Whether they’re single moms by choice, divorce or heartbreaking loss, meet famous single parent families and find out how celebs like Madonna, Sandra Bullock and Reese Witherspoon juggle the single life with kids. (Hint: they have help!)
We already knew actress Sandra Bullock had three stepkids from her marriage to Jesse James. But things changed quickly this year: first she won the Oscar for her role in The Blind Side, then discovered that her husband was cheating and subsequently filed for divorce, and finally revealed that she’d secretly adopted a baby boy, Louis Bardo, from New Orleans. All new moms deal with change, but Bullock handled life’s curveballs with grace—a trait that will make her a great mom.
Proof that beauty doesn’t always bring happiness, actress Halle Barry has been through two rocky marriages, so we were thrilled to hear her announce some good news in 2007: that she was pregnant by equally gorgeous model boyfriend Gabriel Aubrey. The couple welcomed daughter Nahla in 2008, but split in 2010, promising to keep things amicable for their daughter.
The Oscar-winning actress surprised everyone when she announced her separation from director husband Sam Mendes. Both called the split “extremely amicable” and it certainly looks that way since they since been seen together with the kids, Mia (Winslet’s daughter from a previous marriage) and Joe.
After splitting with rocker Chris Robinson in 2006, and dating hot bachelors like Alex Rodriguez, Lance Armstrong and Owen Wilson, the number one man in actress Kate Hudson’s life has always been her son Ryder. Hudson and Robinson are still close; “For both Chris and me, our main focus is, and was, Ryder. And happy parents, happy baby,” she told People magazine.
The gorgeous Top Chef host (and Salman Rushdie ex) stayed quiet about the identity of her baby’s daddy during pregnancy, which she considered a “medical miracle” since she struggles with endometriosis. Soon after the birth of daughter Krishna, the father was revealed to be venture capitalist Adam Dell. We think Lakshmi, author of two cookbooks that emphasize spice, is the mom least likely to have a picky eater.
Single parenting is never easy, but it’s got to be extra tough when your child’s father passes away suddenly. Actress Michelle Williams handled the shocking death of her daughter Mathilda’s father, actor Heath Ledger, with poise. She’s tackling single motherhood in Brooklyn, and is often seen hanging around the nabe’s coffee shops.
Widowed in 1998 when her husband succumbed to colon cancer, TV journalist Katie Couric was left to raise daughters Ellie and Carrie, then ages 6 and 2, alone. Now, with two teenagers and a flourishing career as anchor for CBS Evening News, we think she’s a stellar example for other single moms.
Mom to Henry Story, actress Minnie Driver has likened becoming the first year of parenthood to an “insane earthquake.” The actress and singer has kept mum on the identity and relationship of Henry’s father, but she did reveal that she goes online to get parenting advice from other moms.
After a very public, very nasty divorce with Charlie Sheen, actress Denise Richards was granted full custody of daughters Sam and Lola in 2010, making her a single mom who calls all the shots. Richards seems to be a very hands-on mom, hanging with her kids at the playground and taking them to camp—a far cry from her days as a sexy Bond Girl.
The Armageddon and Lord of the Rings star may not be racking up compliments from ex husband rocker Royston Langdon anymore, but she does have a special guy in her life to remind her how beautiful she is—her son Milo, born in December 2004. “He likes to call me his princess. He says, ‘Oh, Mommy, you’re so cute. You’re my precious, precious mommy,'” she told People. Aw.
Supermodel Kate Moss may be known for her high-profile fashion lifestyle, but to daughter Lila Grace, she’s just mom. The two live in a $19 million townhouse in London, and we’re pretty sure Kate gets major “cool mom” points for the karaoke birthday party she planned for Lila’s 7th birthday, as well as her killer wardrobe.
Brit’s track record isn’t great, but after hitting some major lows she’s built herself back up. After losing guardianship of her boys Sean Preston and Jayden James to ex Kevin Federline, the pop princess cleaned up her act and now can be seen taking her boys to the zoo or karate class.
Looks like Sheryl Crow finally found someone strong enough to be her man – son Wyatt Steven Crow. Cyclist Lance Armstrong split with the singer/songwriter when she wanted to have kids and he didn’t. After surviving a battle with breast cancer, Crow adopted son Wyatt, who goes on the road with her and already loves music, in May ’07, and in June ’10 announced that she adopted baby boy Levi James, born April 30.
Mary Louise Parker
The Weeds star is mom to William, age 6, and Caroline, age 3, who she adopted from Africa. Parker has been mum on her break-up with Billy Crudup, whom she split with when she was 7 months pregnant – but is not afraid to open up about dating as a single mom. “Some men are daunted by it, some are really attracted. I had someone ask, ‘Does this mean we can’t go out anytime we want?’ And I said, ‘Yes, that’s exactly what it means. It means you come fourth, ’cause it’s my kids, my job, my family.’ I don’t ever want to come first to anyone. It’s too much pressure,” she told More.
Say what you will about reality TV star Kate Gosselin, but raising 8 kids without a live-in partner (even with a live-in partner) cannot be easy. Add in an ugly divorce, drama from her ex-husband and paparazzi following her every move—and it’s easy to understand why the stress of it all gets to her.