Adoption impacts everyone in the United States. According to the website Adoption Network, there are approximately 1.5 million adopted children in the United States, which is 2% of the population, or one out of 50 children. Those numbers include some famous faces as well — celebrities you didn’t know were adopted.
While every adoption story is important, it’s always a welcome addition when a celeb talks about their experience. That public admission takes away the societal shame of adoption, the stigma many people feel about it, and shows the beauty behind giving a child a good home.
So, with that in mind, we created a list of 31 celebrities who weren’t raised by their birth parents. Some of them may surprise you!
1. Steve Jobs
First on our list of celebrities who you didn’t know were adopted: the late Apple CEO. Steve Jobs’s biological father was Abdulfattah Jandali, a Syrian Muslim. Jandali’s girlfriend at the time was Joanne Schieble, but her parents objected to their mixed relationship, resulting in Steve Jobs’ adoption at birth by Paul and Clara Jobs.
2. Nicole Richie
Nicole was adopted by singer Lionel Richie and his then-wife Brenda when she was 9 years old. She was born Nicole Camille Escovedo, and her biological parents are Peter Michael Escovedo, a musician who toured briefly with Lionel, and Karen Moss, an assistant to Nicole’s aunt, singer and drummer Sheila E. When Nicole was four, her birth parents agreed to let her move in with Lionel and Brenda, as they were unable to care for her financially. About being adopted, Nicole has said, “My parents were friends with Lionel. They trusted that they would be better able to provide for me.”
3. Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx was sent to live with his mother’s parents at a young age. Fun fact: Jamie’s mother was also adopted.
The DJ, born Sonny John Moore, was adopted at birth by family friends of his biological parents. He found out when he was 16.
Letting children learn the truth about their birth parents — or when and how to tell them — is a tricky road. We have some links that can help at the end of this article