Although their lives can sometimes seem “perfect” and un-relatable from the outside, the lives of celebrities are probably more normal than you think. Take a look at these 8 celebs who were adopted, some even rising from terrible pasts to create incredibly prosperous futures…
1. Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton’s family history is actually quite interesting. The former US president was born William Jefferson Blythe III in August 1946. While the identity of his biological father is unknown, it is thought he was a traveling salesman killed in a car accident three months before his son’s birth. In 1950 Clinton’s mother, Virginia, married Roger Clinton, who lent his name to and eventually adopted the future head of state. All in all, Virginia married five times, twice to the same man. Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States, is the only previous US president to have been adopted.
2. Jamie Foxx
Actor and comedian Jamie Foxx was born Eric Bishop in 1967. His parents separated shortly thereafter, and his mother didn’t feel capable of raising him on her own, so his maternal grandmother adopted him at seven months. Years later, during his Academy Award acceptance speech for his role in the critically acclaimed biopic Ray, Foxx thanked his grandmother for her hard work and unconditional love. He has also hosted holiday specials concerning adoption and often mentions the cause in interviews.
3. Marilyn Monroe
The original blonde bombshell might have been immortalized in countless photographs as smiling and possessing a devil-may-care attitude, but she was plagued by unrest, perhaps owing in part to her troubled childhood. She was born Norma Jeane Mortenson in Los Angeles in 1926 to Gladys Pearl Baker, but was baptized Norma Jeane Baker in light of her father’s undetermined identity. Marilyn was shuffled between the care of her mentally ill mother, foster homes and an orphanage. At age 11 she was fostered by her mother’s friend, Grace Mckee Goddard, only to be abandoned five years later when Grace and her husband moved away. To escape a return to the orphanage Marilyn married the boy next door, James Dougherty, just weeks after she turned 16.
4. John Lennon
Beatles star John Lennon had a reasonably middle-class upbringing after his maternal aunt Mimi and her husband George raised him in comfortable circumstances. His father, Alfred, abandoned his mother Julia, after John’s birth in October 1940 – making a failed attempt at reconciliation a few years later. With his mother apparently unwilling, or unable, to care for him, Mimi and her husband became guardians of the future Beatle when he was five. As the Beatles garnered success, John bought Mimi a bungalow on the English coast, where she lived until she died in 1991. The actress Kristin Scott Thomas played Mimi in the 2009 film Nowhere Boy.
5. Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs, billionaire entrepreneur and co-founder of Apple, Inc., was born in San Francisco, February 24, 1955. One week later he was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs, who raised him in Mountain View, California.
6. Faith Hill
On September 21, 1967, Faith Hill was born Audrey Faith Perry to unmarried parents in Mississippi, and adopted just a few days later by Ted and Edna Perry. Although her birth parents went on to marry and have a son, Faith was given a devout Christian upbringing by Ted and Edna, who had two biological sons of their own. Faith, who always knew she was adopted, began her singing career in churches and local rodeos. Her debut album, Take Me As I Am, was released in 1993; her first marriage to Dan Hill ended in 1994. Since 1996, Faith has been married to fellow country artist Tim McGraw.
7. Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, former South African president and anti-apartheid activist, was born July 18, 1918 to a highborn family. Mandela’s father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, a nobleman of the Thembu Tribe, had been instrumental in helping his friend Jongintaba Dalindyebo ascend the Thembu throne. In recognition of this debt, Dalindyebo informally adopted the nine-year-old Mandela when his father died of tuberculosis. He was moved from the small village of Qunu to the Thembu provincial capital, Mqhekewenzi, seeing his mother (his father’s third wife) on occasional visits. Mandela’s given name – ‘Rolihlahla’ – means ‘to pull a branch of a tree’, which translates colloquially as ‘troublemaker’.
8. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi
After telling OK Magazine that she was half-Spanish, she explained that she was actually adopted and she has no plans to track down her biological parents. We later found out that she is actually ethnically Chilean and was adopted by her Italian-American parents at a very young age. That’s right the “Italian queen” is not Italian at all! “I was adopted at six months from Chile,” Snooks tells the radio hosts. “[My biological parents] gave me up for a reason and I honestly love my parents. I have no desire to actually find out [about my biological parents].”