As difficult as it is to be a parent, it can only be even more difficult when tackling it as a teenager. Whether teenage parents are facing the pregnancy alone and without the support of their families or whether they are married and in stable relationships, teenage pregnancies can be riskier than other pregnancies. Other than the social stigmas associated with teenage parents, they must worry about additional medical concerns. A young birth mother often results in a baby with a low birth weight, premature labour, anemia and pre-eclampsia. According to a study in the US in 2005, 57% of teenage pregnancies resulted in birth, 27% in abortion and 16% in miscarriage. 2010 saw a historic low number for teenage births: 34 births per 1000 women for mother between the ages of 15 and 19. Aside from the medical concerns, a teenage parent is less likely to continue their studies, affecting their future career choices and pay range. Celebrities are also vulnerable and some become teenage parents. Although celebrity teenage parents would of course be able to afford nannies and extra help, they are also under much scrutiny from the public for their choices. Some go on to be spokespeople to help other teenagers make better decisions while others simply try to make the best of their situation. Here is a list of 10 celebrities who were teen parents:
9 Bristol Palin
Bristol Palin is famous for being the daughter of Sarah Palin, the Republican candidate for Vice President during the 2008 Presidential election as well as the 9th governor of Alaska. Bristol and her boyfriend Levi Johnston welcomed their child Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnson in December 2008 when Palin was 18 years old. The couple said they intended to marry even if they did not have a child together but broke off their engagement in November 2009. The pair got engaged a second time but the engagement lasted only 3 weeks. Since the baby’s birth, Bristol has been an advocate for sexual abstinence and became a paid speaker on teen pregnancy. At the age of 18, she became a Teen pregnancy Prevention Ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation and was paid an estimated $262,000 for her work with the foundation. She has also written a memoir and has her own reality show, Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp. She also appeared as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars in 2010 where she came in third place and returned in 2012 but left early on in the competition.
8 Jamie Lynn Spears
Jamie Lynn Spears is a name that comes up quickly when discussing celebrity teen pregnancies. She is famous for becoming pregnant at the age of 16. She was the star of her own TV show Zoey 101.
Only 2 years later, her career was on hiatus because she became pregnant. She said she was embarrassed to go to the doctor and ask for birth control because she was a star of a children’s show. The father of the baby, Casey Aldridge, was her first boyfriend. They welcomed their daughter Maddie Brian Aldridge in June of 2008. Although the young couple tried to make their relationship work, it ended in 2010. She is now married to businessman Jamie Watson. They wed on March 14, 2014 in New Orleans. She says that she can now relate to her older sister Britney much more now that they are both mothers, despite their ten year age difference.
7 Lil Wayne
The American rapper who joined Cash Money Records as the youngest member of the label was also a young father. Lil Wayne was only 15 when his 14 year old girlfriend at the time, Antonia “Toya” Jackson became pregnant. The two were high school sweethearts and welcomed their daughter Reginae Carter into the world when Lil Wayne was only 16 years old. The pair got married 5 years after the birth of their daughter on Valentine’s Day but divorced after only 2 years. Lil Wayne went on to have 3 more children, by different mothers.
6 Solange Knowles
Beyoncé’s talented younger sister became a teenage mother when she was only 18 years old. The singer, songwriter, actress and model married football player Daniel Smith in February 2004. She was 17 years old at the time of the wedding and he was only two years older. Solange gave birth to their son Daniel Juelz Smith Jr. in October 2004. They couple divorced in 2007 although they decided to still co-parent their child. Solange has expressed some regret at having a child so young in her life but said he was an unplanned blessing. She even wrote a song for him, “6 O’clock Blues”. She now lived in New Orleans with her son.
5 Anna Nicole Smith
Before fame found Anna Nicole Smith, she was just a hardworking teenage mother. At the age of 15, Smith dropped out of high school and began working in a restaurant where she met Billy Wayne Smith. They worked together at Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken and eventually decided to get married. She was 17 and he was 16. She gave birth to their son Daniel Wayne Smith in 1986, when she was only 17 years old. The couple separated in 1987. She went on to work at Walmart, Red Lobster and even as a stripper before an audition for Playboy caught her eye and changed her life.
4 Fantasia Barrino
The 3rd Season American Idol Singer famous for her winning song ‘Summertime’, Fantasia Barrino was a teenage mother before gracing stages with her sultry voice. She gave birth to her daughter Zion Quari Barrino when she was just 17 years old. The baby’s father was her ex-boyfriend Brandal Shouse. Barrino stated that she was raped by a classmate and felt harassed in class so she dropped out of high school. She went on to say that she was now functionally illiterate and could not even read children’s books to her daughter. She now has a second child, a son named Dallas Xavier Barrino.
3 Taylor Hanson
Family man and rockstar Taylor Hanson became a father when he was just 19. Taylor was a member of the band Hanson and the lead singer of the group Tinted Windows. He was introduced to his wife Natalie Bryant by one of the band’s roadies after a performance in Atlanta in 2000. The couple dated for 2 years and married in 2002. They welcomed their first child in 2002. Taylor Hanson and Natalie Bryant are now the parents of 5 children: Ezra, who was born in 2002, Penny, born in 2005, River, born in 2006, Viggo, born in 2008 and Willow, born in 2012.
2 Keisha Castle-Hughes
New Zealand born actress Keisha Castle-Hughes became famous for her nomination of an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Whale Rider. She was the youngest person to be nominated in that category at the time. In October of 2006, when she was only 16 years old, her boyfriend Bradley Hull and her announced that they were expecting a child together. Their daughter Felicity-Amore Hull was born in 2007, a month after her 17th birthday. The couple broke up in 2010 after 7 years together. She is now married to Jonathan Morrison.
1 Maya Angelou
Most famous for her first autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou is one of the world’s most famous poets. She has earned over 30 honorary doctoral degrees and has written 7 autobiographies, 3 books of essays and a multitude of books of poetry. As a child, she was sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend, Mr. Freeman, who was found dead 4 days after his release from jail for the crime. Maya Angelou was a teenage mother and gave birth to her son Guy Johnson 3 weeks after graduating from high school. Her mother Vivian supported her in raising the child and Maya knew she could always return home to her mother if she needed help.
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