The world of the creative arts has long been one of the primary bastions for lesbian and gay individuals. Being gay was more acceptable within this environment than it was in general society and it continues to remain that way still. There are numerous celebrities, from actors to writers, musicians to comedians, and more who have at least one gay parent.
This doesn’t mean there should be anything held against anyone, whether or not they have a gay parent or not. It’s interesting in that there continues to be a great deal of debate today about whether or not children of gay parents can be raised to be open minded, well adjusted, and solid members of society. While some of the names on this list may raise some eyebrows in that regard, most will agree the majority of them are highly talented individuals whose parents did a great job raising them.
Some of the celebrities on this list are also gay. It’s interesting to see the kind of environment some of these celebrities grew up in.
20. Rebecca Walker
Rebecca Walker, an accomplished author, actor, and writer is openly bisexual and she was raised by a gay parent. Her mother, Alice Walker, who wrote The Color Purple is also openly gay. Rebecca’s mother once reportedly had a relationship with the iconic folk musician Tracy Chapman. The 46-year-old author continues to thrive in her creative career and has a son. It was not clear whether or not Rebecca is raising him with his father or someone else.
19. Alison Bechdel
It’s difficult to not realize, once you meet Alison Bechdel, that’s she’s gay. She does not give off a very feminine appearance, which thick glasses, short cropped hair, and dresses in somewhat gender neutral attire. The cartoonist also openly admits that her father is gay, a subject she has explored in graphic novels like her memoire Fun Home. Bechdel is best known to many as the creator of the long-running cartoon strip Dykes to Watch Out For.
18. Joe Valentine
Major League Baseball player Joe Valentine isn’t shy about talking about his gay mother and how he was raised by her and her partner, Doreen Price. Joe didn’t know his father while he was growing up and when talking about professional athletes, it apparently isn’t necessary to have that presence in one’s life, at least as long as they have a strong parental figure. He once said during an interview, about his mother and her partner, “It’s no different than having a mother and father. These are the two women who raised me, and they are wonderful people. It’s just not a big deal to me. Why should it be?”
17. Nicole Bobek
U.S. figure skater Nicole Bobek was once one of the dominant forces on the ice, bringing crowds to their feet after her performances, and she is one of the millions of people all around the world who never knew their father. Nicole was raised by her mother and a friend of her mother’s, a woman named Joyce Barron. There isn’t a great deal of information about Nicole and since she didn’t actually get to know her father, her mother is reported to have been a lesbian, though that isn’t clarified.
16. Ana Lynch
Ana Lynch has become a successful singer with Scissor Sisters and while the 41-year-old continues to write and perform all over the world, it was made clear that her father had also been gay. It’s unclear whether this was common knowledge while she was growing up, but her father died of AIDS-related complications when Ana was just a teenager. She hasn’t spoken much about this situation, though some of her lyrics suggest that it was tough losing him at a young age, but it’s unclear how his being gay might have impacted her life overall.
15. Daniela Sea
The 38-year-old actor has made a name for herself in Hollywood circles thanks to her work on The L Word, a program that revolves around the lesbian community. She has not been shy about letting the world know that she’s gay, but it has also been revealed that her father also came out as gay when she was quite young. She continues to act and perform as a musician and is outspoken about the rights of the LGBT community throughout the U.S. and around the world.
14. O.J. Simpson
O.J. Simpson may be serving time in prison for stealing items that he claimed once belonged to him, and many people still believe that he murdered his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, but the legendary football star was also raised by a gay parent. His father, Jimmy Lee Simpson was a drag queen living in San Francisco when O.J. was growing up. His father died of AIDS-related complications in 1986 and it’s unclear whether this particular lifestyle had any influence or impact on O.J.’s life.
13. Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro is considered by many to be one of the greatest actors of all time, and he was born to a man who was gay. His mother and father divorced in 1946, but because of the time period, De Niro Sr. had a difficult time coming to terms with being gay. It wasn’t accepted during that period of time and even though he was an artist –a place where the LGBT community is more widely accepted – things were much different then. Robert De Niro has spoken about the challenges his father endured living as a gay man during this time period. He can become emotional when discussing the topic.
12. Natasha Richardson
Natasha Richardson may have been most well known as having been married to actor Liam Neeson at the time of her fatal skiing accident, but she also had a parent who was gay. Her father, Tony Richardson was long reported to be bisexual. This didn’t seem to negatively impact Natasha or her sibling Joely and she often spoke fondly of her life, including her childhood. Her mother, Vanessa Redgrave, also reportedly had a gay parent.
11. 50 Cent
50 Cent, also known as Curtis James Jackson III, has long had quite an attitude toward gays. He has often referred to his mother as a drug addict and a lesbian. She died when he was only 8 years old, but he repeatedly would talk about how he never saw her with a man. He lived with his grandparents after his mother passed away, and even though he has been quite critical of gays, there are signs that he is coming around as he has shown support for Frank Ocean, a close friend who has also come out and admitted that he is gay.
