Celebrities raised by single parents

08.11.2019
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30 Celebs Who Were Raised By Single Parents
.sponsored_header{color:gray;font-size:14px}.sponsored_header_logo{width:175px}Celebrities & Pop Culture

Warning: This list may get you choked up.

Annamarya Scaccia 2018-09-19

There are a lot of misconceptions about single parenthood, but the truth is that kids raised by single parents do just as well as children from two-parent households.

In fact, many successful entertainers and business moguls have been raised by single moms and dads, and they often claim to have been strengthened by a childhood spent with one parent. Celebrities from Leonardo DiCaprio to Jodie Foster have single parents to thank for much of their success.

Angelina Jolie

Actor and humanitarian Angelina Jolie is the daughter of celebrity parents, Marcheline Bertrand and Jon Voight, but Jolie was primarily raised by her motherafter Bertrand separated from Voight when Jolie was a baby. The Mr. & Mrs. Smith star has been estranged from her father for decades.

angelina jolie photo
Getty Images | Jeff Spicer

Mariah Carey

Singer Mariah Carey was raised by her opera singer mother, Patricia Hickey, from the time that she was a toddler. Careys father and mother divorced when the Always Be My Baby artist was 3 years old. Carey didnt have much contact with her father during her childhood.

mariah carey photo
Getty Images | Tommaso Boddi

Barack Obama

Former President Barack Obama was raised by his late mother, Ann Dunham, with the help of his maternal grandparents. His parents had separated shortly after his birth in 1961 in Hawaii. Dunham passed away in 1995 after a battle with cancer.

ann dunham barack obama photo
Flickr | U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprios mom,Irmelin Indenbirken, separated from the actors father, George DiCaprio, when her son was a baby. Indenbirken raised DiCaprio mostly on her own, and the two are very close. In 2006, he toldPeople that his mom is the only person he would buy diamonds for, and for a while now she hasnt wanted one.

Apolo Anton Ohno

Apolo Ohnos mother left the family when he was 1 yearold, leaving his father, Yuki Ohno, to raise the Olympic medalist on his own. Yuki, a hairstylist, was a dedicated dad, driving his son hundreds of miles for competitions and training.

He saw something in me that I didnt see in myself, Apolo Ohnotold ABC News in 2006.

Apolo Ohno photo
Getty Images | Matthew Stockman

Halle Berry

Halle Berrys dad left when she was 4 years old. Her mother, Judith Ann, was left to raise the actor and her older sister, Heidi Berry-Henderson, on her own. Berry has been estranged from her dad since she was a child.

halle berry photo
Getty Images | Alberto E. Rodriguez

Jay-Z

Gloria Carter raised Jay-Z and his three older siblings on her own in Brooklyn, New York, after their father abandoned the family. The rapper and business mogul, who has a strong bond with his mom, has spoken candidly about his tough childhood.

Sometimes wed pay the light bill, sometimes we paid the phone, sometimes the gas went off,he told Vanity Fair in 2013.We werent starving we were eating, we were OK. But it was things like you didnt want to be embarrassed when you went to school, you didnt want to have dirty sneakers or wear the same clothes over again.

Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguileras parents, Shelly Kearns and Fausto Aguilera, separated when the vocal powerhouse was 7 years old. Kearns raised Aguilera and her younger sister, Rachel, on her own until she later remarried.

To remember the chaos that [my mother] went through, the abuse, I dont know how she did it,Aguilera told Latinain 2010. But its amazing how much you can trick your mind into surviving when you have to.

Eva Mendes

Eva Mendes parents,Eva Perez Suarez and Juan Carlos Mendez, divorced when the actor was youngand Mendes was raised primarily by her mom. Her father, though, was still present in her life during childhood. When filming 2012s Girl in Progress, Mendes called her mom a few times to tell her thank you,she told Quinceanera.com. Because its tough. Raising a child on your own is really tough.

Eva mendes photo
Getty Images | John Parra

Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves was raised primarily by his mother, Patricia Taylor, with the support of relatives, after his father, Samuel Nowlin Reeves, Jr., abandoned the family when the actor was 3 years old. Reeves did not have much contact with his father during his childhood. The John Wick actor moved around a lot as a kidand had a few stepfathers.

keanu reeves photo
Getty Images | Dia Dipasupil

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys was raised solely by her mom, TerriaJoseph, who is an actor and paralegal. Joseph has been a strong force in Keys career and gave her the push to pursue music during her childhood.

She found me a piano teacher and she found the money to pay for it and she found even a piano, Keys said during the 2016 VH1 special, Dear Mama.Who can fit a piano in a one-bedroom apartment?

