Cape Town is known for its beauty, but there are some people who will take cute animals over a breathtaking view any day. But who needs to choose when Boulders Beach is an option?
The magnificent Boulders Beach tops the list of favorite local and tourist beaches in Cape Town for two reasons: its rocky seaside cliffs are super unique, and its actually the only place on Earth where people can get close to African Penguins.
Although amazing beaches are in no short supply in South Africa, Boulders Beach has an extra attraction that makes it different from other beaches, and literally everywhere else – a colony of African Penguins! They waddle around in their little feather coats like the miniature suited up businessmen of the animal world.
The penguins have famously inhabited the rocks since 1982, and today the population is estimated between 2,000 and 3,000. But sadly, they’re classified today as an endangered species, as the result of over-fishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and poorly regulated tourism activities. The surrounding Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area is working hard to protect the penguins and their beaches. That being said, the beach is for all to responsibly enjoy! The beach is great for swimming, and the rocks are great for climbing.
For anyone who fancies more information on the little fellas, expert guides are there offering tours. But it’s important to remember: as cute and friendly as they are, they’re still wild animals. That means it’s not okay to feed them, so don’t do it – we want to keep them just the way they are! Perhaps surprisingly, it’s also a no-swim zone, which means outings on the water by boat, canoe, or kayak are prohibited. And lastly, though this should come as no surprise: it’s a no-take zone. That means you can’t take the penguins home with you. We do apologize.
40 Celebrities We Didn’t Know Were Adopted
Starting off our list is comedian, actor, and screenwriter Keegan-Michael Key. The star’s parentage has some rather satisfying symmetry. Firstly, he was born in Michigan to a black father – Leroy McDuffie – and a white mother – Carrie Herr.
When Keegan-Michael Key was adopted, it was also by an interracial couple. Detroit social workers Michael Key and Patricia Walsh became the star’s adoptive parents when he was still very young. Like his birth parents, Michael is African American while Patricia is white. He has since reunited with his birth mom.
Some of the adoptions on this list are rather confusing, including that of Jack Nicholson. The celebrated actor is the son of a teenage mom who was just 16 when he was born. Because of this, his grandmother decided to adopt him and raise him as her own.
This means that Nicholson was raised not knowing that his sister was actually his biological mother. Or that his mother was really his grandmother. The actor didn’t find out this crucial information until each woman had passed away.
Rapper Ice T had a rather traumatic childhood that ultimately led to his adoption. The star was born Tracy Lauren Marrow in New Jersey to Solomon and Alice Marrow. Sadly, Alice passed away from a heart attack when Tracy was in third grade, so his father raised him alone for four years.
When he was just 13, Ice T’s father also died of a heart attack. At this point, the orphaned child was adopted by his aunt and uncle into an upper-middle-class black neighborhood in LA.
Tony Award-winning Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth is our next celebrity that was adopted. The singer and actress was adopted at just five days old by a couple from Tulsa. Junie Smith Chenoweth and Jerry Morris Chenoweth were both chemical engineers, and named their new daughter Kristi Dawn.
In later life, Kristin Chenoweth met her birth mother. She has said she “knew that my birth mother loved me so much that she wanted to give me a better life.”
Unfortunately, mixed-race marriages have been considered controversial by some. This is ultimately the reason that late Apple CEO Steve Jobs was put up for adoption. He was the biological son of Syrian Muslim Abdulfattah Jandali and Catholic Joanna Schieble.
Because Joanna’s parents didn’t approve of her relationship, Steve was raised by adoptive parents. Steve Paul Jobs was adopted and raised by Paul and Clara Jobs. Apparently, his biological grandfather had threatened to cut his biological mother off if she kept him.
Pictured here with her daughter Maddie is country singer Faith Hill. The successful country star was born in Mississippi and adopted by Edna and Ted Perry as an infant. Named Audrey Faith Perry, the singer was aptly raised in a town named Star.
As you might expect, five-time Grammy award winner Faith Hill has been singing since childhood. However, it was only when she moved to Nashville to officially start her career that she got back in touch with her birth mom.
Here’s another fierce woman that was raised by adoptive parents. Debbie Harry, the frontwoman of Blondie, was born Angela Trimble in Florida. At three months old, Angela was adopted by New Jersey gift shop owners Catherine and Richard. It was then that she was given her now-famous name — Deborah Harry.
Debbie Harry found out that she was adopted when she was four years old. She went on to find her concert pianist birth mom in the ’80s, who didn’t want to pursue a relationship.
Who knew so many musical icons were adopted? The Beatles vocalist and guitarist John Lennon had a very unusual childhood. He was born to Julia Lennon and merchant seaman Alfred. His father was absent during his birth and for much of his childhood.
