With the likes of Cher, Marilyn Monroe and Seal being celebrities who were in foster care, it’s amazing to see so many famous faces who have been so successful in their lives come through the foster care system.
Correlating with our 10-year anniversary of building brighter futures here at Capstone, we’ve collated together a list of 10 celebrities who grew up in foster care. Some of these stories highlight some sad experiences of much-loved celebrities, but it just goes to show how powerful the foster care system can be in turning a life around and giving people a second chance.
Tackling many obstacles to achieve fame, Marilyn Monroe is arguably one of the most famous people in foster care. Her childhood started out living with her mother, a single parent, battling against the judgements of having a child outside of marriage. Life was a struggle, and her mother was declared legally insane – while Marilyn was sent into an orphanage for two years. After that, she then lived with a family friend for four years. Marilyn never knew her father and spent years after this longing to meet him.
Best known for his iconic role as James Bond, Pierce Brosnan was brought up by his grandparents while he was aged four, due to his mother moving away as she was training to be a nurse. However, his grandparents died when he was six and after that, he stayed at various relatives until being sent to live in a boarding house until age 10.
Born to a Brazilian father and Nigerian mother, Seal’s life began by being immediately placed with a foster family in Essex. He spent the first four years of life in this home, and then returned to the care of his biological parents – although his father was very strict and often physically abusive. Going on to sell over 30 million albums worldwide and three Brit Awards, Seal’s life significantly improved after having experienced life as a foster child in his early years.
Born in an era of air raids, frightening bombings and blackouts of the Second World War, John Lennon’s early life was filled with uncertainty. His father was away at sea and didn’t reappear for 18 months after he was born and divorced John’s mother, Julia, when he did. John’s behaviour got worse as his mother began to date someone new, and he was expelled from nursey for bad behaviour. Later, Julia struggled to cope, and John began living with his Aunt Mimi and her husband as a foster care solution. John grew up with his aunt and uncle while regularly visiting his mother.
Neil’s foster care story is a little different. The successful British actor has never been shy to talk about his experiences in foster care, and he stated that it was never fully explained why he (aged 10) and his brother (aged 12) had been taken from their parents, and their two older siblings, and separated into two different children’s homes. However, in his BBC documentary, Neil Morrissey – Care Home Kid, he discovered it was due to the filthy, neglecting household they had grown up in – resulting in their parents regularly leaving them unsupervised.
Albeit a shorter experience in foster care, Eddie Murphy is also one of the celebrities who grew up in foster care – having his life take a turn for the worse at age 3, with his parents going through a divorce. Five years later, Eddie learned about the death of his father, and his mother struggled financially which led her to be hospitalised for a long period of time. It was during this time that Eddie and his brother were sent to a foster home for around a year. However, he now claims he’s drawn on his experiences in foster care to mould his sense of humour and being able to laugh about any situation.
At the age of 12, Gabrielle Bonheur – also known as Coco Chanel – suffered the loss of her mother and was then sent alongside her sister to live in an orphanage. This foster care facility was run by the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Mary – founded to care for the poor and rejected. However, going on to become one of the most well-known fashion icons of the 20th century, she managed to escape the sadness of her childhood and move forward to a successful future.
Steve Jobs was also a celebrity who grew up in foster care for a part of his life. Steve’s biological parents were unmarried when his mother fell pregnant, but as his father was a Syrian Muslim immigrant, her parents would not initially allow her to marry an Arab. His mother gave birth to him in San Francisco and was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs – meaning that Steve’s early life involved foster care and adoption before he was established with his foster parents, who he openly referred to as “his parents”.
The beginning to Cher’s life didn’t have the easiest of starts, either. Her mother, Georgia, divorced her father as she was pregnant with Cher, but made her way through life by occasional singing gigs and small movie roles – meaning the life with her mother was spent mostly in poverty. When Cher was two years old, Georgia was overcome with illness, resulting in needing to put Cher into foster care. After staying there for a period of time, she moved back in with her mother with care from her grandmother.
As a foster child in the 1970s, Lorraine Pascale – former model who became a TV chef – spent a significant amount of time in foster care as a child. Lorraine created a BBC programme, Fostering and Me, which details her experiences of her fostering childhood, with the first 18 months of her life being spent in foster care. Jumping from fostering to adoption was an unsettling start to her life, but her success in the spotlight selling over a million cookery books proved her rocky start to life didn’t hinder her ambition.
With so many famous names having grown up in foster care, it proves how successful the system is in supporting children who have come from challenging experiences and backgrounds. With the right foster family, children have a second chance at life – and become successful for themselves. Are you interested in fostering? From learning about the foster care requirements to how much foster parents get paid, get in touch with a member of our expert team today for more information.