20 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Adopted

Allure

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pritt may be the world’s most famous adoptive parents, but these days many celebrities are going down the route of adopting. Though it is often publicized when celebrities chose to adopt, what is not as widely known is the number of celebrities who were adopted themselves. Of course, some stars are more comfortable speaking about their adoption than others. Nevertheless, it is quite inspiring to see the number of adopted public figures who have become advocates of adoption because of their own stories.

It is interesting to wonder how different many of these celebrity’s paths may have been if they were never adopted. Would they still be accomplished actors, directors, and Olympians? Many of them admit that being adopted gave them more opportunities, so there’s a chance that the answer is no. We definitely have a lot of adoptive parents to thank for nurturing the talents that are some of our favorite celebrities today!

Lana Condor Wants To Help Other Adopted Children

Lana Condor
Famed Star

Rising star Lana Condor is best known as the star of To All The Boys I’ve Loved. At two months old, Lana was adopted by her American parents from a Vietnamese orphanage. On the same trip, Lana’s parents also adopted a little boy, although they’d only planned on adopting her. Lana has been candid about how much that adoption changed her life, saying; “My job is to be in movies, and I’m on multi-million-dollar sets, and it’s humbling because I always remember: Had my parents not opened the door to the one nursery that I was in, I literally would not be here.” One of  her dreams is to help support children in Asian orphanages, much like the one she was adopted from.

Jamie Foxx Was Adopted By His Grandmother

Jamie Foxx
Ok Mag

Actor, musician, and comedian Jamie Foxx is a family man these days, and it’s understandable considering how much his family has shaped him. At just seven months old, Jamie was adopted by his maternal grandparents. He has taken many opportunities in public to thank his grandmother for raising him, including during his Academy Award acceptance speech for the film Ray. Because of his origin story, adoption is clearly a cause close to Jamie’s heart. Not only does he speak about it often, he continues to advocate for it.

Colin Kaepernick Was Singled Out From The Rest Of His Adoptive Family

Colin Kaepernick
Chicago Tribune

Activist and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was adopted at just five weeks old. His adoptive parents already had two biological children and they had also lost two sons to congenital heart defects. Colin, who is biracial, says he was constantly singled out from the rest of his adoptive family growing up. It didn’t matter how close I stood to my family, somebody would walk up to me, a real nervous manager, and say: ‘Excuse me. Is there something I can help you with?'” he told The New York Times. Kaepernick says that sports helped him find his identity in more ways than one.

Simone Biles’ Adoption Story Caused Some Controversy

Simone Biles
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Along with her sister, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles was adopted by her maternal grandfather and his wife. Simone and her sister were both in foster care at the time. Simone’s adoption actually propelled an important conversation during the Olympics after an NBC commentator refused to call Simone’s adoptive parents her parents, stating that those were her grandparents. Simone quickly ended the debate by saying; “I personally don’t have a comment. My parents are my parents and that’s it.” It certainly made the discussion clearer for those that argue an adoption by grandparents “doesn’t count.” Family doesn’t always have to follow convention after all.

Skrillex Didn’t Find Out About His Adoption Until He Was A Teenager

Skrillex
Mashable

Thirty one year old Skrillex is a producer, DJ, and EDM star. Skrillex, whose real name is Sonny John Moore, didn’t find out he was adopted until he was sixteen. Skrillex hasn’t shared much about his adoption story, but we think it’s understandable since he hasn’t had much as much time to process it as most of the people on this list. All we know is that Skrillex’s birth mother is apparently a friend of the family that he knows. Of course it takes time, but hopefully, Skrillex is able to come to terms with the story of his adoption at some point.

Nicole Richie’s Adoption Was Gradual

Nicole Richie
Glamour

She’s been a staple in the Hollywood scene for a long time, and of course, most people know that Lionel Richie is Nicole Richie’s father. However, there’s another side of the story you may not be aware of. Nicole’s adoption by Lionel and his then-wife Brenda was sort of a gradual process. Nicole’s parents were friends of Lionel. They agreed to let their daughter stay with him and his wife for a little while, and after realizing Nicole would have a better life with them, they eventually handed over full custody. Lionel and Brenda adopted Nicole when she was nine years old.