As a result, John was eventually raised by his mother’s sister, his aunt Mimi. The musician said of his childhood, “I did my best to disrupt every friend’s home […] Partly out of envy that I didn’t have this so-called home.”
It’s not just actors and musicians that have been adopted — there are also TikTok-ers, YouTubers, and various types of influencers. For example, Filipina-American TikTok star Bella Poarch revealed on the platform that she was adopted.
Bella has over 80 million followers and has the most-liked TikTok video of all time. Impressive! The online personality was born in the Philippines to Filipino parents and raised in the slums until she was three. Bella was then adopted by a Filipino mother and a white American father.
We’ve already discussed his wife Faith Hill, but did you know that country star Tim McGraw is also adopted? Perhaps that’s why the couple has such a strong bond. As with some of the other entries on our list, McGraw’s parental situation is quite confusing.
The star was born Samuel Timothy to teenage Betty Ann D’Agostino after she became pregnant with the child of baseball player Tug McGraw. Tim only learned who his father was when he saw his birth certificate in his mom’s closet.
Welsh actor Richard Burton was born into humble beginnings. The award-winning actor started life as the 12th of 13 children in a Welsh-speaking family. His father Richard was a coal miner, and his mother Edith died when he was almost two years old.
For a while, Richard lived with his elder sister and her husband, also a miner. However, the most important person in the star’s life was his teacher, Philip Burton. He informally adopted Richard, who took his surname.
The iconic Marilyn Monroe — born Norma Jean Mortenson — also had a difficult start in life. Her mother, Gladys Pearl Baker, wasn’t able to care for her so she placed her with evangelical Christian foster parents.
Throughout her childhood, Norma Jeane lived with various carers. Her mom took her back when she was seven but then suffered a mental breakdown. At one point, she lived with her mom’s friend, and at another, she was in an LA orphanage. She eventually married at 16 to avoid foster care.
Rather than be adopted into entirely new families, some people are adopted by one of their parent’s new partners. That’s exactly what went down in the case of Trace Cyrus. Trace’s mom is Leticia, and his dad is Baxter Neal Helson. In fact, his birth name was Neil Timothy Helson.
However, when Tish married country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, he adopted her firstborn son. After that, the musician changed his name to Trace Dempsey Cyrus. His sisters are singers Miley and Noah.
Adoption runs in the family for Jamie Foxx, as he and his mom were both adopted. Plus, they were each adopted and raised by the same people! The actor, comedian, and singer was born Eric Marlon Bishop in Texas. His birth parents are stockbroker Darrell Bishop — now known as Shahid Abdula, and Louise Annette Talley.
After the actor was born, he was adopted by the same couple that adopted his mother, Estelle Marie and Mark Talley. His birth parents haven’t been part of his life.
Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has a similar story to musician Trace Cyrus (when it comes to parents that is). He was born Lance Edward Gunderson to secretary Linda Gayle and Eddie Charles Gunderson. But, when his mom later remarried, her second husband adopted Lance. After that, he was known as Lance Armstrong.
Despite once being known for his athletic skill, now Lance Armstrong is associated with a major doping scandal. His son, Luke Armstrong, has also faced serious allegations.
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi
While she’s known as the typical Guidette, Nicole Polizzi — better known as Snooki — isn’t biologically Italian-American. Rather, she was adopted by Italian-American parents. Snooki was born in Santiago, Chile — and was adopted by Helen and Andy Polizzi when she was six months old.
Over the years, the reality TV personality has done various DNA tests. Apparently, she isn’t Chilean either! The star has Romani, Jewish, Middle Eastern, and Asian roots. Now, Snooki is a mom of three with husband Jionni LaValle.
Allan “apl.de.ap” Lindo
From one stage name to another, now we turn to Black Eyed Peas star apl.de.ap. The Filipino American rapper and singer was born Allan Pineda Lindo in the Philippines. His birth mom, Cristina Pineda, is Filipino — while his birth dad was an African American airman stationed in the country.
Young apl.de.ap was first raised with his mom and siblings. Then, he was matched up with a sponsor via an organization for abandoned American children. He was adopted at 14 by Joe Ben Hudgens.
Sometimes, parents aren’t able to raise their children because of addiction issues. That’s what happened with singer and TV personality Keyshia Cole’s mom. The star was born to Frankie Lons and boxing trainer Virgil Hunter. However, because of her mom’s substance issues, she was adopted by family friends at two years old.
The singer-songwriter was adopted and raised by Leon and Yvonne Cole. In 2016, Keyshia Cole met her birth father for the first time after going through a paternity test.
Because he was adopted, actor Ray Liotta has strong views on the topic. The star said in 2014 that “almost 99% of kids that are put up for adoption, it’s for the betterment of the kid … The household, the situation, the age just dictate that’s the best thing to do for the child.”