10. Judy Garland
When Judy Garland was still young, before The Wizard of Oz, her father moved the entire family from Minnesota to California as the result of what, at the time, was considered a major sordid sex scandal. Her father apparently made advances to a number of male ushers at a theater, prompting their move and potentially even the launching of Judy Garland’s career.
Judy Garland is often considered an icon for the gay community because she had so many fans who were gay and it is was thought that her husband, Vincent Minnelli, with whom they had Liza Minnelli, was gay. Judy Garland took her own life after long bouts of depression, and it’s not clear how her relationship with Vincent may have played into that.
9. Amy Adams
Amy Adams has seen her career take off in recent years, with some great roles in major blockbuster movies. It’s a bit different from the small parts she had on a number of television programs, such as The West Wing. She also has a parent who is gay. She grew up in a Mormon household but eventually her mother divorced her father and got into bodybuilding for her career. Eventually her mother was seen dating another woman and it became clear why the marriage fell apart. Her mother attended an award ceremony with Amy and was more than willing to share how proud she was of her daughter.
8. Anne Heche
Anne Heche is no stranger to headlines, or controversy. When she came out and was dating Ellen DeGeneres, it was all over the tabloids. While her relationship to Ellen didn’t last, she is married to Portia de Rossi. Her father was bisexual, and Anne has reported that he sexually assaulted her from the time she was an infant until she was 12 years old. He died when she was 13 of AIDS and when she learned he had this sexually transmitted disease, she feared for her life. Her brother died 3 months after their father in a car crash that Anne claims was suicide.
7. Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave is considered by many to be a world class actress, and when she married Tony Richardson, they had two children together, Natasha and Joely. It turned out that Tony Richardson was gay and even though the director passed away in 1991 at the age of 63, it was only after revelations that he had HIV that he admitted he was bisexual. This wasn’t the only time Vanessa Redgrave was exposed to a gay member of her family as her father, Michael Redgrave, was also bisexual.
6. Jodie Foster
It was long rumored that Jodie Foster was gay and even though she never admitted it before 2013 when she received a lifetime achievement award, she eventually went on to marry her girlfriend, photographer and director Alexandra Hedison. It was also rumored that her mother was gay. Jodie was raised by her mother and her mother’s girlfriend, whom she referred to as her aunt. Jodie seems to keep her personal life as personal as she can and continues to take on roles that leave audiences in awe, and her upbringing doesn’t seem to have slowed her down at all.
5. Dorothy Dandridge
Dorothy Dandridge was one of the iconic actors, singers, and pin-up girls for the first part of the 20th century, not so much for her body of work, but because she was an African American making a name within the general mainstream world of celebrities. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio and it was no secret to those who knew her and her family that her mother was a lesbian. Dorothy died in 1965 of a drug overdose, but she will always be a woman who was raised by a gay parent. Her mother was in a relationship with Geneva Williams.
4. Jena Malone
Jena Malone may be ‘catching fire’ in her career thanks to her starring role in the Hunger Games movies, but she was also raised by a gay parent, and she hasn’t been shy about announcing it to the world. She says that growing up with two mothers in the house was a great thing. She says people like their mother more than their father anyway, and that she had two of them so she was a winner all the way around. She is close to her mother, her mother’s girlfriend, and her father still and the foundation they laid for her life helped her pursue life to the fullest.
3. Liza Minnelli
Liza Minnelli grew up under the glare of stardom and became a talented and accomplished actor and singer in her own right. Living under the shadow or her mother Judy Garland, things might not have been easy, and it may not have been easier because her father was long rumored to be gay. A biography on her father’s life alleged that he was openly gay in New York, but when they moved to Los Angeles, he hid that part of him. Liza hasn’t expressed too much about life growing up with that kind of father or upbringing, but she has done well in her life and career.
2. Ally Sheedy
Many young men who grew up during the 1980s likely had some type of crush on Ally Sheedy. She was part of what had then been referred to as the Brat Pack and starred in St. Elmo’s Fire, Short Circuit, and War Games, but she also had a gay parent. When she was just 9 years old, her parents divorced. That was in 1971. Her mother came out during the 1980s while working as a literary agent in New York City. Ally’s daughter, Rebecca, recently came out as being a lesbian as well. She made that announcement in 2010.
1. Rene Russo
Rene Russo has played a wide range of characters in movies through the years, but she admits that her mother raising her, along with her mother’s girlfriend, helped give her the confidence to overcome some serious issues in her life. Her father left her mother when she was born and that could have made things very difficult. When Rene was 10 she was diagnosed with scoliosis and having the loving and nurturing support of those two women helped provide a strong foundation for the rest of her life.