Sarah McLachlan’s Meeting With Her Birth Mother Was Coincidental

Sarah McLachlan'
Makers

Singer Sarah McLachlan’s adoption story is proof that the universe truly works in mysterious ways. Sarah didn’t know she was adopted until she was nine years old, despite also having adopted siblings. She’s said that she considers her adoptive mom her mother because that’s who raised her, but she’s also met her birth mom. It turns out that Sarah’s birth mom is also an artist. She had Sarah when she was nineteen and decided to give her up for adoption. The two met by coincidence when they were introduced by a mutual acquaintance, which honestly sounds like something out of a Lifetime movie. Fortunately, Sarah holds no grudges and the two are friendly. All’s well that ends well we suppose.

Snooki  From Jersey Shore Was Adopted From Chile

Snooki 
Fox News 

Best known for her role in the reality show Jersey Shore, Nicole Polizzi (or Snooki) was actually born in Chile. Insider reports that Snooki was adopted at six months old by her parents. If you watched Jersey Shore, you’ll remember that there was a major emphasis on the “Italian-American” experience. Snooki is not technically Italian-American, but her adoptive parents are. Snooki has spoken publicly about her adoption before, and she said that from what she knows she has quite a handful of siblings. She figures that her family probably couldn’t afford another kid, and has said she’d be willing to travel to Chile to meet them.

 Keegan-Michael Key Has A Lot Of Parents

 Keegan-Michael Key
Keegan Michael Key

Best known as one-half of the comedy duo Key and Peele, Keegan-Michael is also an accomplished actor. Keegan was the product of an affair and was eventually adopted by social workers. His adoptive parents eventually divorced, and after his adoptive father remarried, he also became close to his stepmother. At age twenty-five, Keegan also had a reunion with his birth mother which had a very powerful impact. In speaking about his family to comedian Pete Holmes on his podcast, Keegan explained that he has “a lot of parents.” The more the merrier!

Tim McGraw Made A Shocking Discovery

Tim McGraw
Grammys

Who knew Tim McGraw was adopted? We certainly didn’t! Though Tim was raised by his biological mother, it turns out he thought his stepfather was his real father. Tim’s biological father was actually a professional baseball player named Tug McGraw. Tim’s stepfather was the one who acted as his father figure most of his life, and Tim didn’t discover he wasn’t his real father until he saw his birth certificate when he was eleven. After Tim met his biological father, Tug, he denied being his father until Tim was eighteen. Fortunately, the two were able to eventually develop a relationship before Tug passed away.

Faith Hill Never Got The Full Story

Faith Hill
The Business Journals

Like her husband, Faith Hill was also adopted. Faith’s story is a little different, however. She was adopted by a couple who already had two sons and wanted a little girl. Faith was told by her adopted parents that her mom gave her up for adoption because she was the product of an affair with a married man. She eventually sought a relationship with her birth mother when she was in her twenties at which point she found out the story she’d been told wasn’t true. Her birth mother eventually married her biological father and had a son with him. Unfortunately, Faith’s birth mother died in 2007, so they didn’t have much time to get to know each other.

Ice-T Was Adopted By A Family Member

Ice-T
Variety

You may be surprised to know that rapper and family man Ice-T is adopted, but he’s actually spoken about it a few times. As with some of these other celebrities, Ice-T was adopted by a member of his biological family: his aunt. Unfortunately, his adoption story involves a great deal of tragedy. According to Popsugar, Ice-T lost his mother to a heart attack when he was eight years old. Only four years later, he lost his father the same way. After becoming an orphan at twelve, Ice-T was then adopted and raised by his aunt. He’s clearly overcome a great deal of tragedy in his life.

Kristin Chenoweth Says Her Adoption Was A Blessing

Kristin Chenoweth
Arts

You probably know actress Kristin Chenoweth from Glee, Pushing Daisies, or Wicked if you’re a musical fan. Popsugar reports that the Tony Award-winning singer and actress was adopted by a couple from Oklahoma when she was only five days old. Kristin has been pretty open about her adoption, and she even wrote an essay about it after the film Lion was released. Kristin knew about her adoption early on, so she’s never had any qualms about it, and she’s even said that; “being adopted was one of the best things to ever happen to me.” We’re pretty glad it all worked out for the best!

