Who gets the kids? That's something two parents have to think about after they decide to split up for good. In many cases, both parents share joint custody of their kids. Over the years, child development experts have stressed the importance of children receiving support from both parents in their lives, even if both parents no longer live in the same house. Studies show that children need to be shielded from conflicts between their parents and that they need to be exposed to strong and healthy relationships. But when exes fight and argue all the time and try to force their children to pick sides, they only end up hurting their children in the long run.
Co-parenting is the term used for a parenting situation in which two separated or divorced parents take care of their children. This allows the child to grow up maintaining a stable relationship with both of their parents and feel that it's okay for them to love both of their parents. But in order for it to work, the parents have to make it work, which means that there can't be any bad blood between them. Here are Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey and 15 other celeb exes who do co-parenting right.
16 Nick Cannon & Mariah Carey
Nick Cannon doesn't like the term “co-parenting.” Apparently, he doesn't care for those kinds of trendy terms. He told PEOPLE,
“It’s funny when they say ‘co-parenting’ — that phrase is a little redundant. You can’t co-parent, you have to parent, and that’s what we do well because when it comes to our children, we’re selfless individuals — they’re first.”
He and Mariah Carey focus spending time together with their six-year-old twins, Monroe and Moroccan, and Cannon says that he considers himself blessed to be sharing an experience with Carey, someone he respects and admires. “This didn’t work out quite how we wanted it to but look at the amazing blessing that we have in these wonderful children. So you kinda put everything else to the side and really focus.”
15 Sienna Miller & Tom Sturridge
Even though they're no longer dating, Sienna Miller and Tom Sturridge say they "still love each other." Miller told Harper's Bazaar, "We don't live together, as has been reported recently, but we do half the time." She went on to say that when it comes to raising their five-year-old daughter, Marlowe,
it's good for her that she has two parents who love each other and are friends.
Miller described Sturridge as her "best friend in the entire world." In another interview with PEOPLE, the actress said she and Sturridge never fail to do bedtime with their daughter every night. "We felt like as much togetherness as possible would be ideal, and fortunately, we really love each other and are best friends, and so that works."
14 Jennie Garth & Peter Facinelli
Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli may have gone their separate ways after 11 years of marriage, but the two have remained as close as they could be, vacationing with their significant others and their two youngest daughters, 15-year-Lola and 11-year-old Fiona, in Cancun, Mexico last year.
While it seems that they've mastered the art of co-parenting now, Facinelli was the first to admit that it wasn't easy at first right after the breakup.
The Twilight actor told LaPalme magazine that he had to go through a healing process. "I think once there was a time where we had to learn that we had to be able to move forward with love and respect." But he added that he and Garth eventually got the hang of it. "I get the kids one week on and one week off so we share the kids 50/50, but if they have games and events, we are both there," he said. "We talk all the time about co-parenting and the kids."
13 Britney Spears & Kevin Federline
Britney Spears and Kevin Federline split in July of 2007 but both of them received joint custody of their two sons, 12-year-old Sean and 11-year-old Jayden. Now, a little over a decade later, Federline is pretty much an expert in co-parenting. The part-time DJ shares joint custody of a son and daughter with his ex-fiancee, actress Shar Jackson, and has two daughters with his wife, Victoria Prince. He shared with Bravo's Personal Space,
"You fall into your routine and it's really easy now. It wasn't always easy, but it's a lot easier now."
But while Federline has gotten used to co-parenting, he said he would like to spend more time with his four eldest children. He admitted that he was upset that Spears was taking their two sons with her on tour last year, which would cause them to miss spending Father's Day with their father. Nevertheless, he understands the sacrifices that come with co-parenting and understands that sometimes he has to give up the things he really wants to do.
12 Naomi Watts & Liev Schreiber
While the two are no longer together, Naomi Watts said she was adamant in maintaining a friendship with her ex, Liev Schreiber, even if it was just for the sake of their kids. She told Australian Women's Weekly that
the two of them had to put aside their differences so they could raise Sasha, 10, and Samuel Kai, 8, in a stable environment.
