Grandparents are usually associated with wrinkles, grey hair, and someone who has seen a lot in their life. Grandparents tell stories about what life was like in their day, and how the world changed as they grew older. Indeed, as we increasingly put off having kids until later in life, people are becoming grandparents at an increasingly older age.
In some parts outside of the Western world, however, childbearing begins sooner rather than later. When this pattern is repeated with each generation, people have the potential to become grandparents at a younger and younger age. In these cases, there’s a chance that a kid would be able to grab a beer with grandpa and the two could look close to the same age!
Here, we’ve compiled a list of the world’s youngest grandparents from celebrities to your average citizens. Obviously, all of these people started having kids early in life themselves, and their progeny followed suit.
15. NeNe Leakes – 44
At the age of 44, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” star NeNe Leakes became a grandmother after her son Bryson and his girlfriend, Ashley Hill gave birth to a daughter in 2012. Bryson kept the pregnancy a secret from his mother for fear of disappointing her by having a child out of wedlock.
Leakes was not ready to take on the role of “grandma” and insisted that she was to be called “Glam-ma” instead. Leakes spoke in several interviews about how she adores her granddaughter and has her with her whenever she is in Atlanta.
14. Sarah Palin – 44
In 2008, Sarah Palin was the governor of Alaska and was in the midst of her campaign for Vice President with front runner John McCain. At the time she was selected as the vice presidential candidate, McCain’s advisers were aware of the pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, and feared it would jeopardize their political success.
Bristol gave birth to a son at the age of 18. At the 2008 Republican National Convention the announcement was made that Bristol would be marrying the father of her child, Levi Johnston. Palin became a grandmother at the age of 44. Unfortunately, Bristol and Levi never saw the altar and broke off their engagement twice.
13. Priscilla Presley – 44
Priscilla Presley‘s first claim to fame was being married to Elvis Presley from 1967 to 1973. From that marriage, Presley gave birth to Lisa Marie in 1968 at the age of 23. Her marriage to the King of Rock ‘n Roll didn’t last, but Priscilla went on to have her own career and life while sharing custody of Lisa Marie.
Long after the death of her famous father, Lisa Marie gave birth to a daughter at the age of 21: Riley Keough was born in 1989. Before she qualified for the senior citizen’s discount, Priscilla took on the title of “grandma.”
12. Pierce Brosnan – 44
When Pierce Brosnan got married for the first time, his wife Cassandra Harris was twelve years older than him, and already had two children from a previous marriage. Brosnan adopted the two children, then Cassandra died tragically of ovarian cancer in 1991.
His adopted daughter, Charlotte, had a baby girl named Isabelle Sophia in 1998, making Brosnan a grandfather at the age of 44. Brosnan remarried in 2001 and had a son soon after, making Isabelle three years older than her uncle.
11. Kid Rock – 43
Kid Rock became a dad to Bobby Ritchie, Jr. at 21,with ex-girlfriend Kelly Russell. The singer-songwriter-rapper gained sole custody of Bobby when he was 7 years old and charged Kelly Russell $25 a week for child support.
Flash forward to 2014 and Kid Rock is expecting his first granddaughter at the age of 43. Bobby is going to become a dad with his girlfriend at the age of 21, seemingly following in his dad’s footsteps.
10. Joe Jackson – 42
The patriarch of the famous family started early in having children, resulting in six boys and three girls with his wife Katherine, whom he married in 1949. His eldest daughter, Rebbie, also started early in having children in her early twenties. In 1971, Joe Jackson became a grandfather at the age of 42.
This was right in the midst of the Jackson 5 success and Michael Jackson’s stardom. Given the controversy surrounding how he raised his children, especially how it affected Michael, Jackson’s parenting styles were often questioned. One can’t help but wonder if he was a better grandfather.
9. Brett Favre – 40
Brett Favre is best known as the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. He became known as the only grandfather in the NFL at the age of 40 when Favre’s 21-year old daughter, Brittany, gave birth to a son. Favre was only 19 when he and his then-girlfriend and current wife Deanna had Brittany.
