15 Celebrities Who Fought for Custody of Their Kids

When a couple splits, things can get especially messy if the couple is in the limelight. But when children are involved, things can get even more dramatic. Child custody cases are some of the most vicious aspects of tabloid-covered celebrity divorces. 

These 15 celebrities fought for custody of their children, making headlines as they attempted to bring order to their personal lives.


Image via MIKE NELSON/epa/Corbis

  • Christie Brinkley


    Image via Steven White / Splash News

    Years after she split from her architect ex-husband Peter Cook, Christie Brinkley fought for custody of their teenage daughter, Sailor, and Brinkley’s son, Jack, whom Cook had legally adopted. Their split came as a result of Cook’s affair with an 18-year-old assistant. Eventually, after years of nastiness, it was decided that the two would co-parent with the assistance of a parenting coordinator.

  • Britney Spears


    Image via Jenna Blake/Corbis

    After a nightmare of a year in 2007, mom-of-two Britney Spears faced a new low when her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, received custody of their sons. At the time, the singer was going through emotional trauma and she wasn’t even allowed to see her children on Christmas. However, Spears regained primary custody of her sons in 2015 after she showed a judge that she was in a much better place, both personally and professionally.

  • Kelly Rutherford


    Image via Santi / Splash News

    When Kelly Rutherford was pregnant with her second child with German husband Daniel Giersch, she filed for divorce because of his verbal abuse towards their first child, Hermes. Although she proposed a 50-50 custody deal, Giersch disagreed, and so began a complicated, messy custody battle. Years of complications resulted in the children being flown back and forth between the United States, France, and Monaco until eventually Giersch was granted custody and moved them to Europe permanently. Still, Kelly Rutherford is not giving up her custody battle

  • Padma Lakshmi


    Image via Anthony J. Causi / Splash News

    Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi’s custody battle with ex Adam Dell began when their daughter, Krishna, was first born, since Lakshmi refused to publicly acknowledge the father of her child. Dell sued Lakshmi for her attempt to minimize his role in Krishna’s life, even coming forward with a DNA sample that proved him as the father, and the two came to an agreement in 2012 that he would have visitation rights.

    More From The Stir10 Celebrities Who Have Secret Love Children

  • Alec Baldwin


    Image via 2005 Phil Ramey/RameyPix/Corbis

    It was an infamous voicemail that seriously complicated the custody battle between Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger over their daughter Ireland. When a message of Baldwin calling his daughter a “rude, thoughtless little pig” was released in 2007, the 30 Rock star nearly hit rock bottom and temporarily had his visitation rights revoked. They were eventually restored after Baldwin agreed to take an anger management class.

  • Usher


    Image via MIKE NELSON/epa/Corbis

    After a very public and messy battle in court, Usher won custody over his children against ex-wife Tameka Foster. The hearing came after the singer’s son, Usher Raymond V, also called Cinco, nearly drowned in a pool accident. Although Foster claimed that Usher was an absentee father, the court dismissed her claim and left the singer with primary custody of both Cinco and his other son, Navivyd.

  • Tyga


    Image via Fern / Splash News

    In order to spite his ex Blac Chyna, rapper Tyga has begun fighting for full custody of his son, King Cairo. But especially since Tyga is dating the teenage Kylie Jenner, Blac Chyna is putting up a fight. Both sides have called each other negligent parents, and the battle, as of now, does not seem to be ending soon.

  • Dwyane Wade


    Image via Joe Cavaretta/ZUMA Press/Corbis

    Miami Heat basketball star Dwyane Wade was granted full custody of his two sons in 2011 after divorcing his ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches. The court ruled that she had tried to alienate her children from their father. In 2012, Funches was arrested for attempted child abduction, but in 2013 the court decided she would retain her visitation rights.

    More from The Stir20 Celebrity Kids Who Look Just Like Their Famous Dads

  • Woody Allen


    Image via LUIS GUERRA/©2010 Phil Ramey/RameyPix/Corbis

    In 1993, Woody Allen lost his custody battle against Mia Farrow for their three children. He was denied immediate visitation rights with then-7-year-old Dylan Farrow after allegations of abuse, but he retained supervised visits with his 5-year-old, Satchel. Allen was also cut off from his 15-year-old son, Moses. Although the custody case was a messy one, the judge deemed Mia Farrow a good mother. “Ms. Farrow's principal shortcoming with respect to responsible parenting appears to have been her continued relationship with Mr. Allen,” he wrote.

  • Lenny Kravitz


    Image via Byron Purvis/AdMedia/Corbis

    When Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet split in 1993, they didn’t endure a tough legal process to figure out who would maintain custody over their daughter, Zoë. Although she originally started off living with her mother, Zoë was placed in Kravitz’s custody at her own wishes -- not because she had a bad relationship with her mother, but because she enjoyed living and traveling with her rock star dad. Today, Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz are perfectly friendly. No hard feelings here!

  • Mel Gibson


    Image via Stephane Cardinale/People Avenue/Corbis

    Mel Gibson and his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva originally closed their custody battle over their daughter with Gibson granting Grigorieva a $750,000 settlement in 2011. But in October 2015, the Braveheart star reportedly went back into court to fight for more access to his daughter, after he brought her to Australia for a month over the summer. Grigorieva has reportedly asked that her monthly childcare support payments increase from $20K to over $100K.

  • Brooke Mueller


    Image via Splash News

    When Charlie Sheen’s ex-wife Brooke Mueller was forced into rehab in 2013, his other ex-wife Denise Richards was granted temporary custody of their twins. When Richards had to give the boys up because of their difficult behavior, they were then placed in possession of Mueller’s brother. Finally, once she made a recovery, Mueller was granted custody of her children once more in 2014.

    More from The Stir10 Most Spoiled Celebrity Kids

  • Eminem


    Image via Efren S. Landaos/Press Line Photos/Corbis

    Rapper Eminem’s custody of his daughter Hailie changed through the years, just as his relationship with her mother, Kimberly Scott Mathers, changed. Eminem, née Marshall Mathers, and Scott were married twice and divorced twice. While the two eventually settled on joint legal custody, Scott retained physical custody. At one point in their relationship, as Scott battled her own drug problems, Eminem was granted full custody of his daughter. He had also adopted Scott’s daughter Whitney, and her twin sister’s daughter Alaina.

  • Kelsey Grammer


    Image via LAN/Corbis

    Although Kelsey Grammer and his ex-wife Camille came to a custody decision that their two children would live with their mother in Los Angeles, there were rumors that the Fraiser star first suggested splitting them, with their son Jude coming to live with him in Chicago. However, he denied ever making that suggestion. Shortly after, he announced the pregnancy of his fourth wife, Kayte.

  • Jason Patric


    Image via starsurf / Splash News

    The custody battle of Jason Patric raised some serious questions about the rights of sperm donors. Patric was declared the legal father of his son Gus in 2014, who had been conceived via IVF with his ex-girlfriend Danielle Schreiber. Patric had reportedly agreed to give a sperm sample to Schreiber with the promise that he would have no rights to the child. Despite the fact that Patric hadn’t signed Gus’s birth certificate, he was eventually granted parental rights after a two-year court case.

celeb babies celeb couples celeb dads celeb moms celeb divorce celebrity

More Slideshows