If you’re a parent, your children are the most treasured facet of your life. And that’s true, regardless of whether your offspring are biological or if you’ve chosen the route of adoption.
Whether it’s due to fertility, or wanting to help a child in need, the desire to become a parent or build upon an existing family can envelop any person, famous or not. After all, every child deserves a safe and loving home.
Below, we’ve rounded up a selection of celebrities who have proudly used adoption to either begin or extend their family, as well as the reasons why they cherish their children so much.
During Nicole Kidman’s marriage to Tom Cruise, she tragically suffered an ectopic pregnancy and lost her first child. However, after this traumatic experience, the couple decided to adopt two children—daughter, Isabella Jane and son, Connor Anthony.
Academy Award winning actress, Sandra Bullock has two adopted children, Louis, 11 and Laila, 9. The Bird Box star adopted Louis in 2010 and Laila in 2012. The actress has also spoken out about not referring to her kids as “adopted”, as per an interview with People magazine.
“Let’s all just refer to these kids as ‘our kids’. Don’t say ‘my adopted child.’ Let’s just say, ‘our children’”.
“When I first went through the process myself, you have to prove that you are a capable parent and you’re in the judgement cage,” she explained. “I got halfway through it and I said, ‘I can’t do this.’ It was an out of body experience.”
She added that the process was “incredibly hard” and that, “People don’t know about it because it’s a difficult thing to talk about.”
The Blind Side star also spoke candidly about how her children have helped her become stronger after an array of confronting events she experienced over the years—including a break-in at her house and being bitten by a poisonous spider.
“If I don’t pull it together, I’m gonna die,” she told Willow and Jada. But in the end, her children gave her the strength to pull through.
“It was my children who showed me that unless I pull it together right now, I’m not gonna be around to have the moments that I want to have.”
On May 2020, Sia confirmed she had adopted two teenage sons. In an interview with Nova 96.9, Sia confessed that while she’d originally planned on having her own children, her divorce saw her go down the adoption route.
Sia has also been open about adopting her sons when they were due to leave foster care. “I actually adopted two sons last year. They were both 18—they’re both 19 years old now,” she revealed to SiriusXM radio show.
“They were ageing out of the foster care system. Yeah, and I love them.”
However, in a recent interview on the Kyle & Jackie O show, the musician revealed that she regrets opening up about her adopted children because her “job is to protect them and not blab about what’s going on in their lives.”
“I made a bit of a boo-boo because they’re my new children,” she confessed. “I’ve only had them for a year. I’m such an open book that I forget not everybody is.”
Sia added, “I instantly realised I can’t talk about my children’s private life. That’s not my news to share and I’m just learning because I’m just learning to be a mum.”
Angelina Jolie and former husband, Brad Pitt are famous for their blended family. Jolie and Pitt adopted their first child, Maddox Chivian from Cambodia in 2002. They then adopted daughter Zahara Marley from Ethopia in 2005, and son Pax Thien in 2007.
“All adopted children come with a beautiful mystery of a world that is meeting yours,” Jolie told Vogue India in 2020.
“When they are from another race and foreign land, that mystery, that gift, is so full. For them, they must never lose touch with where they came from. They have roots that you do not. Honour them. Learn from them. It’s the most amazing journey to share. They are not entering your world, you are entering each other’s worlds.”
The actress explained, “I am very blessed to have been allowed to be their mom. I am grateful every day.”
Kristin Davis, who adopted daughter Gemma in 2011 and son Wilson in 2018, revealed during an episode of Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk that she makes sure her kids feel at home in the Black community.
“Because my children are African-American, I feel like it’s my duty and my job to do as much research, as much work, build as many bridges as possible because you are their community,” Davis told Smith and her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris.
She continued: “I work at that every day trying to figure out how I can make sure they have access to the black community, that they’re part of it, that they’re not separated from it”.
Viola Davis and husband Julius Tennon chose to grow their family through adoption. And the Academy Award winner adopted her daughter Genesis, in 2011.
“I always tell Genesis she was born from my heart, not my belly,” Viola Davis told InStyle in 2015. “There are so many ways to mother rather than to carry a child in your body.”