Terria Joseph photo
Getty Images | Thos Robinson

Jodie Foster

Jodie Fosters dad abandoned his family before the actor was born, leaving Fosters mother, Evelyn Ella Almond, to raise her and her three siblings on her own. Fosters mom played a large role in the launch of her daughters career, which led to a tense but loving relationship between the two.

She made me do the things she couldnt do well, Foster told PorterEdit in a July interview. It was an interesting relationship that was fraught wonderful but painful, too.

jodie foster photo
Getty Images | Alberto E. Rodriguez

Kevin Hart

Comedian Kevin Hart and his olderbrother,Robert, were raised in Philadelphia solely by their mom, Nancy. Harts father, Henry Witherspoon, was in and out of his sons lives for most of the actors childhood.

The reason I am the way I am is because my mom was strong, Hart said on The Howard Stern Show. It may have affected my mom, but my mom was such a strong woman, she said, Look, regardless of whatever your fathers doing and where he is, I have a job to do raising you, youre going to do what youre supposed to do and youre going to grow up to be two intelligent men.'

kevin hart photo
Getty Images | Christopher Polk

Jon Stewart

Jon Stewarts parents, Marian and Donald Leibowitz, divorced when the comic was a preteen. Marian was left to raise Stewart and his brothers, Lawrence, Dan and Matthew, on her own. The former Daily Show host has spoken openly about his estranged relationship with his dad, andhe told The Guardian in 2015 that it was still complicated.

jon stewart photo
Getty Images | Kevin Mazur

Michael Phelps

Swimmer Michael Phelps credits his Olympic success to his mother, Debbie, who raised him and his sisters, Whitney and Hilary, on her ownafter she divorced their father, Fred. She worked hard, providing for her children on a teachers salary while also supporting Phelps athletic dreams.

The two are incredibly close: According to The New York Times, Phelps said during the 2008 Summer Olympics, Theres so much emotions going through my head, so much excitement. I guess I just want to see my mom.

Deborah Phelps photo
Getty Images | Adam Pretty

Demi Lovato

Singer Demi Lovato and her sisters were raised primarily by their mother, Dianna De La Garza. Lovatos parents divorced in the mid-1990s when the Sorry Not Sorry singer was 2 years old.

It broke my heart to realize that my girls had seen and heard so many things that must have terrified them, De La Garza wrote in her book, Falling with Wings: A Mothers Story, according to People. Starting over as a single mom was hard. But I finally felt free.

demi lovato photo
Getty Images | Neilson Barnard

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomezs parents, Mandy Teefey and Ricardo Joel Gomez, split when the singer was only 5 years old. Gomez was raised primarily by her mom, with the help of her grandparents. She had difficulty coping with the divorce growing up but has said recently that she now understands the sacrifices her mom had to make to support her family.

Its because of [my mom] that I can do things on my own, she toldGlamour in 2012.

Adele

Adeles father, Mark Evans, left the family when the Grammy Award-winning singer was 2 years old. Her mother, Penny Adkins, raised Adele on her own, and the mother-daughter duo share a close relationship. When accepting her award at the 2012 Grammys, Adele told the crowd, I just want to say, Mum, your girl did good!

Adele photo
Getty Images | Kevork Djansezian

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphys father, Charles Edward Murphy, died when the actor was 8 years old, but his parents split when he was a toddler. His mother, Lillian, was left to raise him and his late older brother, Charlie, on her own until she later remarried. At one point during their childhood, the brothers spent a year in foster care when their mother became ill a period that was influential on Murphys career.

eddie murphy photo
Getty Images | Frederick M. Brown

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts parents, Betty and Walter Roberts, divorced when the beloved actor was young. Betty soon remarried, but later divorced her second husband and raised her children on her own. Roberts mom passed away in 2015 after a battle with cancer a loss that still breaks the actors heart. Roberts told People in 2017that she still thinks about her mother all the time.

julia roberts photo
Getty Images | Frederick M. Brown

Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan was raised by his mother, May, after his father, Thomas Brosnan, left the family when the actor was an infant. May moved to London for work when Brosnan was 4 years old, and the veteran actor was then largely raised by his grandparents, Philip and Kathleen Smith.

pierce brosnan photo
Getty Images | Matt Winkelmeyer

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey was raised by her grandmother for the first few years of her life, and then at the age of 6, she moved with her mother, Vernita Lee, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a teenager, the iconic television mogul, who had a difficult childhood,was sent to live with her father, Vernon Winfrey. In 1986, Winfrey told the New York Times, His discipline channeled my need for love and attention into a new direction.