Schreiber said similar remarks in a 2018 interview with TODAY host Willie Geist, prioritizing his kids over anyone else. "It’s important to support each other," he said. “I was making some jokes at breakfast about Mommy with the boys and their eyes light up when I talk about her. You can see how important it is to them that their parents care about each other.”
11 Ben Affleck & Jennifer Garner
Ben Affleck says that he and actress Jennifer Garner still share a "special connection" with each other through their three children, 12-year-old Violet, nine-year-old Seraphina, and five-year-old Samuel. He told CBS This Morning,
"We're doing our very best and we're putting our kids first and that's how we're focusing on our day-to-day lives and we don't know what the future's going to hold, but each step that we take is one where we prioritize our children and everything else comes second."
He added that he still admires and respects his ex-wife and that they're close friends. In another interview with TODAY, the Justice League star said there's no real secret to effective co-parenting, it's all about putting the children first.
10 Amber Rose & Wiz Khalifa
Unlike some other former couples on this list who have had their fair share of difficulties when it comes to co-parenting, Amber Rose says she finds co-parenting her five-year-old Sebastian with Wiz Khalifa quite easy.
"We both love our son, so it just comes easy. We don’t live that far away from each other, so anytime Sebastian wants to come back here or go with his dad [he can],"
the model said in an interview with US Weekly. She said she and Khalifa have joint custody of their son, and they FaceTime each other a lot whenever one has Sebastian in their care. "When he’s with me, his dad gets to work on a lot of stuff and vice versa…it kind of makes it easy to schedule all my work stuff when he’s with his dad. So I’ll just have a jam-packed schedule for a full week when he’s with his dad and when he comes back home to me, my team knows to kind of keep everything very short and small."
9 Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin
Gwyneth Paltrow admitted to E!News that co-parenting with former hubby Chris Martin is difficult at times, but since raising 13-year-old Apple and 11-year-old Moses is their chief priority in their lives, she manages to make it work. In a TODAY interview, she said, "Even though we're not in a romantic relationship, we're a true family and we like to do things to reinforce that we're a family for the children and for each other. He's like my brother. I'm very close to him." At the #BlogHer15 conference,
the actress said co-parenting gets better as times goes by and that Martin is a great father.
"I feel lucky that we both, along the way, have been able to really put down our own stuff while we're together with the family and that we make it a priority to be together so that the transition for the children wasn't, you know, as brutal as it could be."
8 Orlando Bloom & Miranda Kerr
Orlando Bloom says that he and Miranda Kerr have a "remarkable relationship." "We co-parent really well," the Pirates of the Caribbean star told ELLE UK. Bloom has nothing but respect for his former wife, made evident by him praising her parenting skills for their seven-year-old son, Flynn, on social media on more than one occasion. He posted a photo of Flynn's gift to his mother on her 34th birthday with the caption:
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY! To an amazing mother, co-parent, and friend.”
Kerr has stressed the need for her and Bloom to co-parent their son together. She told Harper's Bazaar that she managed to find her dream home near Bloom's house, desiring to live near her ex so they could raise their son together.
7 Naya Rivera & Ryan Dorsey
Naya Rivera and Ryan Dorsey may have split ways in November of 2016, just a year after welcoming their two-year-old son, Josey, into the world, but their relationship still continues as parents. Dorsey told Momtastic that she and Dorsey are very good at co-parenting, and while it does obviously come with some challenges along the way,
their son and his well-being always remains their number one priority.
The Pitch actor added to the conversation, saying, "We're his parents. If everybody looks at it that way, it alleviates some of the drama. Doing what's best for Josey is really what it all boils down to."
6 Ryan Phillippe & Reese Witherspoon
After Ryan Philippe and Reese Witherspoon went their separate way in 2006 after seven years of marriage, a theory arose that acting couples couldn't possibly co-exist, especially if the woman made more money than the man. Phillippe rejected that theory, saying that he and Witherspoon "have done a really good job at keeping things peaceable and completely focused on their kids", 18-year-old Ava and 14-year-old Deacon. The One Life to Live alum told Entertainment Weekly that as a divorced parent,
you have to reach a point where you're not putting yourself first and you put your children's needs and wants before your own.