George Lopez Was Raised By His Grandparents

George Lopez
NorthJersey.com

Comedian George Lopez may be successful now, but he didn’t have the easiest childhood. When he was just two months old, George’s father left the family. Sadly at age ten, George’s mother also left. Fortunately, George’s grandmother was there to step in. She and her husband (George’s step-grandfather) adopted George and raised him in Los Angeles. George hasn’t spoken much about his adoption publicly, but we imagine that just like Jamie Foxx, he’s grateful his grandparents were willing to step up.

Jenna Ushkowitz’s International Adoption Story Was A Positive Experience

Jenna Ushkowitz
Billboard

Actress Jenna Ushkowitz is best known for her role as Tina Cohen-Chang on Glee. The actress, who was born in South Korea, was adopted at three months old by a family in New York. Fortunately, Jenna seems to have a pretty positive outlook on her adoption. She told The Strait Times that she “felt a strong sense of belonging in her adopted family.” Jenna also contributed an essay about her adoption story to the fifth installment of Melanie Lee’s Adventures of  Squirky series, Seventeen reports. International adoptions can be especially challenging, so it’s certainly a relief that Jenna is happy about her experience.

Steve Jobs Was Best Friends With His Biological Sister

Steve Jobs
Getty

As you may know, Apple founder Steve Jobs’ father was a Syrian immigrant. Because his parents were unmarried and his mom’s parents didn’t approve of the relationship, he was given up for adoption. Steve’s mother even secretly traveled to San Francisco to give birth to him. He was then adopted by the couple he was raised by. Steve’s biological parents eventually married and had a daughter just a few years after giving him up for adoption. Steve eventually became close to his biological sister and once called her “one of [his] best friends” in an interview with the New York Times. 

Gary Coleman Was Estranged From His Adoptive Parents When He Died

Gary Coleman
CNN

Unfortunately, adoption does not always have a happy ending. For Different Strokes actor Gary Coleman, it seems things could have gone better. Gary was adopted only a day after his birth, despite not finding out until later in life. His adoptive parents have been accused of being “stage parents” and it seems that contributed to their estrangement from Gary at the time of his death, Zimbio reports. At one point in his life, Gary even sued his parents for mismanaging his money. They, unfortunately, did not get a chance to make amends before he died.

Michael Bay Still Isn’t Sure Who Is Birth Father Is

Michael Bay
Jim Smeal / Shutterstock

Director of the Transformers franchise Michael Bay was adopted by a Los Angeles family when he was just a baby. Michael spent many years searching for his birth mother (and eventually found her), but he isn’t sure who his biological father is. For a time, there was suspicion that it was Hollywood director John Frankenheimer. John even admitted to having an affair with Michael’s mother, but Variety reported that a DNA test eventually disproved this theory. Still, how odd would it have been if Michael’s biological father had also been a Hollywood director?!

Andy Dick Has A Great Relationship With His Birth Mother

Andy Dick
The Source

Comedian and 2 Broke Girls star Andy Dick went in search of his birth mother after his adoptive parents died. Andy got to meet his birth mother, and even says that they have a “great relationship.” He got to learn more about the details of his conception from her as well. She was only sixteen when she had him, and she confessed she had a one-night stand with Andy’s father. She was apparently sent away to have the baby and returned home after giving birth, according to the story Andy told Hollywood News.

Ray Liotta’s Adoption Inspired One Of His Films

Ray Liotta
Business Insider

Best known for his roles in Goodfellas and Hannibalactor Ray Liotta found out pretty late in life that he had seven siblings he didn’t know about. He told The Hollywood Reporter; “I found my birth mother and found out I have, not an identical twin, but a half brother, five half sisters and a full sister that I didn’t know about until 15 years ago.” Ray filmed The Identical, a story about twin brothers separated during the Great Depression, in honor of his adoption story. Ray also mentioned that upon meeting his birth mother, he came to understand why she made the decision to give him up for adoption.

iHeart.com, Cnn, Mom.me, Seventeen, Zimbio, KoreAm, ZimbioNew York Times, Insider, APlus, Popsugar, HowStuffWorks, Title Mag,  Life, 

 

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