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Who Is Jared Leto's Brother? Shannon Leto Dating Cara Santana

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Who Is Jared Leto's Brother? Shannon Leto Dating Cara Santana

Fans of Jared Leto know that he and his big brother Shannon Leto make up the backbone of the band Thirty Seconds to Mars. The brothers are only about 18 months apart in age and they have been creating music and art together since they were little kids. Their band has been touring for years and they're popular on the festival circuit. 

But while Jared's every move attracts media attention, Shannon Leto is more of the private type. He stays out of the spotlight, except when he's on stage. This week, his private life got an unusual amount of publicity when he was spotted out and about with a new girlfriend. He was seen kissing actress Cara Santana. Now fans want to know more about the older Leto brother.

Who is Jared Leto's brother, Shannon Leto? 

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Who is Shannon Leto? He has tragic beginnings.

The brothers started off in difficult circumstances. His mom was very young when she had the boys in Louisiana and Shannon recalls that his father left when they were very young. They never got to form a relationship with him in later life because he died by suicide when Shannon was only 10 years old. Leto isn't even his father's last name — their mother remarried and Shannon and Jared took their new stepfather's name. The boys and their mom moved around a lot when they were very young, though they often returned to Louisiana to visit their grandparents. 


A post shared by SHANNON LETO (@shannonleto) on Dec 26, 2019 at 1:42pm PST

Shannon and Jared Leto as kids. 

Shannon's mom loved music and art. 

Despite the early chaos in their home life, Shannon recalls that his mother provided them with a lot of opportunity to be artistic. She enjoyed painting and she got the boys a piano when they were very young so they started learning about music early. 

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Shannon Leto was the "bad boy" brother.

Shannon told reporters that he remembers that he and his brother never had a lot of friends growing up and their basic dislike of school didn't help much. "I hated conformity, I hated rules, and took any opportunity to break them," Shannon said, adding that when he got into trouble he was often dragging Jared along for the ride. By high school, he was doing drugs and getting in trouble often enough that he finally just called it quits and dropped out altogether. 


A post shared by SHANNON LETO (@shannonleto) on Jul 9, 2020 at 2:50pm PDT

The Leto brothers in 2019. 

The years after high school were rough for Shannon Leto.

Both brothers drifted after high school. Shannon thinks he was on a bad path in those days and credits his younger brother with helping him find his way out of the life of drugs that he was living at the time. But Jared worried that his brother wasn't going to make it saying, "[Shannon] went to some very dark places. He’s lucky to be alive." At the same time, Shannon inspired Jared to pursue his own artistic dreams going to art school and auditioning for acting roles. By the time Shannon found his way free of drugs, Jared was already in Los Angeles making his name in Hollywood and Shannon followed him out there. He also followed his little brother onto the set. In his early years in Los Angeles, Shannon got roles in some of Jared's TV shows and films including My So-Called Life, Prefontaine, Sol Goode and Highway.

Shannon is a percussionist.

The acting bug didn't bite Shannon has hard as it did Jared, however, and he settled into music as his real passion. The brothers formed the band Thiry Seconds To Mars in 1998 and have made five albums in the years since. Shannon is the percussionist and his brother does everything else. At times, they have brought other musicians in, including Solon Bixler, Matt watcher, and Tomo Miličević. Shannon says being int he band is the thing he loves most in the world. Thirty Seconds to Mars, apart from being favorites on the festival circuit, has the distinction of being the band with the longest continuous touring record

Shannon Leto is dating Cara Santa.

Unlike his brother who is a perennial headline grabber, Shannon Leto stays behind the scenes — or at least behind the drums. He used his social media to promote his music not his life. His personal life hasn't been splashed over the tabloids until just recently when he stepped out with a new girlfriend. The 50-year-old drummer is dating 36-year-old Cara Santana, who is fresh off a break-up from Jesse Metcalf. She and Metcalf had been together for 13 years before their split in January. Leto and the Vida actress were spotted kissing in Santa Monica this week.

They haven't shared any details about their relationship, including how or when they met so it's all very mysterious for the moment.  

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.​