Famous, single and raising kids – it’s not a recipe for relaxation but many moms make it work. From changing diapers to feeding to helping with homework, many stars have jumped to the challenge as single moms and have seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. They’re not alone because statistics show that it’s no longer the norm to get married before having a child. In the USA, for example, more than 40% of all children born are born to unmarried moms. Unfortunately about 46% of the kids living in single-mom households lived in poverty in 2013, as reported by the US Census Bureau. That’s compared to just 11% of kids living with two parents.
With Mother’s Day is coming up on May 11, we’re surrounded by reminders about how special moms are and how much work they really do every day to raise their kids (single or otherwise). Mullen, an advertising agency in Boston, recently posted a job advert for a director of operations with requirements including “working from 135 to unlimited hours per week” and “standing up almost all the time”. It said the salary was $0 per year, making it seem like the world’s toughest job. Only 24 people inquired and some of the interviews were made into a viral video, with the surprise ending that the “director of operations” is actually a position carried out by mothers all around the world.
Here are 10 celebrities who are rocking it as single moms and inspiring other moms around the world.
10 Sofia Vergara – Has a 21-Year-Old Son
Colombian actress Sofia Vergara, best known for her role in hit comedy Modern Family, is a single mom to her son Manolo, who is now 21. She gave birth to her son at when she was 19 years old. Now one of the highest paid female actresses on TV, she divorced her husband a year after her son’s birth and raised him alone from there onwards. Most impressively, the now 41-year-old actually launched her successful career (and moved to the USA) as a single mom. Vergara and her son are very close, and a new ABC sitcom will reportedly take inspiration from them. She is now engaged to Nick Loeb and the three were spotted together on vacation in Mexico earlier this year.
9 Madonna – Has Four Kids
She may be the Queen of Pop, but she’s a single mom with a chaotic life too. Superstar singer Madonna once told The Sun that she often feels like her “head is going to explode” thanks to the stresses of being a single mom. She said that sometimes it's a struggle but that “multi-tasking” is now her middle name. After splitting from husband Guy Ritchie in 2008, she has proceeded to raise Rocco, David, Mercy and Lourdes by herself. She told ABC News that she loves being a mother and that her children fill her up in many ways and inspire her.
8 Kate Winslet – Has Three Children (To Different Men)
British actress Kate Winslet split from husband Sam Mendes in 2010. She had one child with Mendes and one from a previous marriage to Jim Threapleton. Since then the 38-year-old has given birth to a third child with her new hubby Ned Rocknroll. She’s been outspoken about being a single mom in the past, commenting to media that society is judgemental of single moms and that being a single mom is an uphill task. She told TimeOut magazine that: “It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got money, whether you’re famous or not. You have to carry on. And you can, because you have to.” Winslet also plays a single mom in new movie Labor Day.
7 Charlize Theron – Has an Two-Year-Old Son
At the age of 36, a single Charlize Theron adopted a boy named Jackson. At the time, Theron’s rep announced the news, saying that she was now a “proud mom of a healthy baby boy”. She told Madison magazine in 2012 that she had never dreamed of being a single mom, but that it just happened and she followed through on a childhood dream of adopting a child. She ended a nine-year relationship with Stuart Townsend in 2010 and adopted her son two years later. She told Vogue magazine in the UK that she has been inspired by her own mother and hopes to be “fair, tough, loving and supportive”.
6 Sandra Bullock – Has a Four-Year-Old Son
This 49-year-old actress famously split from hubby Jesse James in 2010 after his cheating scandal. Since then, she’s been all about being a single mom to adopted boy, Louis. Asked by Entertainment Weekly if she hoped to be in another relationship soon, she said: “If something happens, great, but if not, I've got plenty to do.” Bullock also joked to IO Donna magazine that the only man in her life is her son. She said: “I go to bed wearing a very baggy one-piece cheetah suit, just because it makes my son laugh. My sexy lingerie has been locked in a drawer for a while!”
5 Katie Holmes – Has an Eight-Year-Old Daughter
Katie Holmes is a mother to eight-year-old Suri after her famous break-up with Tom Cruise in 2012 after a six-year marriage. The former Dawson’s Creek actress went from living a Hollywood life of luxury (complete with a huge Beverly Hills mansion) to living a simpler life as a single mom from a nice Manhattan apartment. Entertainment journalist David Caplan was reported as saying that Holmes has emerged as “the people’s single mom”. Now aged 35, the mother-of-one does regular stuff with her daughter including taking the subway in New York and hitting up the Children’s Museum of Art.
4 Denise Richards – Has Three Kids
After her 2011 divorce from Charlie Sheen, Denise Richards has been labelled as a “super mom” by international media. This single mom in her early 40s actually had five children in her care for a while. When Sheen’s ex-wife Brooke Mueller entered rehab, Richards got custody meaning she was caring for her two daughters (Sam and Lola), Sheen’s twins (Bob and Max) and her adopted daughter (Eloise). She says she got a book to read to her daughters Sam and Lola to help explain addiction and to make sense of what was happening to their alcoholic father Sheen.
3 Meg Ryan – Has Two Kids
Actress Meg Ryan adopted her daughter, Daisy True, from China in 2005 – five years after her divorce from Dennis Quaid (whom she also had one child with and shares custody). Ryan, who is now 52, has loved being a single mom so much that she says it’s almost easier than being one of two parents. She told Redbook magazine that when you’re a single mom, “you’re the only one in the house with the kids, you get to be the one in charge” and that “there’s no stress because you and some other adult don’t agree on how you want to raise your kids”. What’s great is that she’s taking her single mom talents to the big screen – it was announced last year that Ryan would be starring in a new NBC sitcom in which she’ll play a single mom too.
2 Kristin Davis – Has a Two-Year-Old Daughter
Sex And The City actress Kristin Davis (who played Charlotte) adopted a child on her own in October 2011. Speaking to talk show host Anderson Cooper in 2012, she said that she was “so kind of worried” about having a child but that once her daughter Gemma Rose arrived, she knew she could do it. The now 49-year-old told Haute Living that her role as a single mom takes top priority in life and that she’s been in “mommy mode”. She also said that “the greatest luxury” is being there in the morning when her daughter wakes up so she’s not in a hurry to get back to acting full time.
1 Michelle Williams – Has an Eight-Year-Old Daughter
Actress Michelle Williams is a single mom to her 8-year-old daughter Matilda, whose father is the late actor Heath Ledger. Williams and Ledger split in 2007, just four months before his passing from an accidental drug overdose, and when Matilda was just two years old. The 33-year-old single mom told USA Today that she “loved so much becoming a mom” and that even facing adversity you make it work and “you keep getting out of bed”. She announced a break from acting in 2012 to focus on being a mom. Fans of Williams have been impressed with how strong she was for her daughter after Ledger’s passing. She is now reportedly dating artist Dustin Yellin.