Famous and Infamous People Raised in Broken Homes

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I was alarmed to find out that the following individuals were products of single parent homes:

  • BILLY THE KID
  • SIRHAN SIRHAN
  • ROBERT GRAYSMITH (ZODIAC SERIAL KILLER)
  • JACK THE RIPPER
  • JOHN WILKES BOOTH
  • CHARLES MANSON
  • SADDAM HUSSEIN
  • ADOLPH HITLER
  • MARC LEPINE (MASS MURDERER OF 14)
  • LEE HARVEY OSWALD
  • JEFFREY DAHMER
  • “MONSTER” CODY (L.A. CRIPS GANGLORD)

Obviously the aforementioned names are some of the worst in the history of mankind.  However, my research uncovered many, many more functional, famous people who were also products of broken homes.  Take a look:

Maya Angelou was sent to live with her grandparents when her parents’ marriage ended.

Oprah Winfrey was born to an unwed, teenager mother and sent to live with her grandparents.

Lance Armstrong never knew his birth father.

Notorious B.I.G. was abandoned by his father when he was 2.

Kate Beckinsale’s father died when she was 6.

Halle Berry was abandoned by her father when she was 4.

Mary J. Blige was abandoned by her father when she was 4.

Orlando Bloom’s died when he was 4.

Pierce Brosnan was abandoned by his father before his first birthday.

Mariah Carey had little contact with her father after her parents divorce when she was 3.

50 Cent never knew his father and lost his mother when he was 8.

Eric Clapton never knew his real father. He grew up thinking his grandparents were his parents and his mother his sister.

Bill Clinton lost his father in a car accident 3 months before he was born.

Stephen Colbert lost his father and two brothers in a plane crash when he was 10.

Sean Combs was 3 when his father was murdered

Jodie Foster grew up without a father; her parents separated before she was born.

Jamie Foxx was abandoned by both his parents and raised by his adopted grandparents.

Cary Grant grew up thinking his mother had abandoned him when she really was in a mental institution.

Adrian Grenier grew up not knowing who his father was.

Laird Hamilton was abandoned by his father when he was an infant.

Samuel L. Jackson only met his father twice during his life.

Jay-Z was abandoned by his father.

Alicia Keys grew up without a father.

Kid Cudi lost his father to cancer when he was 11.

Martin Lawrence rarely saw his father after his parents divorced when he was 8.

John Lennon grew up without a father and lost his mother when he was 17.

Jet Li lost his father when he was 2.

Lindsay Lohan grew up without a father while he was in prison.

Shelby Lynne lost her mother and father in a murder suicide when she was 17.

Madonna lost her mother to cancer when she was 5.

Paul McCartney lost his mother to cancer when he was 14.

Eva Mendes was raised by her single mother after her parents divorced.

Marilyn Monroe grew up without a father.

Demi Moore was abandoned by her father before she was born.

Eddie Murphy’s father was killed when he was just 8.

Jack Nicholson never knew his real father.

Shaquille O’Neal grew up without his birth father.

President Barack Obama met his father only once before he died in a car crash.

Clive Owen was abandoned by his father when he was 3.

Al Pacino grew up in his grandparents’ home with his mother.

Audrey Hepburn was sent to boarding school at age 5; at age 6 her father walked out.

Mariah Carey eventually became estranged from her father after her parents’ divorce when she was 3.

Guy Pearce lost his father in a work related accident when he was 8.

Mekhi Phifer never met his father.

Sarah Polley lost her mother to cancer when she was 11.

Ellen Pompeo lost her mother when she was 4.

Gabrielle Reece lost her father when she was 5.

Keanu Reeves was abandoned by his father when he was 13.

Julia Roberts lost her father when she was 10.

Alex Rodriguez was abandoned by his father when he was 7.

Ronaldinho lost his father from a heart attack when he was 8.

Jason Schwartzman lost his father to cancer when he was 13.

Tupac Shakur grew up not knowing his birth father while his stepfather went to prison when he was 2.

Anderson Silva was raised by his aunt.

Gene Simmons was abandoned by his father when he was 3.

David Spade was abandoned by his father.

Jon Stewart was raised primarily by his mother.

Barbra Streisand lost her father when she was 2.

Shania Twain was abandoned by her birth father.

Liv Tyler didn’t know who her birth father was until she was 9.

Raoul Wallenberg lost his father to cancer 3 months before he was born.

Orson Welles lost his mother when he was 11 and his father when he was 15.

Kanye West was abandoned by his father when he was 3.

And I “sure enough” was abandoned by my biological father the moment he found out my mother was carrying me…

 

I get that those who were raised in utter pathology and in absolute psychologically damaging circumstances are not necessarily always going to come out unscathed.  However, I like to think of the human spirit as tenacious in nature, and capable of overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  And after all, we all have choices.  For me, I wasn’t going to sit around complaining that life had dealt me a bad hand, and that there was no hope.  Which is why I hate the saying, “It is what it is.”

 

My childhood was incredibly painful and dysfunctional.  This is why you could frequently find me in the self-help section of my neighborhood bookstore since I was an adolescent.  I was reading self-help books since I was a young teen and voluntarily attending counseling, which I still do today.  I even have a hypnosis app on my iPhone for topics like “codependency” and “how to forget your ex”, for goodness sakes!  I was never satisfied with the status quo and have been pulling myself up by the bootstraps for as long as I can remember.  

 

You will never hear me utter the words, “That’s just how I am.”  Although I am still a work in progress, I believe that someday I will rise victoriously from the ashes.  And as far as this crazy generational cycle that is marked by the suicide of my beloved mother… I am fighting with every breath in me to say, “This ends here.”  

 

It was hard being a child of a single mother; and I know it’s hard for my children too, most of the time.  We may struggle financially, but we are rich beyond measure in the love department.  For me this is what matters most.  Some days I can barely find the strength to get out of bed.  But mark my words, “I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens ME.” (Philippians 4:13) 

 

Sources:

http://www.notablebiographies.com/An-Ba/Angelou-Maya.html#b

http://oprah.about.com/od/oprahbiography/p/oprahchildhood.htm

http://www.audrey1.org/biography/16/audrey-hepburn-timeline-1929-1949

http://withoutafather.com/celebrities.php

About Ava Elizabeth Wisdom

Greetings Beloved, I am a 41-year old single mother of two boys. I was a stripper for almost a decade and have lived the kind of life that parallels something you'd see in a movie. I not only partied like a rock star, I literally partied with rock stars. I stopped dancing in 2000 and began college when my oldest was 4. Shortly after turning my life back over to the Lord and beginning my academic career at the university, my precious mother, a former Fort Worth Police officer committed suicide. When I found her, she had been dead for 3 days. I did her hair, make-up, got her dressed, and had her nails filled for her viewing and funeral. In spite of my appearance and way with men, I have never been married. Rejection and abandonment have seemed to define me since conception when my biological father deserted my mother as soon as he found out she was carrying me. I am a recovering co-dependent with a heart so big that I have to be cautious so that I don't exhaust myself in focusing on and giving to others. I was a very angry child who grew up in a violent, dysfunctional home so I haven't always loved others from the depths of my heart. However, after the loss of my loved ones, I learned that time is fleeting and that you never know when you're going to see someone for the last time. So now, I am quick to love others and strive to maximize each second that I have with the ones I love. In spite of my sin and my struggles with men, drugs, and alcohol, my faith defines me. I could never deny Christ because at the times of my life when I had everything stripped away I could literally feel Him with me. I love to write and pray that this blog will inspire you and draw you closer to the heart of God. Ava Elizabeth Wisdom

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