Top 10 Celebrities Raised by Single Mothers

They may not have had both set of parents as children, these celebrities prove that a nuclear family doesn’t mean everything! Eminem, Leonardo DiCaprio, Selena Gomez, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Kanye West and Jay Z were all raised by single mothers and look where they are now!
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Top 10 Celebrities Raised By Single Mothers


Sometimes, one parent is forced to do twice the work. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Celebrities Raised By Single Mothers.

For this list, we will be looking exclusively at celebrities that at one point or another were raised solely by their mothers.

#10: Selena Gomez


This pop star’s mom was just sixteen years old when she gave birth. Selena was born to Mandy Teefey and Ricardo Joel Gomez in 1992 in Grand Prairie, Texas, but her parents divorced five years later. She would live with her mother during the next few years of her life. Always trying her best to provide for her daughter, Mandy was forced to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Gomez has a deep respect for all that her mother did for her during the early years of her life. Nowadays, they can probably get by on just one of Selena’s massive paychecks!

#9: Leonardo DiCaprio


This Academy Award winning actor grew up in Los Angeles, California. Born to Irmelin and George DiCaprio in 1974, the couple would eventually split up a year later. While he lived primarily with his mother in the ensuing years, during which she worked multiple jobs to keep them afloat, DiCaprio maintained a positive relationship with his father. In fact, both of the well-known actor’s parents helped him during his rise to stardom, aiding him in the script selection process and various other duties. They must be pretty happy with how their son turned out!

#8: Eminem


The Detroit rapper’s grievances with his mother have been played out in the lyrics of several his songs. But if you grew up the same way he did, you too would have a lot to say on the subject. Born in 1972 to Marshall Bruce Mathers Jr. and Deborah Rae “Debbie” Nelson, Em’s father promptly abandoned the young family to move to California. His relationship with his mother was rocky at best. He vocally lambasted the years of abuse he and his younger brother allegedly faced, later vindicated when Debbie was diagnosed with Munchausen syndrome by proxy. She sued him for slander in 1999, but in 2014 they finally reconciled.

#7: Jay Z


Born Shawn Corey Carter in Brooklyn, New York, in 1969 to Gloria Carter and Adness Reeves, Jay Z’s mother is the one who raised him and his siblings after their father abandoned the family in 1980. Because of this, Jay Z grew very close to his mother and cites her as a positive influence on his musical career. Jay has since gone on to become a wildly prosperous musician and businessman, proving that just because a person grows up with only one parent, doesn’t mean that they too cannot achieve success.

#6: Jon Stewart


Comedian and former host of “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart was born in 1962 to Marian Laskin, a teacher, and Donald Leibowitz, a professor of physics. The two divorced when Jon was just eleven years old, and afterwards the future TV star developed a strained relationship with his father. The relationship between him and his dad got so bad that he eventual dropped his original last name of Leibowitz, considered using his mother’s last name, before finally setting on his middle name, Stuart. He legally changed it to Stewart in 2001. Mama Marian must have done something right, because Jon seems to have turned out okay!

#5: Mariah Carey


This multi-talented star was born to Patricia and Alfred Carey in Huntington, New York. The couple split up when Mariah was just three years old, and while her older sister Alison went to live with their father, Mariah and her brother stayed with their mother. Carey would eventually stop seeing her father, choosing to remain in the care of her mother. Mama Carey did a bang-up job too, as her daughter as gone on to become one of the most recognizable faces in the entertainment industry.

#4: Angelina Jolie


A Hollywood mainstay for over two decades, Angelina Jolie has appeared in countless films throughout her illustrious career. Born in L.A. in 1975 to actors Marcheline Bertrand and Jon Voight, the future film star was raised by her mother after she separated from Voight in 1976. While the budding actress would still see her famous father here and there, it was her mother Marcheline that truly raised her. Angelina has gone on to become a world-renowned actress, filmmaker and humanitarian.

#3: Kanye West


You either love him or you hate him. However, did you know that a single mom raised him? Born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1977 to Ray and Donda West, Kanye’s parents divorced only three years later – with mom and son moving to Chicago and then to China when he was 10 years old. While his mother encouraged him to get a proper education, Kanye eventually dropped out of college to pursue a career in music. Donda retired from her job as an English professor in 2004 to work as Kanye’s manager up until her death in 2007, so we’d say they were close.

#2: Oprah Winfrey


If finding out that one of the richest women on the planet was raised by a single mother doesn’t inspire you, we don’t know what will. Oprah was born in 1954 in Mississippi to a teen mother named Vernita Lee, and co-raised by her grandmother Hattie Mae. The family was so poor that Oprah was often forced to wear dresses made out of old potato sacks. Sadly, her childhood was extremely volatile, with Winfrey even stating that she had no intention of ever becoming a mother because of her own poor experiences with her own mother. The queen of rising above, and despite her troubled start, Oprah has nevertheless gone on to inspire millions around the world.


Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Christina Aguilera

Halle Berry

Demi Moore

#1: Barack Obama


That’s right, a single mother raised the 44th President of the United States of America. Born on August 4th, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Mary and Barack Sr., Obama had little chance to get to know his father. Originally from Kenya, that is where Barack Sr. headed when he and Mary divorced only three years after the birth of their son. The future president only saw his father once after that, during a visit to Hawaii in 1971 – Barack Sr. would be killed in a car accident 11 years later. The burden of raising the young Obama fell solely to his mother until she remarried in 1965.
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