In days past, adoption was done as secretly and quietly as possible. A process that was once considered frowned upon for couples who couldn’t conceive, adoption has come a long, long way from that Middle-Age notion. Today, adoption is embraced openly by birth parents, adoptive parents, the children, and the public. Many famous people have openly admitted to being adopted and they’re living proof that there is no shame in being raised by individuals who aren’t one’s biological parents.
Here’s a list of celebrities you may not have known are adopted.
12. Sarah McLachlan
Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and adopted as a newborn by an American couple. Noting her innate gift of song, her parents encouraged her to take singing lessons as well as classes in piano and guitar. With her beautiful singing voice, she was known in her school as someone who was destined to become a famous rock star someday.
11. Kristin Chenoweth
The tiny lady with a big voice. That’s how we know Kristin Chenoweth, who appeared in Broadway musical hits such as Wicked and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and TV shows, such as Glee, The West Wing, and Pushing Daisies. Kristin was adopted at five days old by a couple from Oklahoma and she was named Kristi Dawn Chenoweth.
10. Michael Bay
Michael Bay of Transformers and Pearl Harbor fame was adopted as a child in Los Angeles, California. Though he had a generally happy childhood with two loving adoptive parents, Michael wanted to know his origins, so he spent his early years in search of his biological parents. Though he was eventually able to discover who his birth mother was, he never found out the identity of his real father.
9. Ingrid Bergman
Hollywood screen legend Ingrid Bergman knew she was destined to be an actress, even though her father fervently hoped his daughter would become an opera singer. Ingrid’s mother died when she was three and her father passed on when she was thirteen, after which she was sent to live with an aunt.
8. Nicole Richie
Socialite Nicole Richie was once known as a shallow and spoiled rich kid who always just got into trouble. However, she has since cleaned up her act and is now married with two children. Nicole’s biological father was a musician and at one time played with music legend, Lionel Richie’s band. Since he and Nicole’s birth mother couldn’t provide for their daughter, they entrusted her to the care of Richie and his then wife Brenda Harvey. Richie and Harvey formally adopted Nicole when she was nine years old.
7. Faith Hill
Her real name is Audrey Faith Perry, but the public knows her as Faith Hill. The country music superstar was born in Mississippi and was adopted as an infant by a loving couple who already had two biological sons. They were devout Christian Baptists and raised their children in a strongly spiritual environment. Incidentally, Faith’s husband, Tim McGraw wasn’t raised by both biological parents either. He grew up with his mother and stepfather and up until the time he discovered who his biological father was, he carried his stepfather’s last name, Smith.
6. Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx is versatile as much as he is charming. The Academy Award winner was born in Texas and was handed over to his mother’s parents for adoption soon after his birth. His parents took no part in his upbringing and he attributes his accomplishments to his grandparents. A little trivia about Foxx: his birth mother was also adopted. So in effect, the ones who raised him are his adoptive grandparents.
5. John Lennon
Though not legally adopted, John Lennon may as well have been, based on who raised him. His father disappeared for six months after he was born and when he returned, John’s mother had already moved on to a new man and due to her inability to care for her son, entrusted him to the care of her older sister. Though he was in regular contact with his mother, it was John’s childless aunt and uncle who raised him as their own.
4. Marilyn Monroe
With such an ordinary name like Norma Jeane Baker, who would think that the woman behind it was the sultry and beautiful sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe? However, her troubled life as an adult, including her sudden and tragic death, were most likely a result of her sad beginnings. She was an illegitimate child who never knew her father and whose mother was mentally unstable, making her unfit to care for young Norma Jeane. She was bounced from one foster home to another, suffering abuse and molestation in several of these homes. When she was a sixteen-year-old high school student, she was persuaded to marry her sweetheart to prevent her from being transferred to yet another foster family.
3. Bill Clinton
There were two U.S. presidents who were adopted as children. One was Gerald Ford and the other, more recent president was Bill Clinton. Born William Jefferson Blythe III in Arkansas, Bill’s father passed away even before he was born. His mother left him in the care of her parents while she went away to study nursing in New Orleans. She eventually came back and married Roger Clinton, Sr., who raised Bill as his own. Bill eventually took on his stepfather’s surname when he was fifteen years old.
2. Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson’s family history is as colorful as the movies he’s appeared in. Born in New Jersey, he had a fairly normal family life, living with two parents and an older sister. It wasn’t until many years later that he found out that his parents were actually his grandparents and his older sister was actually his mother, who had him when she was only sixteen years old! Jack’s grandparents decided to raise him as their own, so that their daughter could pursue her dream of becoming a dancer and also because Jack’s father was a big question mark. His mother allegedly didn’t actually know who Jack’s real father was.
1. Steve Jobs
The late Steve Jobs would always rebuff anyone who referred to his parents as his “adoptive parents.” Though he knew who his biological parents were, he emphasized that Paul and Clara Jobs “were my parents 1,000%.” Clara Jobs was unable to bear children and so they adopted Steve from his biological parents, who had to give him up as a baby because his biological mother’s family didn’t approve of her relationship with his biological father, a Syrian-born Muslim.