He says he and the Legally Blonde star spend alternate holidays with their kids. "Last year, my kids and I went to my parents' in Delaware, this year, they will be with their mom and I am shooting a movie up in Toronto. I am going to fly down to Philly and just have a Thanksgiving with my parents and the kids get to be with Reese."
5 Jewel & Ty Murray
Jewel asserts that co-parenting comes with its own challenges, and it comes with a lot of active work. "It’s work," she said in an interview with PEOPLE. "I don’t want people to think it’s effortless – it’s work to do this because you obviously don’t get a divorce because things are going well."
However, she lets those things stay in the past and focuses on maintaining respect and dignity for her ex-husband.
The country singer said that she keeps her communication channels open when it comes to rodeo cowboy Ty Murray just for the sake of their six-year-old son, Kase, saying that children deserve to have both parents in their lives. "They deserve to know that their parents respect each other if nothing else. So that really helps me set the standard of how I try and behave."
4 Drew Barrymore & Will Kopelman
The couple may have officially divorced, but they've said in a statement to PEOPLE that this takes nothing away from them being a family with their kids, five-year-old Olive and three-year-old Frankie. "Our children are our universe, and we look forward to living the rest of our lives with them as the first priority." Drew Barrymore says that
"constant planning" is the secret to successfully co-parenting her and Will Kopelman's two daughters.
"I think plans, constant plans. I woke up to an email from my children's grandmother this morning, Coco, saying 'I think for my birthday we're going to do it on the 14th. Can you make that date? Because it's not the same without you, I have to make sure that that date works for you.' I feel honored that my children's grandmother — her love and acceptance means the world to me. So you just be a family. Families are many different definitions in this day and age."
3 Chris Pratt & Anna Faris
The pair divorced just last year after eight years of marriage but have since remained friends, believing in the importance of co-parenting. They do whatever they can to positively encourage their five-year-old son, Jack, and surround him with as much love and happiness as they can provide him. Anna Faris told Extra,
"We are great and there's so much friendship and love, and we surround Jack with love, and funny, kind, happy people, and as a result, he is really happy."
Of course, like any good parents, they don't coddle him too much and know when to discipline him when necessary. "[We] try to discipline when he's being a little bit naughty," Faris told E!News. She said that Chris Pratt will always be a part of her life and that he still cracks her up all the time. "There is still so much laughter in our lives together, and he is so proud of me, still," she told People.
2 Idina Menzel & Taye Diggs
Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs split up in 2014 after an 11-year marriage and having welcomed a son into the world, eight-year-old Walker Nathaniel. There's no bad blood between them, though. Diggs told PEOPLE, "We were friends to start out with, but especially when you have a kid in the mix, there's no time for any negativity." He explained that his son is foremost objective, something that Menzel agrees with.
"Your child comes first, that's all,"
she said in an interview with PEOPLE Now. "It's all about that. He comes first and you have to get past your own egos and you never talk bad about each other." In an interview with US Weekly, the actor said that he and his ex-wife trust each other when it comes to raising their son. "I mean, it’s not even about trust. We both love our son so much, that the best way to raise him is to provide him with whatever we can..."
1 Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony
Jennifer Lopez told PEOPLE that she would never start up another romance with ex Marc Anthony again because their current relationship as best friends works best when it comes to taking care of their kids. In an interview with HuffPost Live, the entertainer said, "I feel it's my responsibility as a mom when their dad is not there to let them know that their dad loves them very much because that's the doubt that they have when he's not around or they haven't seen him. That's my job to do that the same way it's his job when he's with them to say 'Mommy is working and she loves you.'"
Lopez said she understands that while she and Anthony are no longer married, he's still the father of their kids,
and she has to make things work for their kids. "And that is, by far, the hardest work I do," she added.