Oprah Winfrey photo
Getty Images | Christopher Polk

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarksons parents, Jeanne Ann and Stephen Michael Clarkson, divorced when the award-winning singer was 6 years old. Clarkson was raised solely by her mom, while her brother, Jason, was raised by their dad, and her sister, Alyssa, was raised by an aunt. The American Idol is close to her mother and has been open about her difficult and estranged relationship with her dad.

kelly clarkson photo
Getty Images | Mike Coppola

50 Cent

Growing up, 50 Cent didnt know his father and he was raised by his mother, Sabrina, until she passed awaywhen he was 8 years old. He was raised by his grandmother following Sabrinas death.

50 Cent photo
Getty Images | JC Olivera

Sean Diddy Combs

Sean Diddy Combs father, Melvin, died when the entertainment mogul was a toddler. Combs and his sister were raised solely by his mother, Janice, after Melvins passing. The rapper has said his mother was always by his side, through thick and thin.

Every single day, she was there, Combs told VH1 this year. And thats something that youd expect, but it meant so much to me. It meant so much to me.

Sean Combs photo
Getty Images | Rich Fury

Samuel L. Jackson

Actor Samuel L. Jackson was an only child raised by his mother, Elizabeth, with the help of his grandparents and extended family. He didnt have a relationship with his father, Roy Henry Jackson, whom he had only met twice. Jacksonspeaks fondly of his childhood, praising his mother for how hard she worked to take care of him.

samuel l jackson photo
Getty Images | Stuart C. Wilson

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand and her older brother, Sheldon, were raised by Streisands mother, Diana, after her father, Emanuel, died following an epileptic seizure. Streisand was just a toddler at the time of her fathers death. The iconic performer has had a difficult relationship with her mom, who was often critical of Streisand.

Mary J. Blige

Singer and actor Mary J. Blige was raised by her mother, Cora, after her father, Thomas Blige, left the family in the mid-1970s. Blige has a strong relationship with her mom.

You were to us the greatest dancer, the greatest mother, the greatest cook, the greatest friend, Blige told her mother during VH1s 2017 Dear Mama special. I know I didnt listen to you a lot when I was younger, but I can hear you so clearly now as a woman.

mary j blige photo
Getty Images | Frazer Harrison

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert was raised by his mother, Lorna, after his father, James, and two brothers, Peter and Paul, died in a plane crash in 1974 when Colbert was 10 years old. Colbert was extremely close to his mother, and the late-night talk show host was devastated when she passed away in 2013.

I know it may sound greedy to want more days with a person who lived so long, he said during an episode of his former show, The Colbert Report. But the fact that my mother was 92 does not diminish it; it only magnifies the enormity of the room whose door has now quietly shut.

stephen colbert photo
Getty Images | Tara Ziemba

Kanye West

Rapper Kanye West owes much of his success to his late mother, Donda West, who played a big role in his career. Donda raised Kanye on her own after divorcing his father when the rapper was a toddler. The mother-son duo were incredibly close and before her death, she even served as his momager.Donda West died in late 2007 due to complications from plastic surgery.

donda west photo
Getty Images | Kevin Winter
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celebrities raised by single parents
30 Celebs Who Were Raised By Single Parents
.sponsored_header{color:gray;font-size:14px}.sponsored_header_logo{width:175px}Celebrities & Pop Culture

Warning: This list may get you choked up.

Annamarya Scaccia 2018-09-19

There are a lot of misconceptions about single parenthood, but the truth is that kids raised by single parents do just as well as children from two-parent households.

In fact, many successful entertainers and business moguls have been raised by single moms and dads, and they often claim to have been strengthened by a childhood spent with one parent. Celebrities from Leonardo DiCaprio to Jodie Foster have single parents to thank for much of their success.

Angelina Jolie

Actor and humanitarian Angelina Jolie is the daughter of celebrity parents, Marcheline Bertrand and Jon Voight, but Jolie was primarily raised by her motherafter Bertrand separated from Voight when Jolie was a baby. The Mr. & Mrs. Smith star has been estranged from her father for decades.

angelina jolie photo
Getty Images | Jeff Spicer

Mariah Carey

Singer Mariah Carey was raised by her opera singer mother, Patricia Hickey, from the time that she was a toddler. Careys father and mother divorced when the Always Be My Baby artist was 3 years old. Carey didnt have much contact with her father during her childhood.

mariah carey photo
Getty Images | Tommaso Boddi

Barack Obama

Former President Barack Obama was raised by his late mother, Ann Dunham, with the help of his maternal grandparents. His parents had separated shortly after his birth in 1961 in Hawaii. Dunham passed away in 1995 after a battle with cancer.

ann dunham barack obama photo
Flickr | U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprios mom,Irmelin Indenbirken, separated from the actors father, George DiCaprio, when her son was a baby. Indenbirken raised DiCaprio mostly on her own, and the two are very close. In 2006, he toldPeople that his mom is the only person he would buy diamonds for, and for a while now she hasnt wanted one.

