Being a parent is tough, but trying to do it alone is even more difficult. A child requires attention nearly every hour of the day and every day of the week, so it's obvious that being able to tag team the daunting task of raising a productive member of society would be an ideal alternative to attempting it solo. However, strong and determined souls do it every single day and have been doing it for as long as history can remember. Sometimes, the reasons are circumstantial, and other times, the path of being a single parent is chosen purposefully. Celebrities are by no means exempted from marital troubles. In fact, you could make the argument that they succumb to many more than the average citizen.
There are many A-listers out there that are doing the best they can to turn their toddlers into independent young men and women all by themselves. While we are all well aware that there are plenty of single celeb dads in the world, I thought it would be best, in the spirit of celebrating moms, to talk about and celebrate the many single moms of Hollywood.
17 Halle Berry
If you need a boost today, remember that Halle Berry has had three failed marriages on top of numerous messy breakups, so don't let the small stuff get you down. Berry and then-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry gave birth to their daughter in 2008 only to split two years later. The couple tried co-parenting, but Berry threw a wrench in the gears when she tried moving to France to be with her new man, Olivier Martinez.
Aubry took the matter to court where a judge denied Berry's request as it violated their custody agreement.
The drama didn't stop there. Aubry was involved in a nasty physical altercation with Martinez later that year that left him battered, bruised, and had both parties seeking restraining orders. These days, Berry has said sayonara to Martinez and is going the parenting route alone.
16 Liv Tyler
Liv split from musician Royston Langdon in 2008 after five years of marriage. The couple had one child together, their son Milo, who was born in 2004. When their marriage ended, Tyler was open about how devastating the breakup was for her and how she needed to take time away from the dating scene to basically spend time in mourning. Her ability to be patient paid off, and a few short years later, she met her current partner, David Gardner, with whom she has two more children.
"My favorite thing about being a parent is that I learn so much from the push-and-pull dynamic of mother and child,"
Tyler said. “Having children, I learned about my own strength.”
15 Britney Spears
Britney's marital woes have been no secret. And after her highly-publicized breakup with Kevin Federline in 2007, she let the public see what rock bottom looked like through a paparazzo's camera lens. She lost custody of their two children, Sean Preston and Jayden James. Luckily for Brit, she double-downed on herself and was able to clean up her act. She scored a residency in Las Vegas and is now out and about with her boys just as much as she is working.
"My kids come first, always," Spears said.
"There is nothing more rewarding than being a mom and watching my sons grow into young men."
The always outdoorsy and pleasantly folksy Jewel has been in the public eye since the late 1990's when she broke into the music industry with her hit song "Who Will Save Your Soul" and has spent the past twenty years bouncing in and out of our lives. In classic country girl fashion, she fell in love with rodeo cowboy Ty Murray and made an honest man out of him ten years later. However, the marriage ended only six years in, forcing the two former lovers to agree on co-parenting. The four-time Grammy nominee has no qualms or holdups when it comes to the situation and just wants the best for her little boy, telling People Magazine, "I tell my son that he doesn’t belong to me — he belongs to himself, and I’m here to mentor him and that I’m in charge right now, but that he’ll be his own person one day."
13 Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock has had a handful of attention-grabbing relationships in the past, but none were more devastating to watch crumble than her marriage to television personality and grease monkey Jesse James. The two met in 2005 when Bullock arranged for her godson to meet James as a Christmas present and were engaged later that year. For the next five years, the two lived in complete bliss and even made arrangements to adopt a young boy from New Orleans. But while Bullock was making her rounds doing press for The Blind Side, rumors started swirling that James had been cheating on her multiple times. He finally came out and admitted his wrongdoings and Bullock served him a stack of divorce papers,
but she still went through with the adoption.
How can you tell she's doing a fantastic job as a mom? She adopted a second child five years later. This time, a three-year-old girl.
