Zooey Deschanel's 2 Kids: All About Elsie and Charlie

Zooey Deschanel and her ex-husband, Jacob Pechenik, share two children

Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage
Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage

Zooey Deschanel has co-parenting down to a science.

The New Girl actress and her ex-husband, Jacob Pechenik, share two children: daughter Elsie Otter, 8, and son Charlie Wolf, 6.

Although Deschanel and Pechenik split in 2019, the former couple remain on good terms. Additionally, Property Brothers star Jonathan Scott, who proposed to Deschanel in August 2023, has also taken an active role in Elsie and Charlie's lives and considers himself their "Bonus Dad."

However, in a snippet of a June 2023 interview shared with PEOPLE, Scott admitted that being a "Bonus Dad" isn't always so simple.

"One thing that was a struggle early on was that the kids didn't necessarily run up and jump in my arms and give me a big hug," he explained. "I also remember several times where they'd be out with other kids and someone would say, 'Oh your daddy's so funny,' and they'd be like, 'That's not my daddy, he's my Jonathan.' So that would hurt a little bit."

Scott added that he had to realize "that in their mind, that's not a mean thing to say — it's how they know me."

During an interview with Entertainment Tonight a month prior, Scott had nothing but nice things to say about Pechenik.

"The kids' dad is a great dad. We have an amazing relationship there as well," he said. "I love it when the kids draw photos. They draw Mommy and Daddy and Jonathan. It's really sweet."

In addition to co-parenting Elsie and Charlie, Pechenik and Deschanel also co-own Lettuce Grow — a sustainable food system that was inspired by their role as parents and a desire to feed their children the best and cleanest food possible.

Keep reading to learn more about Zooey Deschanel's kids.

Elsie Otter Pechenik, 8

Jacob Pechinek Instagram
Jacob Pechinek Instagram

Deschanel and Pechenik welcomed their first child together in late July 2015, a daughter named Elsie Otter. Elsie was born in Austin, Texas, though her exact birth date is not known.

The former couple announced both the news of her birth and their wedding at the same time, though they did not share their daughter's name until a few months later.

At the October 2015 premiere of her movie Rock the Kasbah, Deschanel and Pechenik revealed their daughter's moniker. "It's Elsie …" Deschanel began, while Pechenik finished, "Otter." "Like the animal," the actress explained, while Pechenik added, "Sea otter!"

She later elaborated on her name choice during an appearance on the Today show.

"We just really liked the name Elsie and then we both love otters — they're very sweet and they're also smart," she explained. "They use tools … they hold hands while they sleep, there's so many amazing things about otters. They're wonderful animals."

Deschanel was still starring on New Girl when Elsie was born. During her maternity leave, her character Jess went off to serve jury duty, and Megan Fox had a guest spot on the show as a new roommate.

When Elsie was just 3 years old, she began to develop her own sense of style. "She likes to put together outfits and she has very distinct opinions on what she will or will not wear," Deschanel told PEOPLE during a March 2019 interview. "It's very sweet to see her say, 'I like this' or 'I don't like that,' and express herself in that way."

However, there was one clothing item she refused to wear at the time: a jacket. "She doesn't ever want to wear jackets. So that's hard in the rain and when it gets cold," her mom added. "It's been an unusually cold winter in L.A. and it's been hard that she just will not wear a jacket. Or a sweater, she won't wear a sweater even."

Like her mom, Elsie is very passionate about environmental awareness. "The sweetest moment was when Elsie wrote a letter to our senator," her "Bonus Dad" Scott recalled during the 2021 Environmental Media Association Awards. "It was the sweetest thing in the world to know that a 6-year-old wrote a letter to her senator and it was all about waste."

Deschanel added, "She said that people are throwing away too much trash. And she was 5 when she wrote it. She's very conscious."

Charlie Wolf Pechenik, 6

Zooey Deschanel/Instagram
Zooey Deschanel/Instagram

The former couple's son, Charlie Wolf, was born in early May 2017 in Los Angeles.

When discussing whether or not her children will follow in her footsteps and pursue acting, Deschanel told Access: "It's hard to say .... my son likes to make up dinosaur movies all the time, and make up songs. My daughter does too, they both kind of like to make up stuff."

In December 2021, Deschanel and Scott bought their "dream home" in L.A.

"What I found out very early on is that Zooey loves Los Angeles. Like, love-loves it. She's a native Angeleno, her parents still live in her childhood home, the whole ideal … The more she showed me her Los Angeles — the parks she went to growing up, the neighborhoods where she made memories with her closest friends — the more I found myself in love with an Angeleno, and with L.A., too," Scott wrote in an issue of his magazine Drew + Jonathan Reveal.

He continued, "We have each other, and we have time — the rest of our lives together in this house. Our house. Our dream home, where we'll see the kids grow up laughing and adventuring in the yard, where we'll play host to friends and family."

In December 2023, Deschanel shared a sweet moment with Charlie at the family's Christmas Eve party. The little boy held his mom in a tight embrace as singer Chantal Kreviazuk belted "O Holy Night" in the background.

"The most beautiful moment of the evening," Scott wrote in the comments of the actress' Instagram post, which featured a short clip of the mother-son duo.

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