Ray Liotta was abandoned at a New Jersey orphanage. He was adopted by clerk Mary and auto-parts store owner Alfred Liotta at six months old. He later tracked down his birth mom.
We admit we’re shocked that so many celebrities spent parts of their lives in orphanages. As well as Ray Liotta and Marilyn Monroe, baseball player Babe Ruth lived in a home for orphaned or abandoned kids. George Herman Ruth Jr. was sent to an institution at age seven.
Some think that the famed athlete was sent there for his wayward behavior, and others because of his home environment. Regardless, there he met Brother Matthias Boutilier who encouraged him as a mentor and with baseball. The rest is history.
Jordan Fisher has a lot of strings to his bow. He’s an actor, a singer, a dancer, and a gamer. However, the talented performer didn’t have an easy start. He was born to a 16-year-old mom, and her parents legally adopted him when he was 11.
They also adopted his siblings, Cory and Trinity. As with some of our other celebs, Fisher’s mom struggled with substance abuse. He has said she was “not fit to raise a kid.”
Reality TV is full of unusual stories, including Vanderpump Rules star Raquel Leviss’ arrival. The TV personality shared on the reality show that she was adopted and raised by her birth mom’s sister. Basically, her birth mom had two children already and then had an unplanned pregnancy.
As her sister was trying to conceive already, Leviss’ birth mom offered to give Raquel to her. That means Raquel Leviss was raised with her aunt and uncle as her adoptive parents.
Also adopted at birth was American DJ Sonny John Moore, better known as Skrillex. The musician was raised by Scientologist parents in LA after his mom, a family friend, put him up for adoption. She occasionally came round to visit, but young Sonny didn’t know he was adopted until his teens.
When someone in a grocery store mistook Skrillex for the son of his parent’s so-called “family friend,” the pieces fell into place. When he found out, the musician left home.
What we have next is seemingly a common situation for our celebs. Plenty of people on our list so far have found out later in life that their siblings are actually their parents. Well, we’re adding guitarist and singer Eric Clapton to that category.
The Grammy award-winning musician was born in England to 16-year-old Patricia Molly Clapton and 25-year-old Canadian soldier Edward Walter Fryer. Eventually, Patricia married another Canadian soldier and moved away. Eric was raised thinking his grandparents were his parents.
While some people react very strongly to finding out they’re adopted (see Skrillex), others aren’t bothered. Singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan was born in Nova Scotia, Canada. She was adopted by the McLachlan family, who told her about the adoption when she was nine.
Sarah has said, “Perhaps I was too young to understand it really, but it just never was a big issue to me. I never had this empty place in me thinking that I’ve missed out somewhere, or that I was abandoned.”
Up next is comedian and actor George Lopez. He was born in California to Mexican couple Frieda and Anastasio Lopez. The comic’s father left the family when he was still a baby, and his mother abandoned him when he was just 10 years old.
As a result, George Lopez was raised by his grandmother Benita, and his step-grandfather Refugio. George is pictured here with his daughter, Mayan, from his marriage to ex-wife Ann Serrano. They’ll be starring together in a new NBC sitcom.
Athlete Colin Kaepernick is pictured here with his adoptive parents, Rick and Teresa Kaepernick. The former quarterback and activist was born to 19-year-old Heidi Russo in Wisconsin. Colin’s birth mom was white, while his birth dad was African-American. He was placed for adoption at five weeks old.
In his later years, Colin Kaepernick has spoken about being a mixed-race child adopted by white parents. His youth was fictionalized for the Netflix show, Colin in Black & White.
The late Gary Coleman had a difficult life, though he reached huge levels of fame and success. The actor was born in Illinois and placed for adoption. His adoptive parents were fork-lift operator W.G. Coleman, and nurse Edmonia Sue. As a child actor, Coleman worked long hours and had health issues.
As an adult, Gary Coleman successfully sued his adoptive parents for mismanaging his money. Tragically, the extremely popular child star died at age 42 after hitting his head, possibly due to a seizure.
We’ve seen several celebrities with confusing family trees, and now it’s time for Eartha Kitt to join the club. The celebrated singer, comedian, and activist was born on a cotton plantation in South Carolina. It’s thought that Eartha’s father was a white man, while her mother was Cherokee-African Annie Mae Keith.
When Annie Mae moved in with an African-American man, he thought Eartha’s skin was too pale. She was then sent to live with various other relatives. It’s possible that one of these was her biological mother.
Multi-award-winning actress Frances McDormand was actually born Cynthia Ann Smith. She was renamed by her adoptive parents, Noreen and Vernon McDormand. The Canadian couple worked as a nurse and pastor, and Frances suspects her biological mom was a member of their church.