12 Denise Richards
The career and love life of Denise Richards both began with a lot of lighthearted fun and ended with bombs. Richards met future husband Charlie Sheen all the way back in 1991, but the two didn't head to the altar for ten more years. Richards gave birth to their first daughter, Sam, in 2004, but when she was pregnant with their second daughter, Lola Rose, the following year, she filed for divorce against the Two and a Half Men star. Since then, their relationship has been rocky, to say the least. They tried marriage counseling, and when that didn't work, they got themselves in a full-blown custody war over the course of the next six years that
resulted in Richards not only being awarded full custody of their two daughters but also custody of Sheen's twin sons he had with his next wife
(giving them up due to an Adderall addiction). She ALSO chose to adopt a daughter amongst the chaos in 2011, making Denise Richards one of the most determined mothers on this side of planet earth.
11 Michelle Williams
If the little button nose on Michelle Williams' daughter looks familiar, it's because it's the spitting image of her late father, Heath Ledger. Williams met Ledger in 2004 while working on the movie Brokeback Mountain and started a three-year relationship with the actor. They lived together in Brooklyn, New York and had a child together. After the breakup, Ledger famously died from a combined drug intoxication after which Williams was forced to dodge the paparazzi left and right. She still resides in Brooklyn, and although she's tried dating again (most notably a brief relationship with director Spike Jonze), she's mostly remained single and proud that "the spirit of her Heath is surviving in her daughter."
10 Padma Lakshmi
Talk about a mom who can get a lot done in a day. Padma is an author, a model, an actress, and most notably, the host of television's Top Chef. She also suffers from endometriosis, a condition in which the layer of the tissue that normally covers the inside of the uterus grows outside of it. She runs a foundation that raises money for the condition. Needless to say, Lakshmi is a busy woman, but when she added "single mother" to her list of duties in 2010 when her daughter, Krishna, was born, the role took precedence over any other task, and she was happy to accept the job.
"It's the only way of life I've known," she said.
"I was raised by a single mom. I was told I couldn't have children, so every day I am kissing the sky with happiness about it."
9 Minnie Driver
Minnie Driver became Hollywood's English darling in the mid to late 90's when she starred in movies like Sleepers and Good Will Hunting. In 2008, Driver gave birth to her only child, her son Henry, with a man whose name she chose to withhold from the press for years until finally admitting to a brief relationship with television writer and producer Timothy J. Lea. "He's not famous. There's no big story," Driver told The Daily Mail back in 2012. While admitting
she does wish Henry's father would take a more active role in his life, she seems to have a decent handle on being a single mom
but isn't quick to double up on mommy duties, saying, "I couldn't do another one without a partner; I couldn't do two as a single mum, I really couldn't. It would be too much."
8 Kate Moss
Kate Moss isn't exactly known for her work as a single mother. Her reputation from the 90's as a party girl supersedes any and all additional headlines the supermodel may earn, but rest assured that Moss is out there right now raising a 16-year-old girl all by herself. Moss gave birth to her only daughter, Lila Grace, with Dazed founder and editor Jefferson Hack in 2002. And although the two have since parted ways, Hack remains in his daughter's life. However,
it's Moss who has taken the lead on raising Lila, and she's not taking any chances in allowing her daughter to fall into her mother's troublesome ways.
Moss has taken a very strict approach to parenting. "You’ve got to get a look down," she says, "Girls, you have to scare them. Otherwise, they will take over."
7 Malin Akerman
Malin Akerman is most known for her role as Laurie Jupiter in 2009's Watchmen, but before she made the switch to the silver screen, she was an avid singer-songwriter. For years, she was the lead singer of a band called The Pedalstones, which was how she met Roberto Zincone, the band's drummer. The two fell in love, married in 2007, and had a son, Sebastian, in 2013. However, the stress of parenthood may have taken a toll on their relationship as Zincone filed for divorce later that year.
While the split shook her, Akerman has a bright outlook on the future ahead of her and Sebastian.