Apolo Anton Ohno

Apolo Ohnos mother left the family when he was 1 yearold, leaving his father, Yuki Ohno, to raise the Olympic medalist on his own. Yuki, a hairstylist, was a dedicated dad, driving his son hundreds of miles for competitions and training.

He saw something in me that I didnt see in myself, Apolo Ohnotold ABC News in 2006.

Apolo Ohno photo
Getty Images | Matthew Stockman

Halle Berry

Halle Berrys dad left when she was 4 years old. Her mother, Judith Ann, was left to raise the actor and her older sister, Heidi Berry-Henderson, on her own. Berry has been estranged from her dad since she was a child.

halle berry photo
Getty Images | Alberto E. Rodriguez

Jay-Z

Gloria Carter raised Jay-Z and his three older siblings on her own in Brooklyn, New York, after their father abandoned the family. The rapper and business mogul, who has a strong bond with his mom, has spoken candidly about his tough childhood.

Sometimes wed pay the light bill, sometimes we paid the phone, sometimes the gas went off,he told Vanity Fair in 2013.We werent starving we were eating, we were OK. But it was things like you didnt want to be embarrassed when you went to school, you didnt want to have dirty sneakers or wear the same clothes over again.

Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguileras parents, Shelly Kearns and Fausto Aguilera, separated when the vocal powerhouse was 7 years old. Kearns raised Aguilera and her younger sister, Rachel, on her own until she later remarried.

To remember the chaos that [my mother] went through, the abuse, I dont know how she did it,Aguilera told Latinain 2010. But its amazing how much you can trick your mind into surviving when you have to.

Eva Mendes

Eva Mendes parents,Eva Perez Suarez and Juan Carlos Mendez, divorced when the actor was youngand Mendes was raised primarily by her mom. Her father, though, was still present in her life during childhood. When filming 2012s Girl in Progress, Mendes called her mom a few times to tell her thank you,she told Quinceanera.com. Because its tough. Raising a child on your own is really tough.

Eva mendes photo
Getty Images | John Parra

Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves was raised primarily by his mother, Patricia Taylor, with the support of relatives, after his father, Samuel Nowlin Reeves, Jr., abandoned the family when the actor was 3 years old. Reeves did not have much contact with his father during his childhood. The John Wick actor moved around a lot as a kidand had a few stepfathers.

keanu reeves photo
Getty Images | Dia Dipasupil

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys was raised solely by her mom, TerriaJoseph, who is an actor and paralegal. Joseph has been a strong force in Keys career and gave her the push to pursue music during her childhood.

She found me a piano teacher and she found the money to pay for it and she found even a piano, Keys said during the 2016 VH1 special, Dear Mama.Who can fit a piano in a one-bedroom apartment?

Terria Joseph photo
Getty Images | Thos Robinson

Jodie Foster

Jodie Fosters dad abandoned his family before the actor was born, leaving Fosters mother, Evelyn Ella Almond, to raise her and her three siblings on her own. Fosters mom played a large role in the launch of her daughters career, which led to a tense but loving relationship between the two.

She made me do the things she couldnt do well, Foster told PorterEdit in a July interview. It was an interesting relationship that was fraught wonderful but painful, too.

jodie foster photo
Getty Images | Alberto E. Rodriguez

Kevin Hart

Comedian Kevin Hart and his olderbrother,Robert, were raised in Philadelphia solely by their mom, Nancy. Harts father, Henry Witherspoon, was in and out of his sons lives for most of the actors childhood.

The reason I am the way I am is because my mom was strong, Hart said on The Howard Stern Show. It may have affected my mom, but my mom was such a strong woman, she said, Look, regardless of whatever your fathers doing and where he is, I have a job to do raising you, youre going to do what youre supposed to do and youre going to grow up to be two intelligent men.'

kevin hart photo
Getty Images | Christopher Polk

Jon Stewart

Jon Stewarts parents, Marian and Donald Leibowitz, divorced when the comic was a preteen. Marian was left to raise Stewart and his brothers, Lawrence, Dan and Matthew, on her own. The former Daily Show host has spoken openly about his estranged relationship with his dad, andhe told The Guardian in 2015 that it was still complicated.

jon stewart photo
Getty Images | Kevin Mazur

Michael Phelps

Swimmer Michael Phelps credits his Olympic success to his mother, Debbie, who raised him and his sisters, Whitney and Hilary, on her ownafter she divorced their father, Fred. She worked hard, providing for her children on a teachers salary while also supporting Phelps athletic dreams.

