15 Celebrities Who Truly Embraced Being a Single Mom

15 Celebrities Who Truly Embraced Being a Single Mom
Image: Splash News

January Jones
Splash News

Whether due a breakup or passing of a partner, single motherhood can be something that a woman falls into. But it may also be something she makes a conscious decision to do. Statistics cited on SingleMotherGuide.com estimate that today 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 -- a total of about 17.2 million -- are being raised by a single mom. And of all single-parent families in the US, single mothers make up the majority.

Given those numbers, it's fairly unsurprising that plenty of celebrity moms also happen to be single parents themselves. Some have certainly experienced heartbreak over the years, finding news of their very public splits all over the cover lines of tabloids. 

Others have been in and off-and-on relationships -- or found themselves expecting while their partner opted out of being involved. There are those who ended up confronting a partner who wasn't on the same page when it came to having kids. And various famous women have enjoyed single life for years, only to have epiphanies that motivated them to adopt. 

Here, 15 truly inspiring celebrity moms who decided to fly solo as they embarked on motherhood. They're undoubtedly examples of strong, independent women who have chosen single motherhood -- and, judging from many of their candid interviews, wouldn't change it for the world.

  • 1. January Jones

    January Jones
    Splash News

    Since news first broke that the Mad Men actress was expecting her first child, January Jones has remained tight-lipped about the identity of her now 6-year-old son Xander's father. But she has been very outspoken -- especially lately! -- about not needing a partner to raise her little boy. "It's good to have strong women around a man," the 40-year-old told Red magazine. "To teach him to respect women. He doesn't have a male person in his life saying 'don't cry' or 'you throw like a girl.' All those s—ty things dads accidentally do." 

    Of seeking an significant other, she said, "I just don’t feel I need a partner. Do I want one? Maybe. But I don't feel unhappy or lonely. It would have to be someone so amazing that I would want to make room. Someone who would contribute to my happiness and not take away from it. I realize I have very high expectations and will probably have to compromise but my life is so full. It's not like, 'Aww, I wish I had a man.' After I had Xander, I went on a couple of dates and I was like, 'I'd rather be at home sleeping, or watching TV or hanging out with my kid.'"
  • 2. Sandra Bullock

    Rick Davis/Splash News

    The Miss Congeniality star and Oscar winner is mom to two adopted children: daughter Laila and son Louis. Bullock feels like her family of three was always meant to be. "When I look at Laila, there's no doubt in my mind that she was supposed to be here," she told People. "I can tell you absolutely, the exact right children came to me at the exact right time."

  • 3. Charlize Theron

    Splash News

    Mad Max star Theron always wanted to adopt, telling Australian magazine Madison in 2012: "My mother found [a letter I wrote]. It said, 'Would you please take me to orphanage, so that I can go and adopt a baby?'" I always knew I would adopt. Always."

    Now mom to adopted son Jackson and daughter August, Theron also shared, "You know, I don't think any mother aims to be a single mom. I didn't wish for that, but it happened." 

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  • 4. Minnie Driver

    Splash News

    Good Will Hunting star Minnie Driver gave birth to her son Henry in 2008, but the actress didn't reveal the father's identity until 2012. "We weren't together and he wasn't directly in the business so I chose to protect him and not have a rain of publicity," she told the Observer at the time. "He's not famous. There's no big story." At the time, Driver admitted that he had increased his involvement in their son's life, but she's still credited with being a predominantly single mom. 

  • 5. Padma Lakshmi

    Ron Smits/London Ent/Splash News

    The Top Chef host welcomed her daughter Krishna in February 2010, but at the time, she didn't reveal the identity of her little girl's father. Reports later confirmed that venture capitalist Adam Dell is both the reality star's ex and Krishna's dad, but Lakshmi has been vocal about embracing single motherhood, telling the New York Post in 2015: "It's the only way of life I've known. I was raised by a single mom. I was told I couldn't have children, so every day I am kissing the sky with happiness about it."

  • 6. Mindy Kaling

    Jen Lowery / Splash News

    The Mindy Project creator welcomed her first baby -- a girl named Katherine -- in December 2017. "It's so unknown to me," Kaling told Willie Geist over the summer. "I have a lot of control over a lot of aspects of my life, and this is one where I'm like, 'Okay, it's out of my hands,' which is kind of a fun feeling."

