10 Celebrities Who Were Adopted

For people who were adopted, coming to terms with understanding why their birth parents chose not to raise them can be difficult. It’s common for kids to tease each other by saying someone’s adopted (whether they are or not), but most people come to see eventually that being adopted just means that two sets of parents loved you enough to try and give you the best life they could. Adoption is extremely common around the world — some of the most successful people in history were adopted! And here are ten of them:

1) Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs’ birth father was a Syrian Muslim and his birth mother a Catholic midwesterner. His grandfather on his mother’s side wouldn’t allow the couple to get married on account of the birth father’s religion — and 1955 wasn’t a great time to be a single mom — so little baby Steve was given up at birth and adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs. His birth mother refused to sign the adoption papers until Paul and Clara promised Steve would go to college. And he did go to college, and then went on to make the iPhone and change the world. If we are a product of nature and nurture, then we should all be thanking his birth parents and the parents who raised him for making someone who impacted the world in such an awesome way.

2) Faith Hill

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Nikki Nelson / WENN

Faith Hill was adopted as a baby in Mississippi and didn’t look for her birth parents until she was an adult. She said in an interview, “I have a lot of respect for my birth mother. I know she must have had a lot of love for me to want to give what she felt was a better chance.”

3) Nicole Richie

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Nicole Richie started living with Lionel and Brenda Richie when she was three and was formally adopted when she was nine. Her birth parents were friends of Lionel and couldn’t afford to raise her. Nicole said, “They trusted that they [Lionel and Brenda Richie] would be better able to provide for me.” And now she’s rich and has a fashion line so they were probably right.

4) Snooki (Nicole Polizzi)

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Johnny Louis/

Snooki was born in Santiago, Chile and was adopted by her New Jersey parents when she was six months old. Who knew she isn’t Italian? I sure didn’t. Granted, I’ve never seen a single episode of Jersey Shore so maybe they brought it up all the time.

5) Kristin Chenoweth

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Kristin was adopted when she was five days old by an Oklahoma couple and named Kristi. She added the extra “N” to her name in college to sound more professional. And then she was Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked so I guess all those choices worked out.

6) Sarah McLachlan

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Dominic Chan/

Sarah found out she was adopted when she was nine and said she never felt like it was a big deal. “I never had this empty place in me thinking that I’ve missed out somewhere, or that I was abandoned.” But maybe knowing she was adopted is what makes her so passionate about getting animals adopted? Is that a reach? I don’t know.

7) Ray Liotta

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Sean Thorton/

Ray Liotta, famous for movies like Goodfellas, was adopted when he was six months old. He always knew he was adopted and even did a show-and-tell about it in Kindergarten. He would end up getting in touch with his biological mother when he was in his ‘50s.

8) George Lopez

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Sean Thorton/

Lopez was adopted by his grandmother and her husband after his parents abandoned him. His dad left when he was two months old and his mom left when he was 10. Since then, Lopez has gotten a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, starred on multiple TV shows named after himself, and even appeared in the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Dreams accomplished.

9) Ice-T

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Ice-T had it really rough as a kid — his mom died of a heart attack when he was 8 and his father also died of a heart attack when he was 12, leading to his aunt and uncle in Los Angeles adopting and raising him. Ice-T went on to a rap career with songs like “Cop Killer”, and now plays a cop on TV. Life really does come full circle.

10) JC Chasez

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Adriana M. Barraza/

JC Chasez’s birth mother asked her own former foster parents to take him in. They raised him as a Mennonite and formally adopted him when he was five. He became a cast member on the Mickey Mouse Club, a member of N*Sync, and now he tours with musical theater productions. Justin Timberlake even said he was the best singer of N*Sync!

I think these examples show that adoption really can be the best option for a lot of people. Are there other celebs you love who were adopted? Tweet at me @erikaheidewald and let me know!

Erika Heidewald
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