The McDormands fostered nine children in total and adopted three, including Frances. The family regularly moved around the US. Later, the Oscar winner adopted her son Pedro from Paraguay along with her husband, director Joel Cohen.
It’s time for another YouTuber! Jacob Sartorius — born Rolf Jacob Sartorius — is also an adopted celebrity. The lip-syncing star was born in Tulsa and adopted by a couple from Virginia. He has said, “At the time, my birth parents weren’t able to take care of me, so they made a plan for me to be adopted.”
The “Sweatshirt” singer continued, “I’m still me and being adopted is something that I’ve never tried to hide or keep a secret.”
Perhaps Nicole Richie is one of the more well-known adopted celebs. But did you know that she was adopted from a family friend? The star was born Nicole Camille Escovedo to musician Peter Michael Escovedo and Karen Moss.
Her father had toured with Lionel, and her mom was an assistant to Nicole’s aunt. When she was four years old, Lionel Richie and then-wife Brenda offered to take Nicole in. She said of the arrangement, “They trusted that they would be better able to provide for me.”
Incredibly, when gymnast Simone Biles was competing at the 2016 Olympics, commentator Al Trautwig refused to acknowledge her adoptive parents. Seriously, she’s the joint most decorated gymnast of all time and this is what she has to deal with? Ridiculous!
Simone and her sister were adopted from foster care by their grandparents Ron and Nellie Biles. In response to the incident at the Olympics, she said, “I personally don’t have a comment […] My parents are my parents and that’s it.”
Tony award-winning actress and singer Jenna Ushkowitz is perhaps best known for playing Tina Cohen-Chang. The star was born in Seoul, South Korea, and adopted by an American family at three months old. Jenna was raised by Judi and Brad in New York.
In an essay about her adoption experience, Jenna commented that she didn’t have any questions about her birth parents while growing up. She puts this down to feeling “a strong sense of belonging” in her adopted family.
Unfortunately, some children get adopted because they lose their parents at a young age. Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman was just two years old when her mother passed away, and 14 when her father died. She was taken in by several of her aunts and uncles. Tragically, one of her aunts passed away just six months after taking the young Ingrid in.
She lived with her aunt Hulda and uncle Otto for some time. Apparently, Ingrid Bergman ended up calling her aunt Elsa Adler ‘mom’ later in life.
When asked about his biological father, director Michael Bay likes to say he shares “creative DNA” with directors Steven Spielberg and Jerry Bruckheimer. Likewise, adopted singer Debbie Harry used to fantasize that she was the long-lost child of (also adopted) Marilyn Monroe. Hey, you can wish!
Michael Bay was raised by his adoptive parents, Harriet and Jim, in LA. He had a Jewish upbringing and went to school in Santa Monica. The director hasn’t got any kids of his own, but he has lots of dogs.
Actor, comedian, and musician Andy Dick has a rather colorful life, to put it politely. The eccentric celeb was born Andrew Tomlinson and placed for adoption at birth. He was raised by Allen and Sue Dick and brought up in a Presbyterian household.
Because his adoptive father was in the US Navy, Andy Dick moved around a lot during his youth. He lived in Connecticut, New York, and Yugoslavia, among other places. Over the years, the comedian has struggled with substance abuse and legal troubles.
For some adoptive parents, it’s extremely important to raise an adopted child with some sense of their birth culture. That’s exactly what happened with actress Lana Therese Condor, born Tran Dong Lan.
The actress was adopted from a Vietnamese orphanage by American parents. She remembers, “My parents would dress us up in traditional Vietnamese clothing to go to school for heritage day […] We have a Vietnamese nanny that my parents wanted […] They tried to have us eat Vietnamese food.”
We’ll admit we didn’t know that Superman himself was adopted. But when we think about it, it totally makes sense – he comes from another planet after all. Dean Cain was born Dean George Tanaka and renamed just like his fictional counterpart. The actor’s biological parents were Roger Tanaka and Sharon Thomas.
Dean Cain never met his biological father because his mom moved him and his brother to LA. When she got married to director Christopher Cain, he adopted her sons.
We close our list of adopted celebrities with JC Chasez, born Joshua Scott Chasez. The former child star and NSYNC member was born in Maryland and adopted at five years old. The star’s birth mom handed him over to her own former foster parents, Roy and Karen. They went on to adopt him.
JC Chasez worked from a young age and went on to become a successful songwriter and producer. Recently, he was spotted out and about looking rather unrecognizable in this fetching pink beanie.
Most of us could give a few examples of celebrities that have adopted children. There’s Brangelina, Madonna, and Sandra Bullock for starters. But, what about the celebrities that were adopted themselves? This list includes celebs who were adopted by strangers, by other family members, or by step-parents. Regardless of how these families came about, all of these adopted children ended up at the top of their field. Join us as we take a look at the Hollywood celebrities who were adopted!