famous adopted people

Many people think of adoption as something confined to certain families across the world. Most people have biological children and for some, adoption is still a scary word. The truth, however, is that adoption is a natural part of life and many people take part in it. Whether you were adopted, have adopted, or know someone within the adoption community, your story is valid and more common than you might think. What many people don’t know, however, is that adoption is prominent in the world of celebrities as well.

Adoptive Celebrity Parents

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt with their adopted children
Angelina Jolie: Aside from being a tremendous actress, Angelina Jolie is well known for her many adoptions. She first adopted her son Maddox Chivan in March 2002 when he was seven months old from an orphanage in Cambodia. In 2005, she adopted daughter Zahara Marley from an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopa. Brad Pitt later adopted the children as well. After giving birth to her daughter, Shiloh, in May 2006, Jolie and her partner, Brad Pitt, adopted a son, three year old Pax Thien from an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, though she adopted Pax as a single parent due to Vietnam’s adoption regulations against unmarried couples. Pitt later adopted Pax in 2008. Later in 2008, Jolie gave birth to twins, son Knox Leon, and daughter Vivienne Marcheline.
Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards with their adopted children, Amy and Joanna
Julie Andrews: With her second husband Blake Edwards, Andrews adopted two daughters : Amy in 1974 and Joanna in 1975.
Viola Davis and husband Julius Tennon
Viola Davis: Actress Viola Davis and her husband Julius Tennon adopted a daughter, Genesis, in 2011. The baby girl is the couple’s first child though Davis is a step­mother to two children from her husband’s previous relationships.
Walt and Sharon Mae Disney
Walt Disney: Known as the founder of the Happiest Place on Earth, Walt Disney, along with his wife, Lily, adopted a daughter, Sharon Mae Disney, in 1936 when she was two weeks old. She was the younger sibling of Diane Disney and grew to be an actress.
Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut: A prolific American writer known for a number of best­selling novels, Kurt Vonnegut also adopted four children in addition to his three biological children, Mark, Edith, and Nanette. The adoptees are James Adams, Steven Adams, Kurt Adams, and Lily Vonnegut. Three of his adopted children came to him when his brother in law died in a train accident and his sister passed away from cancer. He also adopted a daughter, Lily, with his second wife.

Adopted Celebrity Children

Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx: Jamie Foxx was adopted at seven months old by his adoptive maternal grandparents, Esther Marie and Mark Talley. His mother, their adopted daughter gave birth to Foxx in 1967, but allowed him to be legally adopted by her parents very shortly after.
Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs: Jobs’ mother became pregnant as an unmarried, young adult in 1954. He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs, an Armenian couple who were unable to have children. For his full adoption story, go here.
Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe: A tremendous actress known for her talent and tragedy, Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Baker, the daughter of Gladys Monroe Baker. Her mother suffered from schizophrenia, and therefore spent much of her life in institutions for treatment. This left Monroe in the care of Baker’s close friend Grace Goddard, who, unfortunately, could only provide sporadic, often unsteady care. This left Monroe to spend years in foster care before she married at 16 to avoid returning to the orphanage. Read her full story here.
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe: The celebrated American poet’s mother died before he was three year’s old. His father had disappeared shortly after his birth and his mother passed away in 1811, two years after he was born. He was fostered, though never official adopted by a man, John Allan, and his wife Frances, who had been a friend of his mother's. Read her full story here.
As you can see, some of the most famous names in history have adopted or come from adoptive families. All in all, adoption is prevalent throughout the nation, and this guide of who’s who in the celebrity adoption highlights which celebrities, both prominent and lesser known, have adopted or been adopted.