Adoption is a part of life that many people have experienced in one way or another – either by adopting a child, being adopted, or lovingly choosing an adoption plan for his/her own child. It is something that affects people of all walks of life. Even celebrities!
While many of us may think of famous women like Madonna or Hoda Kotb when we hear “celebrity” and “adoption” in the same breath, there are also many famous men out there who have been touched by this loving act. In light of Father’s Day this month, Adoptions With Love has put together a list of some famous men who have an adoption story to share – some who have adopted, some who were adopted, and some whose biological child was placed. Check it out!
- Hugh Jackman (Adoptive Father)
We first mentioned superhero and super-dad Hugh Jackman in our blog about Famous Adoptive Fathers. The actor and his wife, Deborra (is this spelled correctly?)-Lee Furness, have openly and proudly discussed the adoption of their mixed-race children, Oscar and Ava. The actor has been quoted as saying, “Adoption is about taking a baby into your home — and your heart. [It is] the best thing [we have] ever done.”
- Ewan McGregor (Adoptive Father)
Before taking on the Dark Side in “Star Wars,” the Scottish actor started a family. He has two biological children and two adopted children. The actor welcomed Jamiyan from Mongolia in 2008 and Annouk in 2011. He is notoriously private when it comes to his family, but has stated that he spends as much time with his children as possible:
“I’ve tried to make sure that my daughters felt that they were each very special to me, and that I’d always make time for them – I think that’s one of the most important things to do as a dad. You need to pay attention.”
- Tom Cruise (Adoptive Father)
After reaching fame from hit films such as “Risky Business” and “A Few Good Men,” Tom Cruise adopted his daughter, Isabella, with then-wife Nicole Kidman. Two years later, the celebrity couple welcomed their adopted son, Connor, to their family. In discussing his family make-up, comprised of both adopted and biological children, this famous father said:
“My adopted children are my own children. There is no separation in that for me whatsoever. There’s no way there is any difference and anyone who has adopted would say the same. I’ve been up in the middle of the night changing diapers, there’s no question in terms of me being the father; that bond couldn’t be any stronger.”
- Ty Burrell (Adoptive Father)
The “Modern Family” star and his wife, Holly, married in 2000 and have built quite the “modern family” since. The two announced the adoption of their first daughter, Frances, in March 2010. Two years later, they welcomed their second adopted daughter home. In an interview about his work on Disney’s “Finding Dory,” Burrell once explained that one of the best unplanned things to ever happen to him were adopting his children:
“In a in a weird way, it wasn’t planned, it’s a weird thing how adoptions can sometimes be as irrational as regular birth,” the actor said of their decision to adopt. “My wife Holly and I were on an airplane on a flight from LA to New York and when we got on the flight, we had intended to never have kids… When we got off in New York, we were crying that we were going to have a kid, so it was unplanned. And then, when we did it again, it was similarly irrational.”
- Scott Hamilton (Adopted Person & Adoptive Father)
Long before the Olympic gold medal champion skater was dazzling the world with his triple axels and backflips on ice, he was adopted at six-weeks-old by Dorothy and Ernest Hamilton. Ernest was a professor of biology at Bowling Green State University and Dorothy was a grade school teacher who later became an associate professor at Bowling Green. Scott Hamilton has an older sister, Susan, who was the family’s firstborn biological child, as well as a younger brother, who is also adopted.
Fast-forward a few decades, and Scott Hamilton’s adoption story continues. In 2010, he and his wife, Tracie, decided to adopt two children from Haiti after the massive earthquake hit. After two years of the international adoption process, they welcomed their two children Jean Paul and Evelyne home.
- Jamie Foxx (Adopted Person)
The Oscar-winning actor and talented singer is a second-generation adoptee — his mother was adopted, as well. His maternal grandmother adopted him when he was just seven-months-old. In September of 2017, he opened up about his adoption story on his hit game show, “Beat Shazam,” telling the audience:
“You know what’s amazing? I was adopted at seven months and I’m going to tell you what that means. My grandmother? That’s not actually my biological grandmother. That’s somebody who said, ‘I see something in that little boy that’s very special’… And she made sure I had every tool that I needed to grow and expand.”
- Ray Liotta (Adopted Person)
This Emmy-winning “Goodfella” was born in New Jersey and adopted by Mary and Alfred Liotta when he was just six-months-old. Since he was a child, he knew he was adopted – he even did a show-and tell-report on his adoption story when he was in kindergarten. Liotta met his birth parents and siblings when he was in his 40s. In an interview with Larry King, Liotta once said:
“I used to wear being adopted on my sleeve… And I realized when I met [my birth mother], there were really valid reasons, and that almost 99 percent of kids that are put up for adoption are always for the betterment of the kid. The household, the situation, the age just dictates that that’s the best thing to do for the child.”
