Celebrities turn to adoption for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes they have, like Hugh Jackman or Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, undergone unsuccessful fertility treatments and finally turn to adoption as a last resort. Sometimes, as in the case of stars like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie or Mia Farrow, they seem to dote on large families and produce offspring and adopt more (quite often from abroad). Sometimes, they are single moms, like Charlize Theron, who turn to adoption as a way of having a family without necessarily having a man in their lives. And some same sex couples, like Rosie O’Donnell and Michelle Round, have adopted children.
Usually, the adoption is completed without fuss or fanfare. But, celebrity adoptions can be controversial. Sandra Bullock was criticized for adopting a black baby. And when Charlize Theron adopted a South African baby, a U.S. judge landed in hot water for leaking the details before Theron went public. And same sex adoptive parents like Rosie O’Donnell and Michelle Rounds, face criticism from some quarters.
These 10 celebrities have famously and publicly adopted children.
You can sometimes spot the 45 year old Aussie star of X-Men: Days of Future Past and his children Oscar and Ava happily scooting down the streets of New York alongside their French Bulldog Dali. Oscar and Ava were adopted by the hunky actor and his Aussie actress wife Debra-Lee Furness after they had been through the heartbreak of miscarriages in the wake of unsuccessful fertility treatments. Hugh and Debra-Lee, who is a familiar face on Australian TV and is 13 years older than Jackman, have been honest about the heartbreak they suffered over the miscarriages. When they adopted, Jackman and Furness insisted on bi-racial children, saying they were too often overlooked.
9. Sandra Bullock
When in 2010 the star of Gravity adopted her son Louis from New Orleans Louisiana, there was a lot of cute pictures of the two of them. But there was also a fair amount of criticism, implied and otherwise. At the time, Bullock’s husband Jesse James was proving an intense embarrassment to the actress when stories of his affairs hit the media. He was also famously pictured in a Nazi helmet, apparently giving the Nazi straight armed salute.
The reason for the citicism? Louis is African American. Clutch, a magazine for African American women, came out and said that Bullock adopted a black child to counter the negative publicity engendered by James. Unkind rumors spread that Bullock was merely mirroring her role in The Blind Side, the story of a wealthy white family that adopts a struggling African American football player. By the time Bullock finalized the adoption, she did so as a single parent, having decided to ditch James via a very well publicized divorce. The rumor mill has it that Bullock wants to adopt a second baby.
8. Emma Thompson
Tindy, Emma Thompson’s adopted son, fled Rwanda to escape being forced to be a child soldier in the civil war and was a refugee in the U.K. when Thompson came into his life. Thompson, the Oscar nominated actress from Saving Mr. Banks and her partner Greg Wise had one daughter Gaia, born as result of Invetro Fertilization (IVF) when Thompson was 39. Both Thompson and Wise have been honest about the depression and heartbreak they suffered when more IVF treatment proved unsuccessful. Thompson turned her attention to doing good in Africa, working with AIDS charities. The association with Africa led her to the 16 year old orphan and refugee and resulted in Wise and Thompson adopting him. Tindy became a British citizen in 2009 and works as a human rights lawyer.
7. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman
Both Nicole Kidman and her adopted children Bella and Connor have seen fit to deny rumors that they are estranged. When Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman married in 1990, Kidman was hell bent on having children. They lost a baby early on. So they adopted Isabella (Bella) in 1993 and Connor in 1995. When the couple divorced in the glare of intense media speculation, they agreed to joint custody. But Bella and Connor had different ideas and chose to live with Cruise in Los Angeles. Controversially, Cruise raised the two in his Scientology faith, leading some to say that Nicole was not best pleased. Connor has a budding acting career, having appeared in two movies, including Red Dawn (2012). Bella keeps a pretty low profile. Kidman has revealed that it annoys her that they call her “Nicole” and not “Mom”.
6. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Apparently, the star of Maleficent came up with the sexy, but evil witch’s voice while giving her kids a bath. It must have been a big tub. It’s hard to keep up with Brangelina’s family pursuits. Is it six or seven? Is Angie pregnant again? Rumors swirl around the world’s leading power couple, making it difficult to sort the truth from fabrication. As of Spring/Summer 2014, she may or may not be pregnant again and Brangelina may or may not be considering adopting again. And the count of children stands at six. Shiloh (born in 2006), Knox and Vivienne (twins born in France in 2008) are Jolie-Pitt’s biological children. The first pictures of Knox and Vivienne stirred some controversy and hold the record for the most expensive baby pictures ever sold. The $14 million coughed up by People and Hello! was donated to the Jolie-Pitt foundation. The other three children, two sons (Maddox and Pax) and a daughter (Zahara) were adopted from Cambodia, Ethiopia and Vietnam.
5. Steven Spielberg
Theo Spielberg, movie mogul Steven Spielberg’s adopted son, plays guitar and sister Sasha sings in the indie folk group Wardell. They are doing well. The group, managed by Jay Z’s agency, Roc Nation, was the subject of a New York Times article with the headline “Forget the Dad; Just Listen to Them.” Theo’s adoptive mom, actress Kate Capshaw, and Spielberg began a relationship when the director cast Capshaw as Willie Scott, Indie’s comic love interest, in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). After the couple married, Spielberg adopted Theo.
4. Charlize Theron
Arkansas Judge Mike Maggio was embarrassed, humiliated even, when it was revealed he had unethically leaked details online of Theron’s 2013 adoption of a black South African baby three months before she broke the news to the world. Even worse, he made insulting racial comments. It took the South African actress two years to complete the adoption of Jackson. Even Theron’s wary rescue dogs fell in love with the baby from day one. She told Ellen that when Jackson cried, her Pit Bull, Blue, cried too.
The Scottish star of A Million Ways to Die in the West is notoriously protective of his private life. He has gone to court in the U.K. to stop publication of pictures of his children on vacation in Mauritius. He and his wife Eve Mavrakis have four daughters. Two are their biological children and two, Jamilym and Anouk, are adopted. A proud husband and father, McGregor has a heart and dagger tattoo with the names of his wife and daughters on his forearm. Ever the honest, plain spoken man, McGregor says that parenting and playing with children can be “boring”.
2. Rosie O’Donnell
18 year old Parker O’Donnell, the son Rosie adopted on her own in 1995, doesn’t have any pictures of his famous mom on his Facebook page. A student at Valley ForgeMilitaryAcademy, Parker’s Facebook photo shows him in uniform standing beside a pretty blonde girl. Reportedly, Rosie wasn’t crazy about the idea of a military school and it took some persuading to get her to let him attend. In 2001, Rosie attracted her customary controversy when she and her then girlfriend, living in Florida, took in a foster child and announced their intention to adopt her. The State of Florida was not amused by the prospect of same sex family adoption and in 2001 they summarily removed four year old Mia. With very little fanfare or fuss, O’Donnell and her wife Michelle Rounds adopted daughter Dakota in 2013. Rosie happily tweeted the birth announcement.
1. Kirstie Alley
When in 2010 True Parkerson, Alley’s adoptive son with actor Parker Stevenson, married his high school sweetheart while he was still in high school, mom defended the move on Ellen. Kirstie Alley’s life has had its ups and downs. Marriage, divorce, yo-yo weight, an almost win on Dancing with the Stars. But the one, rather two, constants in her life are her adopted kids, William True and Lillie Price. Alley herself says that one of her saving graces is that she is a good mother. And she proudly says that her kids are mainstays of her life and very protective of her. Both the kids were on Alley’s reality show, Kirstie Alley’s Big Life.