Actress Cate Blanchett and husband Andrew Upton adopted their daughter Edith in 2016, after receiving a phone call that alerted the couple of a baby in need of a home. Speaking to Harper’s BAZAAR U.K. in 2016, Blanchett shared her thoughts on their adoption process, saying, “We got a phone call earlier this year and we adopted a little girl.”
“You’re on the list and then you get the call,” Blanchett explained. “You don’t know anything about the child you’re going to meet.”
Actress Charlize Theron adopted her children Jackson and August in 2012 and 2015 from Africa. In 2019, Theron revealed to The Daily Mail that she was raising Jackson as a girl.
“Yes, I thought she was a boy, too. Until she looked at me when she was three years old and said: ‘I am not a boy!'”
She continued, “So there you go. I have two beautiful daughters who, just like any parent, I want to protect and I want to see thrive.”
Grey’s Anatomy alum Katherine Heigl and husband Josh Kelley adopted their daughter Nancy Leigh Mi-Eun Kelley, from South Korea in 2009, which is also the birthplace of Heigl’s adopted sister. In 2012, the couple adopted daughter Adalaide Marie Hope from the United States.
“I wanted my own family to resemble the one I came from, so I always knew I wanted to adopt from Korea,” Heigl said after adopting her first daughter.
“We have talked about having biological children as well, but we decided to adopt first. I just wanted to be a mum.”
Rosario Dawson is another actress who turned to adoption when starting a family, adopting her then 11-year-old daughter Isabella ‘Lola’ Dawson.
“She was a very whole person, we’re building up trust even still,” Dawson said told Women’s Health U.S. in 2020.
“I think it would have been difficult to bond so late in her life, and in our lives together, if we’d had technology between us,” said Dawson. “My daughter looks me in the eye, and we talk to each other. I think that’s important.”
Pop icon Madonna is no stranger to the process, with four of her six children entering her life through adoption. Aside from her biological children, Lourdes and Rocco, Madonna adopted her son David Banda Mwale Ciccone in 2006, her daughter Chifundo “Mercy” James, and then in 2017, she adopted twins Stella Ciccone and Estere Ciccone.
Speaking to Vogue in 2019, Madonna revealed that her son David Banda has the most in common with her.
“What he has more than anything is focus and determination”, she said. “I’m pretty sure he got it from me… I feel like he gets me, he has more of my DNA than any of my other children so far”.
Actress Michelle Pfeiffer had already begun adopting her daughter Claudia Rose when she met her current husband David E. Kelly. According to People magazine, Pfeiffer opened up about raising her daughter and how her ethnicity has come into question, saying, “I was shocked at the prejudice, voiced in some quarters, over my decision to adopt a mixed-race baby.”
“It’s really surprising that people still put so much emphasis on it,” she said. “None of us are pure anything. We’re all a mixture. Claudia is a beautiful child, and some of the most beautiful people I’ve seen in the world have been of mixed race.”
While many have known both Lionel Richie and his daughter Nicole for decades, many may not be aware that she is his adoptive daughter. Brought into his family at three-years-old, Richie and his then-wife Brenda Harvey, knew Nicole’s biological parents who admitted they were incapable of providing for her financially. After living with and be cared for by Richie, she was legally adopted at age nine.
In an interview with Piers Morgan in 2015, Richie opened up about why he chose to adopt his daughter. “So it took about maybe a year for me to just fall in love and she was a little button,” he explained.
“And of course by that time I was Dad and so I said, ‘OK, here is what we are going to do: you’re going to make everyone wish that they had adopted you. You are going to make everyone in your family wish they actually had a chance to get you back,’ and that’s when I said, ‘Let’s adopt her.'”
Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness
Actor Hugh Jackman and wife Deborra-Lee Furness share two adopted children, Oscar Maximillian, 19, and Ava Eliot, 14.
In 2004, Furness revealed that they adopted because she previously suffered miscarriages. Jackman went on to explain why he doesn’t view his children as being adopted, telling the Herald Sun in 2011, “They’re our children”.
“Deb and I are believers in I suppose you could call it destiny. We feel things happened the way they are meant to. Obviously, biologically wasn’t the way we were meant to have children.”