- Marcus Samuelsson (Adopted Person)
You may recognize Marcus Samuelsson from his appearances on Chopped, Iron Chef, Top Chef, and Beat Bobby Flay, among many other Food Network favorites. What many do not know, however, is that this famed chef was also adopted. He was born in Ethiopia, adopted and raised by a white couple in Sweden. A few years ago, Samuelsson wrote about his adoption journey, and about trans-racial adoption, in the Huffington Post:
“The journey into adoption started for my parents, as it does with so many families: my mother and father desperately wanted to have kids, but they couldn’t. I came into this environment where there was so much love, so much positive energy. I never heard my parents say, “We have adopted kids.” The minute my sister Linda and I landed in Sweden, we were their kids,” Samuelsson begins.
Samuelsson continues to recognize his adoptive parents, and their differences, throughout his article: “We knew we had different skin colors and were from different countries, but that never stopped my parents from doing the hard work of parenting. My parents were there: in front of me, behind me, in the middle of my life at all times: reprimanding me, giving me confidence, teaching me valuable lessons, to help make me the man I am today.”
- Steve Jobs (Adopted Person)
Steve Jobs is a household name in the tech world. He is the founder of Apple computers, the mind behind the Mac, and the innovator behind your iPhone. Did you know that Steve Jobs was also adopted as an infant?
Steve Jobs was raised in a stable, lower middle-class home by two loving adoptive parents. He believed that his interest in computers stemmed from his adoptive father, Paul, a machinist who spent his spare time fixing old cars. Growing up, Jobs adored his father and called him “a genius with his hands.” His father taught him the basics of electronics and the two would spend weekends together looking for spare parts. According to sources, Jobs’ parents were warm, loving, and made him feel special, saying they had “picked him out.” They also carried out their promise to Jobs’ birth mother to send him to college, though he dropped out after one year. It is believed that, if Steve Jobs had been raised by his birth parents (who led very nomadic lives), he would not have fostered the same passion for technology.
- Andy Kaufman (Birth Father)
Before becoming a famed comedian, Andy Kaufman and his high school girlfriend made an adoption plan for their infant daughter in 1969. Two decades later, after a search for her birth mother, Maria Bellu-Colonna learned she was Kaufman’s birth daughter. She then reunited with her birth mother, paternal grandfather, uncle, and aunt, but due to his passing, never met Andy himself.
Maria Bellu says her adoption experience was generally positive. “I was always told, ‘You’re adopted, and that’s why you’re so special to us,’” she explains. “But I always felt I was different from the people who were bringing me up,” which is what encouraged her adoption search.
- Rod Stewart (Birth Father)
Before the fame and fortune, Rod Stewart was just a teenager with a heart full of love and passion, but not a penny in his pocket. When he was 17 or 18-years-old, Stewart and his then-girlfriend, Sue Boffey, got pregnant. “I was stone broke,” the rock star now recalls, and could not afford to raise a child. The romance came to an end and the young couple chose to make an adoption plan for their baby girl.
Rod Stewart’s first biological daughter, Sarah Streeter, is now 55-years-old and the two are in touch. She found him when she turned 18, but it took time for the birth father and daughter to build a relationship. It has been a process, they both admit, but getting to know each other has been both delicate and rewarding.
“There’s no anger there,” Streeter has said of her feelings on adoption and her birth parents’ choice. “I never was angry about what happened really, just sad. But now I’m older I see things differently and realize that it has been as difficult for him over the years as it has been for me. Now we’re at the start of a new chapter, and that’s wonderful.”
As evidenced by this list, it is clear that adoption touches all kinds of people, even celebrities. In addition to the 11 famous men listed here, Adoptions With Love also recognizes Nelson Mandela, George Lopez, John Lennon, Michael Bay, Babe Ruth, Jesse Jackson, Albert Einstein, Dave Thomas, famous athletes, and the millions of other men – famous or not – affected by adoption. Do you know of any other famous men touched by adoption? Share their stories here!
If you would like to grow your family through adoption, please visit adoptionswithlove.org/adoptive-parents. If you know or love someone who is pregnant and would like to learn more about this choice, please do not hesitate to reach out by calling Adoptions With Love toll-free at 800-722-7731. We are here for you.