Are celebrities normal people. Or are they on a different level? They go to the grocery store, they eat at Taco Bell, and they have the same unplanned pregnancies that we do. And while our media is inundated with celebrities who have adopted children, we rarely discuss celebrities who have placed their children for adoption (usually before their careers really kicked off). These are our idols, the famous on tv that we look up to and certainly we can admire their brave choices as well!
Katherine Kiernan Mulgrew
You probably know Katherine Kiernan Mulgrew for her role as Galina “Red” Reznikov on the show, Orange Is The New Black. When she was 17, she left home to study acting at Stella Adler’s Conservatory. Her first big role came during her junior year, so she quit school to portray Mary Ryan on the soap opera Ryan’s Hope. It was shortly after accepting the lead role that she found out she was pregnant. The producers wanted to keep Mulgrew so they wrote her pregnancy into the show. With no other support from family or the baby’s father, Kate decided to give the baby up for adoption.
However, she started looking for her baby shortly after giving her up for adoption with the church, but had no luck. She even hired a private investigator to aid her in this search. It wasn’t until 1988 that she ran into the nun who supervised the adoption, and helped Mulgrew and her daughter get in contact. It was while Mulgrew was on the set of Star Trek: Voyager portraying Captain Kathryn Janeway, one of her most famous roles, that she received the call from her daughter, Danielle Gaudette. She immediately flew out to see her daughter and the two have been close ever since.
Roberta Joan Anderson is a powerful and well known singer, songwriter, and record producer. She took her husband’s name after they married, and started going by Joni Mitchell. She was born and raised in Canada, but moved to the United States in 1965 and began touring. Rolling Stone called her “one of the greatest songwriters ever”. Rolling Stone also rated her album “Blue” the 30th best album ever made, making it the highest entry by a female artist. She released her 17th and last album of original songs in 2007.
In 1965, she also became pregnant and gave her baby up for adoption. Being pregnant out of wedlock was a huge scandal in the early 1960’s, so she felt as if adoption was her only choice. In 1997, she received a letter from Kilauren Gibb saying she believed Mitchell was her birth mother, and they met a week later.
Roseanne Barr is most known for her sitcom, Roseanne which ran for nine seasons on ABC. Before her success on Roseanne, she was a stand up comedian doing odd jobs here and there. After her appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1962, she was suddenly thrust into stardom. In 1997 she was even nominated for a Golden Globe Award and won, but wasn’t there to accept it. When Roseanne was just 17, she was pregnant with a little girl and decided to give her up for adoption.
Roseanne admitted that she initially wanted to keep her daughter, Brandi Brown. However, she didn’t think she would be able to provide for her since she was an unwed mother with no support. 18 years later, this story gets a happy ending. Roseanne and her daughter Brandi were reunited at last. Brandi actually went on to work as a production assistant on the set of Roseanne.
Having sold over 100 million records worldwide, Rod Stewart is one of the best selling music artists, ever. He is a British rock singer-songwriter who was born and raised in London. When Rod Stewart was still in his teens, his girlfriend became pregnant and gave birth in 1963. She tried to keep the baby for a while, without any help from Stewart, but eventually gave the baby up for adoption when it became too much for her to handle.
Rod Stewart tried to make contact in the 1980’s when he first discovered the link with his daughter, Sarah Streeter, but the connection was unsuccessful. At the time, there was still a lot of bitterness held against Stewart by both Rod’s daughter and her birth mother, Susannah Boffey. 50 years after the adoption, after letting the dust settle, Stewart and Streeter finally met, and have been keeping in touch. Sarah is Rod Stewart’s first of eight children.
DUANE LEE CHAPMAN
Duane Lee Chapman is probably better known as Dog the Bounty Hunter. After being in prison, he wanted to turn his life around and became a bail bondsman and a bounty hunter. He was eventually featured on a program about people with unusual occupations which lead to him starring in the reality television show called Dog the Bounty Hunter. It ran for eight seasons. He then starred in another reality television show, Dog and Beth: On the Hunt.
When Duane was in his teens, his girlfriend became pregnant. However, she never told Duane. She ended up committing suicide shortly after giving birth to their son, Christoper Hecht, and he was given up for adoption. Dog the Bounty Hunter didn’t find out about him until he was an adult when Christopher’s grandmother called Duane to tell him. The two have since met and reconciled but they still have a rocky relationship.
Clark Gable is an American acting legend often referred to as “The King of Hollywood”. He was born in Ohio on February 1, 1901. He quit high school at the age of 16 to pursue acting. He eventually married his acting coach who helped him break into the hollywood scene. He acted in various movies and eventually attained his status as a legend in the 1930s. He then starred in famous movies including It Happened One Night and Gone With The Wind.
While he was filming in 1935, he had an affair with fellow actor Loretta Young. The baby, Judy, was given to an orphanage for adoption to avoid the scandal of being an unwed mother. However, Loretta then went back to the orphanage and adopted Judy back. Clark only ever met Judy once, and the two didn’t maintain a relationship. Clark Gable died in 1960 after suffering a heart attack.
You may know Lucille Ball from her sitcom I Love Lucy. She was working as a model, comedian, and actress when she met Desi Arnaz and the two eloped in 1940. In 1951, Ball and Arnaz created one of the most loved sitcoms in television history, I Love Lucy. Lucille and Desi divorced, and Ball went on to marry Gary Morton in 1960. On April 26, 1989, Lucille Ball died from a ruptured aorta. In 2014, a woman named Cassandria Carlson came forward claiming the Lucille Ball was her grandmother.
