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Celebrity Moms Who Had Babies as Teenagers

Updated on August 20, 2013

While reality shows have been accused of glamorizing teenage pregnancy, the statistics surrounding becoming a teenage mom are far from glamorous. In fact, they are absolutely heartbreaking. Researchers have shown that teens who get pregnant are less likely to finish high school, more likely to be poor as adults, more likely to rely on public assistance and more likely to have kids who’ll have a poorer education.

While the numbers are alarming, there are many teenage mothers who have defied the odds and have risen to success. Today, teen pregnancy is on the decline, but, many young women, even celebrities, have had to endure the pressure and public stigma that comes with teenage motherhood.

More often than not, those numbers don’t lie, but sometimes they do. Below are six famous faces who, once were well on their way to becoming part of the dreaded teen mom statistic. Fortunately, for us and for them these stars did not allow their dire circumstances to derail or define their future.

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Fantasia Barrino

Life was no fairytale for this soon-to-be singing sensation. Fantasia was raped by a classmate, dropped out of high school in the ninth grade, got pregnant at 16, and had her first child at 17. A couple of years later she found success by winning American idol, and launched a rewarding acting career, in film, TV and on Broadway. But more importantly, Fantasia finally received her high school diploma a feat, this former teenage mom, had longed to accomplish.

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Roseanne Barr

Funny lady Roseanne was 17 when she had her first child; a daughter she gave up for adoption. But, the childhood pregnancy didn’t stop Roseanne. Ten years later, this no-nonsense comedienne was touring the club circuit, and performing on late-night talk shows, inevitably making her mark on history. This led to her own HBO show, and eventually, her highly rated, self-titled sitcom, Roseanne. 18 years after giving up her little girl, they reunited, and the rest, as they say, is Her-Story.

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Maya Angelou

This literary icon gave birth to her son at the sweet age of 16. Ms. Angelou endured a tragic childhood. After being molested at 8, she became a mute for nearly five years, never uttering a syllable; for fear that her words caused the death of her rapist. Fortunately, her voice came back, stronger, and more powerful, most notably in her writing, which included her Pulitzer Prize nominated autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing. Ms. Angelou, for what you have successfully accomplished, and the example you have set, despite your travails; we applaud you; we admire you; we say thank you.

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Aretha Franklin

The world renowned, Queen of Soul admitted to discovering boys early in life. After getting pregnant in grade school, she delivered her first son at the tender age of 14, and her second son before turning 17. Undaunted, this burgeoning artist continued in hot pursuit of her music career. While most girls were picking out prom dresses this adolescent mom was raising a family, making music, touring the country, changing her reality and making her dreams come true.

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Oprah Winfrey

She’s been called the Queen of Talk; the most influential woman in the world; one of the greatest philanthropists in American history, and the world’s most powerful woman. And still, with all of those impressive titles most don’t realize that Oprah once held the label of “teenage mom.” She gave birth to a baby boy when she was 14, but sadly, her son passed away shortly thereafter. Ms. Winfrey conquered a horrendous childhood, and although she never reared offspring of her own, she overcame her past, and in doing so, soared to the pinnacle of success.

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Loretta Lynn

Let us rise, and give the first lady of country music a standing ovation. Now, even though this coal-miner’s daughter wasn’t a single mom, she was nonetheless a teen mother, having her first child at 14; and her second, third and fourth before turning 18 years of age. But, having four small children didn’t deter Ms. Lynn; it inspired her. This honky-tonk, singer-songwriter got her first guitar by the age of 21, and taught herself to play. By the age of 24, her husband encouraged her to become a vocalist and by then this young mother was unstoppable; her talents had no choice but to get in line and help shape her destiny.

The above success stories represent only a handful of the millions upon millions who’ve turned a childhood mistake into an extremely rewarding future. For teenage moms, societal odds paint a negative picture of what will be, but with hard work and determination these mothers have the possibility to unveil a beautiful portrait of what can be—the star of a meaningful life lived with purpose and passion.