The two are incredibly close: According to The New York Times, Phelps said during the 2008 Summer Olympics, Theres so much emotions going through my head, so much excitement. I guess I just want to see my mom.

Deborah Phelps photo
Getty Images | Adam Pretty

Demi Lovato

Singer Demi Lovato and her sisters were raised primarily by their mother, Dianna De La Garza. Lovatos parents divorced in the mid-1990s when the Sorry Not Sorry singer was 2 years old.

It broke my heart to realize that my girls had seen and heard so many things that must have terrified them, De La Garza wrote in her book, Falling with Wings: A Mothers Story, according to People. Starting over as a single mom was hard. But I finally felt free.

demi lovato photo
Getty Images | Neilson Barnard

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomezs parents, Mandy Teefey and Ricardo Joel Gomez, split when the singer was only 5 years old. Gomez was raised primarily by her mom, with the help of her grandparents. She had difficulty coping with the divorce growing up but has said recently that she now understands the sacrifices her mom had to make to support her family.

Its because of [my mom] that I can do things on my own, she toldGlamour in 2012.

Adele

Adeles father, Mark Evans, left the family when the Grammy Award-winning singer was 2 years old. Her mother, Penny Adkins, raised Adele on her own, and the mother-daughter duo share a close relationship. When accepting her award at the 2012 Grammys, Adele told the crowd, I just want to say, Mum, your girl did good!

Adele photo
Getty Images | Kevork Djansezian

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphys father, Charles Edward Murphy, died when the actor was 8 years old, but his parents split when he was a toddler. His mother, Lillian, was left to raise him and his late older brother, Charlie, on her own until she later remarried. At one point during their childhood, the brothers spent a year in foster care when their mother became ill a period that was influential on Murphys career.

eddie murphy photo
Getty Images | Frederick M. Brown

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts parents, Betty and Walter Roberts, divorced when the beloved actor was young. Betty soon remarried, but later divorced her second husband and raised her children on her own. Roberts mom passed away in 2015 after a battle with cancer a loss that still breaks the actors heart. Roberts told People in 2017that she still thinks about her mother all the time.

julia roberts photo
Getty Images | Frederick M. Brown

Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan was raised by his mother, May, after his father, Thomas Brosnan, left the family when the actor was an infant. May moved to London for work when Brosnan was 4 years old, and the veteran actor was then largely raised by his grandparents, Philip and Kathleen Smith.

pierce brosnan photo
Getty Images | Matt Winkelmeyer

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey was raised by her grandmother for the first few years of her life, and then at the age of 6, she moved with her mother, Vernita Lee, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a teenager, the iconic television mogul, who had a difficult childhood,was sent to live with her father, Vernon Winfrey. In 1986, Winfrey told the New York Times, His discipline channeled my need for love and attention into a new direction.

Oprah Winfrey photo
Getty Images | Christopher Polk

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarksons parents, Jeanne Ann and Stephen Michael Clarkson, divorced when the award-winning singer was 6 years old. Clarkson was raised solely by her mom, while her brother, Jason, was raised by their dad, and her sister, Alyssa, was raised by an aunt. The American Idol is close to her mother and has been open about her difficult and estranged relationship with her dad.

kelly clarkson photo
Getty Images | Mike Coppola

50 Cent

Growing up, 50 Cent didnt know his father and he was raised by his mother, Sabrina, until she passed awaywhen he was 8 years old. He was raised by his grandmother following Sabrinas death.

50 Cent photo
Getty Images | JC Olivera

Sean Diddy Combs

Sean Diddy Combs father, Melvin, died when the entertainment mogul was a toddler. Combs and his sister were raised solely by his mother, Janice, after Melvins passing. The rapper has said his mother was always by his side, through thick and thin.

Every single day, she was there, Combs told VH1 this year. And thats something that youd expect, but it meant so much to me. It meant so much to me.

Sean Combs photo
Getty Images | Rich Fury

Samuel L. Jackson

Actor Samuel L. Jackson was an only child raised by his mother, Elizabeth, with the help of his grandparents and extended family. He didnt have a relationship with his father, Roy Henry Jackson, whom he had only met twice. Jacksonspeaks fondly of his childhood, praising his mother for how hard she worked to take care of him.

samuel l jackson photo
Getty Images | Stuart C. Wilson

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand and her older brother, Sheldon, were raised by Streisands mother, Diana, after her father, Emanuel, died following an epileptic seizure. Streisand was just a toddler at the time of her fathers death. The iconic performer has had a difficult relationship with her mom, who was often critical of Streisand.

