Eukaryotic cells have evolved a variety of actin-binding proteins to regulate the architecture and the dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton in time and space. The Diaphanous-related formins (DRF) represent a diverse group of Rho-GTPase-regulated actin regulators that control a range of actin structures composed of tightly-bundled, unbranched actin filaments as found in stress fibers and in filopodia. Under resting conditions, DRFs are auto-inhibited by an intra-molecular interaction between the C-terminal and the N-terminal domains. The auto-inhibition is thought to be released by binding of an activated RhoGTPase to the N-terminal GTPase-binding domain (GBD). However, there is growing evidence for more sophisticated variations from this simplified linear activation model. In this review we focus on the formin homology domain-containing proteins (FHOD), an unconventional group of DRFs. Recent findings on the molecular control and cellular functions of FHOD proteins in vivo are discussed in the light of the phylogeny of FHOD proteins.