It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye: Stars Who Lost A Parent At A Young Age

July 14, 2014  |  
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Losing a parent is never an easy thing, no matter how young or old you are, but unfortunately there are plenty stars who lost a parent at a young age.

Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana has been vocal about her Hispanic roots. Born in Passaic, New Jersey, the “Columbina” star moved to her mother’s home country of the Dominican Republic at the age of nine after her father tragically died in a car accident. She moved back to the U.S., this time across the bridge in Queens, NY as a sophomore in high school. Soon after she would fall in love with theater and follow her dreams to become an actress.

Bobbi Kristina Brown

Bobbi Kristina Brown grew up with one of the most recognizable singers as a mother. Whitney Houston took her only child with her as she crisscrossed the world. In February 2012, Bobbi Kristina traveled to Los Angeles with her mother for the annual Grammy awards and she was just as shocked as everyone else, if not more, when her mother tragically passed away in her hotel room. A stunned 18-year-old Bobbi Kristina was inconsolable and had to be hospitalized twice in the 48 hours following her mother’s death.

Sean “Diddy” Combs

Sean “Diddy” Combs is a product of Harlem. His father was a known associate of the notorious drug dealer Frank Lucas. The elder Combs was just 33 years old when he was gunned down while sitting in the car on Central Park West. The future hip-hop mogul was three years old at the time. Relocating to Mount Vernon, NY with his mother, Combs has since worked his way up from an intern at Uptown Records to a businessman worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Kid Cudi

Rapper Kid Cudi was forever changed when he lost his father at a young age. Born and raised in Ohio, Cudi, real name Scott Mescudi, was just 11 years old when his father passed away from cancer. He became introspective and used music as an outlet for express himself. Cudi moved to Brooklyn, NY to live with his uncle to pursue music and a chance meeting with Kanye West at a clothing store proved to be the break Cudi needed.

Kate Beckinsale

Kate Beckinsale snagged her first role in the 1993 film “Much Ado About Nothing” while she was still in college but the English-born actress has enjoyed minor success on television as a child. At four years old Beckinsale made her television debut on “This Is Your Life.” A year later her father, who was an actor himself, dropped dead of a heart attack. Beckinsale’s mother remarried several years later and gave Beckinsale, who had been an only child, four stepbrothers and sisters.

50 Cent

Rapper 50 Cent came from a rough upbringing and turned himself into a successful millionaire. Born and raised in South Jamaica, Queens, the “In Da Club” rapper never knew his father. His mother was a drug dealer who died under mysterious circumstances when he was eight years old. Fiddy went to live with his grandparents and was raised with eight aunts and uncles.

Orlando Bloom

Orlando Bloom made hearts swoon as the apprentice-turned-pirate in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. The English born actor was just four years old when his father died. When he became a teenager, Bloom was told the man who his mother was married to and whom he called “Dad” his whole life was not his biological father. His mother revealed that his real father was her partner and family friend.

Bill Clinton

While some people who’ve lost a parent at a young age may still have memories of their mom or dad, former President Bill Clinton has none. That’s because his father died in a car accident three months before he was born. His mother remarried and Clinton’s alcoholic stepfather would physically abuse him and his half-brother. He often spoke about his tumultuous upbringing while on the campaign trail.

Stephen Colbert

Sometimes the root of funniness is true pain. Funny man Stephen Colbert suffered a serious loss at ten years old. His father and two of his brothers were killed in a private plane crash. The youngest of 11 children, his mother moved the family to a more urban area following her husband’s death and Colbert had a tough time adjusting. The one-time “Daily Show” correspondent will take over for David Letterman when the late night television host retires.

Jet Li

Martial arts expert Jet Li was two years old when his father passed away. The youngest of four, his father’s death left the family facing financial hardships in Beijing, China. At eight years old, Li’s talent at wushu helped him stand out at school and he began to study martial arts. He snagged his first role in Hollywood as a villain in the original “Lethal Weapon” and has since had a successful career in both China and here in the U.S.

Shelby Lynne

Singer/songwriter Shelby Lynne got her musical talents from her parents. Unfortunately, they weren’t around to see their daughter win a Grammy for Best New Artist. Her father, who was a teacher and then a corrections officer, played the guitar while her mother was a singer. When she was 17, Lynne’s father shot and killed her mother before taking his own life. She went to live with relatives along with her younger sister.


Growing up in Michigan, Madonna had always yearned to be somebody. Her mother passed away from cancer when the “Material Girl” was just five years old. Madonna and her five other siblings resented any female presence that came into their household for fear they’d be taking their mother’s beloved place. Madonna was left with a yearning and she shared her feelings with an interview in “Vanity Fair” magazine. “I wasn’t rebellious in a certain way,” she said. “I cared about being good at something. I didn’t shave my underarms and I didn’t wear make-up like normal girls do. But I studied and I got good grades. I wanted to be somebody.”

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy’s tragedy and pain from his childhood actually helped influence his sense of humor. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Murphy’s parents divorced when he was young and a jealous girlfriend killed his father, who was a police officer, when the future comedic legend was eight years old. A year later, Eddie and his older brother Charlie were sent to live in foster care after his mother fell ill. It was during this time that he developed the sense of humor that would help him become a star.

Ellen Pompeo

On “Grey’s Anatomy,” Ellen Pompeo plays a doctor at a hospital where her mother was a medical legend. Following in her mother’s footsteps to practice medicine, Meredith Grey lost her mother after a bout with early onset Alzheimer’s. In real life, Pompeo was just four years old when her mother died after overdosing on prescription painkillers. Her father remarried soon after.

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