Mary J. Blige

Singer and actor Mary J. Blige was raised by her mother, Cora, after her father, Thomas Blige, left the family in the mid-1970s. Blige has a strong relationship with her mom.

You were to us the greatest dancer, the greatest mother, the greatest cook, the greatest friend, Blige told her mother during VH1s 2017 Dear Mama special. I know I didnt listen to you a lot when I was younger, but I can hear you so clearly now as a woman.

mary j blige photo
Getty Images | Frazer Harrison

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert was raised by his mother, Lorna, after his father, James, and two brothers, Peter and Paul, died in a plane crash in 1974 when Colbert was 10 years old. Colbert was extremely close to his mother, and the late-night talk show host was devastated when she passed away in 2013.

I know it may sound greedy to want more days with a person who lived so long, he said during an episode of his former show, The Colbert Report. But the fact that my mother was 92 does not diminish it; it only magnifies the enormity of the room whose door has now quietly shut.

stephen colbert photo
Getty Images | Tara Ziemba

Kanye West

Rapper Kanye West owes much of his success to his late mother, Donda West, who played a big role in his career. Donda raised Kanye on her own after divorcing his father when the rapper was a toddler. The mother-son duo were incredibly close and before her death, she even served as his momager.Donda West died in late 2007 due to complications from plastic surgery.

donda west photo
Getty Images | Kevin Winter
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Vans is selling the prettiest glittery pink sneakers

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30 Celebs Who Were Raised By Single Parents
.sponsored_header{color:gray;font-size:14px}.sponsored_header_logo{width:175px}Celebrities & Pop Culture

Warning: This list may get you choked up.

Annamarya Scaccia 2018-09-19

There are a lot of misconceptions about single parenthood, but the truth is that kids raised by single parents do just as well as children from two-parent households.

In fact, many successful entertainers and business moguls have been raised by single moms and dads, and they often claim to have been strengthened by a childhood spent with one parent. Celebrities from Leonardo DiCaprio to Jodie Foster have single parents to thank for much of their success.

Angelina Jolie

Actor and humanitarian Angelina Jolie is the daughter of celebrity parents, Marcheline Bertrand and Jon Voight, but Jolie was primarily raised by her motherafter Bertrand separated from Voight when Jolie was a baby. The Mr. & Mrs. Smith star has been estranged from her father for decades.

angelina jolie photo
Getty Images | Jeff Spicer

Mariah Carey

Singer Mariah Carey was raised by her opera singer mother, Patricia Hickey, from the time that she was a toddler. Careys father and mother divorced when the Always Be My Baby artist was 3 years old. Carey didnt have much contact with her father during her childhood.

mariah carey photo
Getty Images | Tommaso Boddi

Barack Obama

Former President Barack Obama was raised by his late mother, Ann Dunham, with the help of his maternal grandparents. His parents had separated shortly after his birth in 1961 in Hawaii. Dunham passed away in 1995 after a battle with cancer.

ann dunham barack obama photo
Flickr | U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprios mom,Irmelin Indenbirken, separated from the actors father, George DiCaprio, when her son was a baby. Indenbirken raised DiCaprio mostly on her own, and the two are very close. In 2006, he toldPeople that his mom is the only person he would buy diamonds for, and for a while now she hasnt wanted one.

Apolo Anton Ohno

Apolo Ohnos mother left the family when he was 1 yearold, leaving his father, Yuki Ohno, to raise the Olympic medalist on his own. Yuki, a hairstylist, was a dedicated dad, driving his son hundreds of miles for competitions and training.

He saw something in me that I didnt see in myself, Apolo Ohnotold ABC News in 2006.

Apolo Ohno photo
Getty Images | Matthew Stockman

Halle Berry

Halle Berrys dad left when she was 4 years old. Her mother, Judith Ann, was left to raise the actor and her older sister, Heidi Berry-Henderson, on her own. Berry has been estranged from her dad since she was a child.

halle berry photo
Getty Images | Alberto E. Rodriguez

Jay-Z

Gloria Carter raised Jay-Z and his three older siblings on her own in Brooklyn, New York, after their father abandoned the family. The rapper and business mogul, who has a strong bond with his mom, has spoken candidly about his tough childhood.

Sometimes wed pay the light bill, sometimes we paid the phone, sometimes the gas went off,he told Vanity Fair in 2013.We werent starving we were eating, we were OK. But it was things like you didnt want to be embarrassed when you went to school, you didnt want to have dirty sneakers or wear the same clothes over again.

Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguileras parents, Shelly Kearns and Fausto Aguilera, separated when the vocal powerhouse was 7 years old. Kearns raised Aguilera and her younger sister, Rachel, on her own until she later remarried.

To remember the chaos that [my mother] went through, the abuse, I dont know how she did it,Aguilera told Latinain 2010. But its amazing how much you can trick your mind into surviving when you have to.

Eva Mendes

Eva Mendes parents,Eva Perez Suarez and Juan Carlos Mendez, divorced when the actor was youngand Mendes was raised primarily by her mom. Her father, though, was still present in her life during childhood. When filming 2012s Girl in Progress, Mendes called her mom a few times to tell her thank you,she told Quinceanera.com. Because its tough. Raising a child on your own is really tough.

Eva mendes photo
Getty Images | John Parra

Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves was raised primarily by his mother, Patricia Taylor, with the support of relatives, after his father, Samuel Nowlin Reeves, Jr., abandoned the family when the actor was 3 years old. Reeves did not have much contact with his father during his childhood. The John Wick actor moved around a lot as a kidand had a few stepfathers.

keanu reeves photo
Getty Images | Dia Dipasupil

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys was raised solely by her mom, TerriaJoseph, who is an actor and paralegal. Joseph has been a strong force in Keys career and gave her the push to pursue music during her childhood.

She found me a piano teacher and she found the money to pay for it and she found even a piano, Keys said during the 2016 VH1 special, Dear Mama.Who can fit a piano in a one-bedroom apartment?

Terria Joseph photo
Getty Images | Thos Robinson

Jodie Foster

Jodie Fosters dad abandoned his family before the actor was born, leaving Fosters mother, Evelyn Ella Almond, to raise her and her three siblings on her own. Fosters mom played a large role in the launch of her daughters career, which led to a tense but loving relationship between the two.

She made me do the things she couldnt do well, Foster told PorterEdit in a July interview. It was an interesting relationship that was fraught wonderful but painful, too.

jodie foster photo
Getty Images | Alberto E. Rodriguez

Kevin Hart

Comedian Kevin Hart and his olderbrother,Robert, were raised in Philadelphia solely by their mom, Nancy. Harts father, Henry Witherspoon, was in and out of his sons lives for most of the actors childhood.

The reason I am the way I am is because my mom was strong, Hart said on The Howard Stern Show. It may have affected my mom, but my mom was such a strong woman, she said, Look, regardless of whatever your fathers doing and where he is, I have a job to do raising you, youre going to do what youre supposed to do and youre going to grow up to be two intelligent men.'

kevin hart photo
Getty Images | Christopher Polk

Jon Stewart

Jon Stewarts parents, Marian and Donald Leibowitz, divorced when the comic was a preteen. Marian was left to raise Stewart and his brothers, Lawrence, Dan and Matthew, on her own. The former Daily Show host has spoken openly about his estranged relationship with his dad, andhe told The Guardian in 2015 that it was still complicated.

jon stewart photo
Getty Images | Kevin Mazur

Michael Phelps

Swimmer Michael Phelps credits his Olympic success to his mother, Debbie, who raised him and his sisters, Whitney and Hilary, on her ownafter she divorced their father, Fred. She worked hard, providing for her children on a teachers salary while also supporting Phelps athletic dreams.

The two are incredibly close: According to The New York Times, Phelps said during the 2008 Summer Olympics, Theres so much emotions going through my head, so much excitement. I guess I just want to see my mom.

Deborah Phelps photo
Getty Images | Adam Pretty

Demi Lovato

Singer Demi Lovato and her sisters were raised primarily by their mother, Dianna De La Garza. Lovatos parents divorced in the mid-1990s when the Sorry Not Sorry singer was 2 years old.

It broke my heart to realize that my girls had seen and heard so many things that must have terrified them, De La Garza wrote in her book, Falling with Wings: A Mothers Story, according to People. Starting over as a single mom was hard. But I finally felt free.

demi lovato photo
Getty Images | Neilson Barnard

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomezs parents, Mandy Teefey and Ricardo Joel Gomez, split when the singer was only 5 years old. Gomez was raised primarily by her mom, with the help of her grandparents. She had difficulty coping with the divorce growing up but has said recently that she now understands the sacrifices her mom had to make to support her family.

Its because of [my mom] that I can do things on my own, she toldGlamour in 2012.

Adele

Adeles father, Mark Evans, left the family when the Grammy Award-winning singer was 2 years old. Her mother, Penny Adkins, raised Adele on her own, and the mother-daughter duo share a close relationship. When accepting her award at the 2012 Grammys, Adele told the crowd, I just want to say, Mum, your girl did good!