The NFL reported that they weren’t aware of any of grandparents currently playing in the NFL.
8. Kiefer Sutherland – 39
Kiefer Sutherland, like Brosnan, became a grandpa by means of marriage. In 1987, when he was 21, he married Camelia Kath. Kath had a daughter named Michelle, who Sutherland raised since the age of eight.
Even after he and Kath divorced in 1990, Sutherland maintained a relationship with his step-daughter. In 2005, Michelle gave birth to a son at the age of 27. She was recently married. This earned Sutherland the title of grandpa before he turned 40. The “24” star couldn’t be more thrilled to take on the role.
7. Cee Lo Green – 35
Cee Lo Green announced to Chelsea Handler that he was a 35-year old grandfather in 2010. His 20-year old step-daughter, Sierra, had a baby boy. Green was glowing during the interview and seemed excited to be taking on the new role. Even though he was only married to Sierra’s mother, Christine Johnson, for about four years, Green has clearly stayed in the picture as stepfather and grandfather. Sierra was featured on the MTV show, “My Super Sweet 16” when she was 15 years old, but because the network took a liking to her, they made an exception.
6. Whoopi Goldberg – 34
Whoopi Goldberg became a grandmother when she was 34 years old. Goldberg did start early herself, becoming a mother at the age of seventeen with her first husband.
Her teenage daughter Alexandra Martin had a baby at the age of sixteen. What’s even crazier is that her granddaughter, Amarah Dean, recently had a baby, making Goldberg a great-grandmother before she hit the age of 60.
5. Shem Davies – 29
Shem Davies became a grandfather at the age of 29 when his 14 year old daughter, Tia, gave birth to a baby girl in 2011. Davies became a father to Tia when he was just 14 years old and his then-girlfriend Kelly John was 15.
Davies and his family made headlines when it became known just how young he was going to be when he took on the title of “grandpa” and the public was not pleased. Unfortunately, life hasn’t been easy for Shem, as The Daily Mail reported in 2012 that he was unemployed and an alcoholic.
4. Unnamed Killer – 27
A killer in prison became Britain’s youngest grandfather in 2014. The man’s identity has been kept anonymous to protect the identity of his underage daughter.
The man became a father at the young age of 14, and in a turn of events that shows that history repeats itself, his daughter became a mother at the age of 13. The premature grandfather has been in prison since his daughter was two years old, for knifing a bystander to death during a robbery.
3. Tam Gallacher – 27
Tam Gallacher is known as Scotland’s youngest grandparent, taking on the title at the age of 27. But it was his step-daughter, Sheryl, who became a mom at 19: Yes, Tam is only 8 years older than his step-daughter.
He met his wife, Yvonne, when she was 33, and he was 19. So, through the marriage, he became a part of the family. He considers Sheryl to be his daughter, and was excited over the news that she was pregnant. His first granddaughter, named Brogan, has her grandpa wrapped around her little finger, and he comments that he’s excited to be able to watch her grow up.
2. Rifca Stanescu – 23
Rifca Stanescu ran away from her Romanian family at 11 years old, having been placed in an arranged marriage that was set up when she was just 2 years of age. She ran away with her husband, who was 13 at the time. The two were married and then a year later, Rifca gave birth to her daughter, Maria, at the age of 12 (and made Rifca’s mother a grandmother at age 40).
Years later, Maria followed in her mother’s footsteps and at the age of 11, Maria gave birth to a son named Ion. Rifca made it clear that she wished for more for Maria, and urged her daughter to stay in school.
1. Mum-Zi – 17
This story comes from the 1800s, and it’s unclear whether it is legend or if it’s factual. Mum-Zi was from the island of Calabar, located in Nigeria. She became a mother at the young age of eight in 1884. Then, her daughter proceeded to give birth at the age of nine, which made Mum-Zi a grandmother at the ripe old age of 17, before most of us were able to vote, drink, or buy cigarettes.
Granted, learning about Mum-Zi’s story may be rather unbelievable, but in some parts of the world, getting married and having children as young as possible is customary. Unfortunately, children as young as five years old have been known to give birth.