Celebrity adoptions

Sep 11, 2009 at 6:06 p.m. ET

Adoption is a wonderful way to give a child a loving home and family, when they might otherwise not have one. It's something that transcends gender, class and even fame. In fact, there are many celebrities who have been adopted and who have adopted children themselves.

Dave Thomas

When a child is given up for adoption, the hope is that the baby will find a safe, healthy and loving home with a wonderful family. People from all walks of life choose to adopt babies and children for a variety of reason. Celebrities are no exception. There are a number of celebrities who are adoptive parents, and who've been adopted.

Adopted celebrities

Celebrities adopting children make headlines all the time, but a number of celebrities are also adopted themselves. Here's a few famous people who were adopted.

  • Entrepreneur Dave Thomas - The founder of Wendy's (pictured, above) was adopted in 1932 by Rex and Auleva Thomas. He never met his birth parents, but he did become a big advocate for adoption, founding the Dave Thomas Foundation.
  • Musician DMC - Darryl McDaniels, better known as the DMC in RUN-DMC, didn't learn that he was adopted until he was 35. McDaniels was researching his early life for an autobiography when his mother revealed the secret.
  • Musician Eric Clapton - Although Eric Clapton was never formally adopted, he was raised by his grandparents and didn't learn who his real mother was until he was nine. Clapton's mother was an unwed teenager and his father was a soldier.
  • Country singer Faith Hill - Faith Hill always knew that her parents, Ted and Edna Perry, had adopted her. Although she didn't initially want to look for her birth mother, she later decided to and located her. The big surprise? Her birth parents had married and she was big sister to a full-blood brother.
  • Olympian Greg Louganis - Although he's best known for his medal-winning diving at three Olympics, Greg Louganis is also an adopttee. His birth parents were two high school students.
  • Actor Lee Majors - Just before Lee Majors was born, his father died and when he was a toddler, his mother passed away. Majors was adopted by his paternal aunt and uncle, who raised him as their own. He found out he was adopted when he was a tween.
  • Actress Melissa Gilbert - The Little House on the Prairie star was adopted when she was one-day-old by Paul Gilbert, a comedian, and his wife Barbara. She has two siblings, a brother who was also adopted and a sister who was the natural child of her mother.
  • Actress Nicole Richie - When a stagehand for Lionel Richie became pregnant, Richie and his wife adopted the child. Although they raised Nicole Richie as their own, the adoption wasn't finalized until she was nine years old.
  • Actor Ray Liotta - When Ray Liotta was six months old, he was adopted by Mary and Percy Liotta. He later met his birth mother, an experience that he said filled a gap for him.
  • Musician Sarah McLaughlin - When Sarah McLaughlin was about 9, her parents told her she was adopted. McLaughlin says that she is grateful to her birth mother, a young artist, for giving her up for adoption since it allowed both of them to follow their dreams.
  • Olympian Scott Hamilton - When Scott Hamilton was six weeks old, he was adopted by two schoolteachers who had difficulty having children. The Olympic figure skater has an adoptive brother and a sister who is his parent's natural child.
  • Entrepreneur Steve Jobs - The co-founder of Apple was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs as an infant. Like Faith Hill, he later met his parents, who were married, as well as his full-blood sister.

Next page: Celebrities who have adopted children

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