1. Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe was abandoned by her widowed mother, and she spent much of her childhood in foster homes.
2. Dave Thomas
Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, was adopted at six weeks old. He also created the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
3. Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton was born to a widowed mother and was sent to live with his grandparents as a child. He is only the second president in U.S. history to have been adopted (Gerald Ford is the other).
4. John Lennon
John Lennon’s father went AWOL while on a naval ship, and his mother was unable to care for him, so he was adopted by his aunt.
5. Kristin Chenoweth
Kristin Chenoweth was adopted in 1968 at only five days old.
6. Ingrid Bergman
This Casablanca star was sent to live with her aunt when she was thirteen.
7. Nelson Mandela
After his father’s death, Nelson Mandela was adopted at the age of nine by Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo, the acting regent of the Thembu people.
8. Babe Ruth
Born George Herman Ruth, Jr. in 1895, Babe Ruth was sent to an orphanage at the age of seven: “Babe’s tavern-owning parents placed him and his sister in orphanages, sending Babe to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. It was there that Babe met Brother Matthias, who taught him how to play baseball.”
9. Michael Bay
This Transformers director was adopted as a child and spent his earlier years searching for his biological mother. Though Bay is unsure who his real father is, he jokingly claims that Steven Spielberg and Jerry Bruckheimer share his “creative DNA.”
10. Priscilla Presley
Priscilla Presley’s father was a US Navy pilot and died in a plane crash when she was sixth months old. She was later adopted by her mother’s second husband.
11. Melissa Gilbert
Melissa Gilbert was adopted after one day of birth by actor and comedian Paul Gilbert, ultimately helping her land the role of Laura Ingalls Wilder on Little House on the Prairie.
12. Ray Liotta
This Goodfellas star was adopted at the age of six months. Over 40 years later, Ray hired a private investigator to find his birth mother.
13. Jesse Jackson
Reverend Jesse Jackson was adopted by his mother’s second husband at the age of 16.
14. Sarah McLachlan
Soon after her birth, the Canadian-born Sarah McLachlan was adopted by an American couple.
15. Truman Capote
The Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood writer was sent to live with his mother’s relatives when he was only eight years old.
16. Richard Burton
A 17-year-old Richard Jenkins was almost adopted by Philip Burton, his schoolmaster, but the law prevented this as Philip was too young. However, Richard legally changed his last name, living as if Philip Burton was his true father.
17. Frances McDormand
This Fargo star was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was later raised in Pittsburgh after being adopted by a Canadian minister and nurse.
18. Faith Hill
This five-time Grammy Award-winner was adopted as an infant in Mississippi.
19. Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs’s biological father was Abdulfattah Jandali, a Syrian Muslim. Jandali’s girlfriend at the time was Joanne Schieble, but her parents objected to their mixed relationship, resulting in Steve Jobs’ adoption at birth by Paul and Clara Jobs.
20. Eartha Kitt
Eartha Kitt was conceived by rape and was shunned by part of her family due to her pale complexion. As a result, she spent her childhood living with a different family.
21. Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allen Poe was born in 1809, but his mother died a year after conception. His father also abandoned the family, forcing Edgar to live with another family in Virginia.
22. Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx was sent to live with his mother’s parents at a young age. Fun fact: Jamie’s mother was also adopted.
- Takaaki Kajita and Arthur McDonald have won the Nobel Prize in physics for their discovery that neutrinos have mass. ›
- Russia is reportedly preparing to send ground troops to aid Syria's campaign against rebel forces. ›
- Grace Lee Boggs, Detroit activist and civil rights pioneer, has died at the age of 100, according to the Boggs Center. ›