up for therapy sessions, and Kristin pleaded with her family for help, but her pleas fell on deaf ears; they claimed there was nothing wrong with her.

In 1980, Kristin finally filed for divorce, which was finalized two years later. Despite being granted custody of her kids, Kristin’s addictions did not stop. She drank and used drugs heavily and could not paint for a living.

While Kristin struggled with addiction and working as an assistant casting director, Sam was passed from one family member to another before he ended up in Harmon’s house.


After Ricky died in an accident in 1985, Kristin’s life kept spiraling at the mercy of substance abuse, and Harmon stepped in to help. He advised her to go into rehab, which she agreed to.

After her rehab stint in 1987, Kristin was told that Harmon and his wife, Pam, were seeking custody of Sam. After a court hearing, Harmon was granted temporary custody, while Kristin was instructed to stay 200 yards away from her brother and his family.

Both parties were involved in a messy custody battle. However, Harmon called a truce, and Kristin was granted custody.

Today, Sam is 46 years old, has a career as a singer, just like his father, and has a degree in psychology and a minor in film from Boston College.

He is best known as lead vocalist songwriter for his L. A.-based band, H is Orange. Sam also shares a striking resemblance with his uncle Harmon, as seen in a picture shared on his Facebook page.


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