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    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 4 years ago from Northern California

      Wow, this is a very interesting Hub, and I didn't know this about any of these celebrities. The way this is written is very inspiring and positive, not just gossipy or anything like that. Thank you very much for sharing!

    • Careermommy profile image
      Author

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Glassvisage, thank you so much for your comment. My goal was to make it inspiring and uplifting, so thank you for taking note!

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 4 years ago from Australia

      Great hub, Careermommy. Teenage mothers need encouragement. Every one of them should be reminded that their dreams of personal success can still come true. Of course they still have to feed the baby and change its diaper and love it and be good mothers ... but there are so many years ahead of them. They might not become celebrities, but they can still become successful. Voted up.

    • Careermommy profile image
      Author

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      LongTimeMother, thank you for that thoughtful comment. You are absolutely correct. Teenage moms do need encouragement because it's hard enough for adults to take care of children, let alone a teenager who is still maturing and growing into their own. Thanks for the vote up!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting list. I'm not big on celebrities for the most part, but I was watching an interview with Jennifer Lawrence the other day and she stole my heart. :) What a refreshing young lady she is. Anyway, good job on this one and I'm glad you are on HubPages.

    • Careermommy profile image
      Author

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thanks for reading billybuc. I agree with you about Jennifer Lawrence. She seems like a sweet, real young lady. Hopefully she stays on that track. Thank you also for your kinds words!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Very informative and interesting hub. I did not know any celebrity who was a teen-age mom. Must be hard to be one. Thanks for sharing. Well done;-)

    • Careermommy profile image
      Author

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thelma, I agree. It's hard enough being an adult mom, let alone a teenage mom. Thanks for reading and leaving your nice comments!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Being a teenage mom is an uphill battle. These celebrities are living proof that you can be a mother and become a success. I never knew that Oprah had a baby at 14. It isn't easy to be a teenager, to become a mother during this time period is particularly difficult. They need all the love and support we can give them.

    • Careermommy profile image
      Author

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Koffeeklatch, I can only imagine how hard it would be as a teenager. It's hard enough as an adult. Thankfully, these women were able to rise above the difficulty and made a success of their lives. Thank you for reading.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      Some things are harder to rise above than others. Sometimes the community makes it harder on people to rise above their difficulties than it needs to be or should be.

      Often times people allow themselves to be limited because of choices they've made, and they shouldn't do that because they are only making their own path more difficult.

      There are times when the community creates the limitations. When that happens moving to a new community may be the answer.

      Interesting subject.

    • Careermommy profile image
      Author

      Tirralan Watkins 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Au Fait, I think that having a solid support team is key to helping a teenage mother, through the many challenges she will face, whether it be a community of family or another type of community. But sometimes, you're right, people do make unwise choices that make their lives more difficult. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

    • healthmom profile image

      healthmom 3 years ago from Ohio

      Very interesting and inspiring! I think what is special about many of these women and a major contributing factor to their success is a 'wisdom beyond their years' which might be due to dealing with their hardships.

    • Careermommy profile image
      Author

      Tirralan Watkins 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thank you healthmom. You bring up a great point about the "wisdom beyond years." I can see how going through motherhood so young can make these women stronger. And, even some of the terrible things some of these ladies experienced helped to shape them and make them into who they are today. Thank you for your comments.

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 3 years ago from Austin, TX

      This title caught my attention. I didn't know that Oprah had a child, though I knew she was molested by her relatives when she was younger. Up and interesting.

    • Careermommy profile image
      Author

      Tirralan Watkins 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Hi iguidenetwork, I agree that most are surprised at Oprah having a baby. Thank you for your comments and for the vote up!

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Careermommy, what you have stated regarding the statistics of teen mothers is so true. Two of my maternal aunts became pregnant at teenagers and had lives of poverty and bitterness. Many teen mothers fit that category; however, there are teen mothers who defy the odds. However, such are very few and far between. Didn't know that Aretha Franklin was pregnant twice as a teenager. Learn something new every day on HubPages.

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