Carlson claimed that she was given her up for adoption in 1947 by Ball. Carlson’s mother, Linda Jane Dee would have been born four years before the debut of I Love Lucy. Carlson said she has memories during her early childhood of a red-headed woman called Mrs. Morton coming to visit her house and playing cards or taking her to the playground. She has been trying to get DNA samples to prove her claims but relatives of the Ball-Arnaz family have rejected all attempts.
Ted Nugent is most known for being a musician, but he’s also known in many circles as one of America’s most outspoken political activists. He is a proponent of our first and second Amendment rights. Ted Nugent originally gained fame when he was the lead guitarist of the band, Amboy Dukes. He eventually left the band to embark on his own solo career.
It was when Nugent was out on his own that he became known as a guitar hero to many fans. Along with his pro-gun and pro-freedom views, he also advocated against drug and alcohol abuse. In Ted Nugget’s earlier years, he and his girlfriend gave up a son, also named Ted, and a daughter named Louisa for adoption. The siblings were adopted separately and did not learn about each other until 2010 when Louisa wanted to make contact with her brother and her birth father. They have since reconciled.
I had no idea who Mercedes Ruehl was when I saw her name, but apparently she is quite the actress. On of her most well know movies, The Fisher King earned her an Oscar, a Golden Globe, Saturn Award, American Comedy Award, BSFC Award, CFCA Award, LAFCA Award and a Pasinetti Award. That’s a lot of awards! Mercedes had a heart for adoption, so she ended up adopting her son Jake. It turns out that Mercedes’ interest in adoption stems from the fact that she gave up a son for adoption when she was 28 years old. She didn’t feel she was mature enough to raise him and knew she wasn’t financially secure enough to support a baby. 33 years later, she hired a private investigator to help her find the son she gave up for adoption, Christopher. The two were reunited immediately after learning about each other and they now have a great relationship.
David Crosby was born in 1941 and is a talented singer and songwriter. He helped found several bands including The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and also had a solo career. Crosby has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. He also has several albums listed on the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Crosby had quite the wild past when he was younger. He even spent several months in prison for drug charges. In 1962, he also had a biological son, James Raymond, who was placed for adoption. The two were happily reunited when James Raymond was an adult. In turns out the two had several similarities when they reunited. James Raymond is also a talented musician. He played so well that he has performed on stage with Crosby and has done work in the studio with him as well.
Andy Kaufman was best known as a comedian, entertainer, and actor, although he dabbled in many different things. In 1983, Kaufman was diagnosed with an extremely rare type of lung cancer. After trying everything from radiation to natural medicine, he died at the age of 35. However, Andy Kaufman often talked about how faking his own death would be the ultimate hoax, so there were many conspiracies circling about how he wasn’t really dead. When Kaufman was in high school, his girlfriend got pregnant. They ended up placing their daughter, Maria Bellu-Colonna, up for adoption. After digging up information, Maria discovered who her biological mother was, and was soon reunited with her birth family. Unfortunately she never had the chance to meet her biological father, Andy Kaufman. Maria’s daughter, Brittany, ended up appearing in Man on the Moon playing the role of Kaufman’s younger sister which meant she was playing the role of her own great aunt.
Dirk Benedict was actually born as Dirk Niewoehner. One of the circulating stories say that Dirk Benedict chose his stage name because of his love of Eggs Benedict, but who knows when that story came about or if that’s true. Bendict’s most well known role is that of Lieutenant Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica. He was in both the original film and the television series. In 1998, Benedict learned that he had a son, John Talbert. Benedict fought through a prostate tumor he was diagnosed with in the 1970s. When Benedict was in college, his girlfriend got pregnant and never told him. The two parted ways and she ended up giving Talbert up for adoption. When John Talbert was older, he had aspirations of finding his birth parents, so his adoptive parents helped him track down Dirk Benedict. Dirk and John have a relationship now and John interacts with Dirk’s other children as well.
Patti Smith dabbles in many different things such as singing, songwriting, and poetry. One of the things she is known for is for being an influential part of the punk rock movement. She also writes poetry and has written a memoir, Just Kids. However, she is best known for her album Horses, and also for her song Because the Night which was written with Bruce Springsteen. It reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. She was even inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. When Patti was 19 years old, she got pregnant out of wedlock. She was very young and had no money to support herself or a baby. While she was pregnant, her parents sent her to a foster home so no one would find out about the pregnancy. She gave up the baby for adoption immediately after she gave birth. Patti Smith and her child have never been reunited.
I wasn’t sure who Jay Thomas was either but it’s possible that many of you will know who he is. He is an actor and comedian and most recently is a talk show host. His most well known roles were on Mork and Mindy, Cheers, and Love and War. He has also been a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman several times. In 2005, he started hosting The Jay Thomas Show on Sirius Satellite Radio. Before his acting career really began, Jay found out his girlfriend was pregnant. Not knowing if they would be able to support him, they decided to give their baby up for adoption. A family in Michigan ended up adoption their child. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. Jay and his son, John Harding, were able to reunite in 2007. Jay and John keep in touch and have even talked about their relationship on the Dr. Phil Show.
You might know Jack Wagner for his roles on one of the soap operas General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful, and Melrose place. He was also a contestant on season 14 of Dancing with the Stars in 2012. In 1988, Jack Wagner received a phone call from a woman who he had a one night stand with. She proceeded to tell him that she had gotten pregnant with his baby and was giving her up for adoption. Wagner tried to get involved but at the time there was nothing he could do. 23 years later, a young girl rushed into his dressing room and ran up to him and hugged him, telling him that she was his daughter. While surprised at the moment, he was happy for the chance to get to know her. The two currently have an ongoing relationship and have gone on trips together.