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13 Celebrities Who Were Adopted That You Probably Didn't Know of ...

By Lisa

These days, it’s pretty common to hear about celebrities adopting children, but did you know that there are quite a few celebrities who were adopted themselves? What many consider to be a “typical” family is much less common than before and there are so many more families with adopted children and blended families. Whether one is adopted or is raised by their birth family, it has no bearing on your future These thirteen celebrities who were adopted prove that being orphaned or adopted doesn’t stop you from being successful, famous or both!

1 Nicole Richie

Nicole RichieOne of the more well-known celebrities who were adopted is fierce fashionista Nicole Richie. Her famous father Lionel Richie and his then-wife Brenda were friends with Nicole’s birth parents, who decided that the Richies would be able to provide a better future for her. Nicole is said to have been taken in by the Richies at the age of three but legally adopted at age nine.

2 Steve Jobs

Steve JobsApple co-founder Steve Jobs is another celebrity who was adopted. When he was an infant, his unmarried parents put him up for adoption. He later found out that his biological parents got married and had a child, Mona Simpson, whom he had developed a close relationship with.

3 Faith Hill

Faith HillCountry singer Faith Hill was adopted when she was only one week old to a family with two boys. Similar to Steve Jobs, her birth parents were an unwed couple when they had her but later got married and had another child. In 2004, she conducted a three-year search for her parents and later developed a close relationship with her biological mother.

4 Jamie Foxx

Jamie FoxxComedian and actor Jamie Foxx was adopted by his maternal grandparents when he was only 7 months old. Foxx’s mother, who is also adopted, was divorced from his birth father and didn’t feel she could raise him on her own. Foxx reports having the love of a mother and father but through a different generation and he was heavily encouraged and influenced by his grandmother to pursue his dreams.

5 Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn MonroeMarilyn Monroe is best known for being a movie star and glamour girl, but she’s also a celebrity who was adopted. Known as Norma Jeane Baker in her early days, her widowed mother was reportedly committed to a mental institution in Monroe’s early life, which left her going from foster home to foster home until she was taken in by a family friend when she was 11 years of age.

6 Bill Clinton

Bill ClintonFormer U.S. President Bill Clinton is another one of the famous people who were adopted, but he’s not the only president who was adopted. Like President Clinton, President Gerald Ford was also adopted by his grandparents as a young child. His birth father died in a car accident before he was born and his mother went to New Orleans to study to be a nurse and left him with his grandparents. She later returned for her son and remarried; however, he does not have fond memories of his stepfather.

7 Kristin Chenoweth

Kristin ChenowethActress and singer Kristin Chenoweth was adopted when she was only five days old by a couple in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Unlike many other celebrities on this list, she reports knowing the background of her birth parents but having no interest in getting to know them. Chenoweth is very open about being adopted and is a huge advocate of adoption organizations worldwide.

8 Nelson Mandela

Nelson MandelaRevered world leader and civil rights activist Nelson Mandela was initially raised by his birth parents but later adopted at age nine when his father died from tuberculosis. He was adopted by a Thembu king as a favor to his deceased father, who was a former counselor to the tribal chiefs.


Sarah MCLACHLANSinger Sarah McLachlan was adopted in 1968 by a Canadian family who previously adopted two boys. She reports finding out about being adopted around age nine but never felt that it was a big issue. She doesn’t feel like she was abandoned and is glad her birth mother placed her for adoption. McLachlan later met her biological mother but thinks of her adoptive mother as her mother.

10 Snooki

SnookiSnooki was adopted in 1987, when she was only six months old. She was born in Santiago, Chile and was adopted by Italian American parents, which likely explains why people think that she's Italian. She then moved to upstate New York with her new family, she doesn't know her biological parents, and she seems to express no interest in getting to know them.

11 D.M.C

D.M.CThe rapper DMC, Darryl McDaniels, didn't learn that he was adopted until he was 35 years old. He was trying to gather information to write his autobiography when he called his mother to ask information about his birth. After he spoke to his mother, both parents called him back to inform him that he was adopted a month after he was born.

12 John Lennon

John LennonJohn Lennon was adopted when he was about five years old by his aunt and uncle. His parents split up when he was about three years old. After this, his father virtually disappeared and his mother realized that she couldn't take care of John by herself. John's aunt and uncle took over raising him after she made her difficult decision.

13 Ray Liotta

Ray LiottaRay Liotta's parents adopted him when he was six months old in Newark, New Jersey. They also adopted a little girl named Linda after Ray. His adopted parents both unsuccessfully ran for local office and they were hard working middle-class people. Ray's adopted parents pushed Ray to go to college as well as follow his dreams.

Sometimes we think of celebrities as people who live these charmed lives, but many have been through some really tough times. Do you know of any other celebrities who were adopted?

This article was written in collaboration with editor Lydia Sheehan.


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