Adele photo
Getty Images | Kevork Djansezian

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphys father, Charles Edward Murphy, died when the actor was 8 years old, but his parents split when he was a toddler. His mother, Lillian, was left to raise him and his late older brother, Charlie, on her own until she later remarried. At one point during their childhood, the brothers spent a year in foster care when their mother became ill a period that was influential on Murphys career.

eddie murphy photo
Getty Images | Frederick M. Brown

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts parents, Betty and Walter Roberts, divorced when the beloved actor was young. Betty soon remarried, but later divorced her second husband and raised her children on her own. Roberts mom passed away in 2015 after a battle with cancer a loss that still breaks the actors heart. Roberts told People in 2017that she still thinks about her mother all the time.

julia roberts photo
Getty Images | Frederick M. Brown

Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan was raised by his mother, May, after his father, Thomas Brosnan, left the family when the actor was an infant. May moved to London for work when Brosnan was 4 years old, and the veteran actor was then largely raised by his grandparents, Philip and Kathleen Smith.

pierce brosnan photo
Getty Images | Matt Winkelmeyer

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey was raised by her grandmother for the first few years of her life, and then at the age of 6, she moved with her mother, Vernita Lee, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a teenager, the iconic television mogul, who had a difficult childhood,was sent to live with her father, Vernon Winfrey. In 1986, Winfrey told the New York Times, His discipline channeled my need for love and attention into a new direction.

Oprah Winfrey photo
Getty Images | Christopher Polk

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarksons parents, Jeanne Ann and Stephen Michael Clarkson, divorced when the award-winning singer was 6 years old. Clarkson was raised solely by her mom, while her brother, Jason, was raised by their dad, and her sister, Alyssa, was raised by an aunt. The American Idol is close to her mother and has been open about her difficult and estranged relationship with her dad.

kelly clarkson photo
Getty Images | Mike Coppola

50 Cent

Growing up, 50 Cent didnt know his father and he was raised by his mother, Sabrina, until she passed awaywhen he was 8 years old. He was raised by his grandmother following Sabrinas death.

50 Cent photo
Getty Images | JC Olivera

Sean Diddy Combs

Sean Diddy Combs father, Melvin, died when the entertainment mogul was a toddler. Combs and his sister were raised solely by his mother, Janice, after Melvins passing. The rapper has said his mother was always by his side, through thick and thin.

Every single day, she was there, Combs told VH1 this year. And thats something that youd expect, but it meant so much to me. It meant so much to me.

Sean Combs photo
Getty Images | Rich Fury

Samuel L. Jackson

Actor Samuel L. Jackson was an only child raised by his mother, Elizabeth, with the help of his grandparents and extended family. He didnt have a relationship with his father, Roy Henry Jackson, whom he had only met twice. Jacksonspeaks fondly of his childhood, praising his mother for how hard she worked to take care of him.

samuel l jackson photo
Getty Images | Stuart C. Wilson

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand and her older brother, Sheldon, were raised by Streisands mother, Diana, after her father, Emanuel, died following an epileptic seizure. Streisand was just a toddler at the time of her fathers death. The iconic performer has had a difficult relationship with her mom, who was often critical of Streisand.

Mary J. Blige

Singer and actor Mary J. Blige was raised by her mother, Cora, after her father, Thomas Blige, left the family in the mid-1970s. Blige has a strong relationship with her mom.

You were to us the greatest dancer, the greatest mother, the greatest cook, the greatest friend, Blige told her mother during VH1s 2017 Dear Mama special. I know I didnt listen to you a lot when I was younger, but I can hear you so clearly now as a woman.

mary j blige photo
Getty Images | Frazer Harrison

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert was raised by his mother, Lorna, after his father, James, and two brothers, Peter and Paul, died in a plane crash in 1974 when Colbert was 10 years old. Colbert was extremely close to his mother, and the late-night talk show host was devastated when she passed away in 2013.

I know it may sound greedy to want more days with a person who lived so long, he said during an episode of his former show, The Colbert Report. But the fact that my mother was 92 does not diminish it; it only magnifies the enormity of the room whose door has now quietly shut.

stephen colbert photo
Getty Images | Tara Ziemba

Kanye West

Rapper Kanye West owes much of his success to his late mother, Donda West, who played a big role in his career. Donda raised Kanye on her own after divorcing his father when the rapper was a toddler. The mother-son duo were incredibly close and before her death, she even served as his momager.Donda West died in late 2007 due to complications from plastic surgery.

donda west photo
Getty Images | Kevin Winter
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