"You can’t control life," she said and then added, "I roll with the punches. And ultimately, it’s like, ‘Where is the opportunity in this?’ And that’s been a nice way to look at it. Like, oh my God, I get to have so much special time with my son now."
6 Kate Hudson
It's no secret that Kate Hudson has a thing for lead singers. In 2000, she married The Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson, and four years later, she gave birth to their son, Ryder. One would imagine that the schedules of an A-list actress and a successful musician would be hectic, but the couple made it work and frequently traveled together as a family during movie productions and touring. However, by 2006, "irreconcilable differences" took their toll, and the couple parted ways. Fast-forward to 2011 and Hudson is giving birth to her second son, Bingham, with Muse frontman Matt Bellamy. Although the two were briefly engaged, they decided their relationship was better left as just friends and decided to co-parent their son. And
while she has a support team ready, being a mom can be tough and Hudson isn't afraid to admit that.
"I don't try to sugarcoat things," she confesses to Marie Claire. "I'll say, 'I'm doing the best I can.'"
5 Mary Louise Parker
Mary-Louise Parker has had quite the career to date. Aside from starring in countless movies and television shows (including the lead role in Showtime's long-running Weeds), she's also an accomplished writer with numerous articles and a well-received memoir under her belt. She's also a mother of two. Her first child, William, was born in 2004 after his father, actor Billy Crudup, left Parker for Claire Danes while she was seven months pregnant.
Never one to let tough times get her down, Parker took to motherhood like a fish to water and even adopted a little girl from Ethiopia in 2007.
“There are moments in life when we’re victimized,” she said in a 2015 interview, "...but for me, it’s about using your troubles for perspective and then for momentum."
4 January Jones
January Jones gave birth to her son, Xander, in 2011. And although she's stated that she has no regrets about being a single mom at the age of 33, she has still yet to reveal the name of Xander's father. The actress seems to enjoy the support of women and only allowed females in the room during Xander's 30-hour-long birth. "My younger sisters and my mom and my doula were in the room; my brother-in-law and my dad were next door. I only wanted women with me. Female energy," she told E!.
In regards to raising a son solo, Jones had only happiness and humor to divulge,
stating how she adored being a mother but it putting a damper on her s*x life. "Because you can’t bring someone home when your kid’s coming into the room."
3 Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow has been pumping out hits for over twenty years at this point, and while a few highly-publicized relationships (most notably with Owen Wilson and then Lance Armstrong) briefly dragged her name away from music, she has always been able to bounce back quickly. Crow was even diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and managed to beat it after seven weeks of radiation therapy. The following year is when she decided to become a mother and adopted a two-week-old boy named Wyatt and then adopted her second son, Levi, three years later. “Adopting my boys — that’s just been the biggest everlasting event that has informed everything,” the singer said and then added, “...and really for the better.”
2 Katie Holmes
Everyone knows the story of Katie Holmes' tumultuous relationship with Tom Cruise. The couple fell madly in love in 2005 and married later that year after only seven weeks of dating. One year later, their daughter, Suri, was born. Then, five years after that, Holmes filed for divorce after fearing threats from the Church of Scientology and having reason to believe that Cruise was planning to abduct Suri. Once the dust settled, Holmes was able to find a support system through friends and family and admits raising a child alone is difficult.
“I think we all need to just ease up,”
she told People. "Ease up on the expectations, and the worrying. We’re all trying to do the best we can."
1 Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron ended a nine-year relationship with actor Stuart Townshend in 2010, and two years later, she adopted her first child and then her daughter three years later. "My mother found a letter I wrote. It said, 'Would you please take me to orphanage, so that I can go and adopt a baby?'" she told Australia's Madison. "I always knew I would adopt. Always." Theron has gone on record saying marriage is not that important to her, and
although she never planned on being a single mother, it's the situation she's in, and she has no regrets whatsoever.
"You know, I don't think any mother aims to be a single mom. I didn't wish for that, but it happened," the actress said in 2012 interview with Us Weekly.