    Like a few other celeb moms, she has been extremely private about the identity of her newborn daughter's father. 

    More from CafeMom: Mindy Kaling Just Gave Birth to Her First Child & People Are Applauding Her 'Normal' Baby Name

  • 7. Sheryl Crow

    JS/Splash News

    Sheryl Crow famously split from ex Lance Armstrong in 2006 when it turned out the two weren't on the same page about marriage and having kids. The "Soak Up the Sun" singer went on to adopt two boys, Wyatt and Levi, in 2007 and 2010, respectively.

  • 8. Mary Louise Parker

    Jen Lowery / Splash News

    The Weeds star shares her eldest son William with her ex Billy Crudup, but Parker adopted her daughter Ash solo in 2007. In 2009, she told People: “I finally just decided, ‘Okay, I’m going to do this, and it’s going to be really hard because I’m single, and I’m going to do it anyway." 

  • 9. Denise Richards

    Splash News

    After splitting with ex Charlie Sheen -- with whom the 30 Rock guest star shares daughters Sam and Lola -- Denise Richards adopted a baby girl named Eloise in 2012. Of adopting as a single mom, she told People, "I felt like I wasn’t done having children, and I’ve always wanted to have a large family. And so after my divorce I felt like, ‘Oh well, I’m sure I’ll soon enough get remarried and have my family [grow]’, and that wasn’t in the cards at the time, so I decided to expand my family on my own.”

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  • 10. Edie Falco

    Edie Falco
    Jen Lowery / Splash News

    The Sopranos alum and mom of two sat down with Anderson Cooper in 2012 to explain what inspired her to adopt son Anderson and daughter Macy as a single mom. "At that time I was single and the idea to adopt came to me, she noted. "I just knew at a certain point it was time to raise kids."

  • 11. Mia Farrow

    Mia Farrow
    Nancy Rivera / Splash News

    The Rosemary's Baby star and single mom is well-known for her large family! Farrow raised 14 kids -- both adopted and biological.

  • 12. Meg Ryan

    Mario Anzuoni / Reuters / Splash

    The rom-com queen, who we still love watching in When Harry Met Sally and You've Got Mail, was with actor Dennis Quaid for many years, and the two share son Jack. But following their split, Ryan adopted her daughter Daisy on her own in 2006. Of the experience, Ryan told Redbook: "I am convinced, completely convinced that there was nothing random about it. She is the daughter I should have. I never felt like I was on a rescue mission or anything like that. I just really wanted a baby; I was on a mission to connect with somebody, and Daisy and I got to meet each other this way at this time. We are so compatible. And also having the experience of having had Jack and now to have Daisy in a different way -- there’s no difference in the love you feel."

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  • 13. Diane Keaton

    Diane Keaton
    Splash News

    In her book Then Again, Diane Keaton -- who famously dated Warren Beatty and Al Pacino -- explained that after "a lifetime of avoiding intimacy," she feels like she came into her own in an emotional way. "My old boyfriend, Warren Beatty, used to say I was a late developer," she wrote. "He was right. It took me 50 years to find motherhood and unconditional love." It was at the age of 50 that Keaton adopted her son Duke and daughter Dexter.

  • 14. Kristin Davis

    Kristin Davis
    Photo Image Press/Splash News

    The Sex & the City star adopted her little girl Gemma in 2012, telling Anderson Cooper at the time, "It is terrifying, partly because with adoption you always know there's the chance that it won't work. So you're on pins and needles .... I had always thought in the back of my head that I would adopt -- that it was a possibility. So I started the process … but it's quite confusing. There are all these different rules and if you're single, it's harder."

  • 15. Connie Britton

    Connie Britton
    Jen Lowery / Splash News

    Mortality is what motivated Nashville star Connie Britton to adopt her son Yoby from an Ethiopian orphanage; she told Redbook in 2012: "My parents passed away within three years of each other," she shared. "Right after that, a lightbulb went off in my head and I thought, 'What am I waiting for?' I wasn't in a relationship at the time, but I thought, 'This is something I want to do. I can do it.'"

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