Teen pregnancy has been steadily on the decline for years now. This is mostly because children and teens have better access to birth control and health education. All the same, sometimes life happens and people end up with an unplanned pregnancy. Despite advances, teenage pregnancy is still a thing. And, although, raising a child from a young age can be a particularly difficult experience, many young parents manage to excel at parenthood. The good news is, you can be a teen parent and successful at the same time!
These 14 teen dads all managed to parent children and move onto successful careers and fame. Some were able to dedicate their time and energies to both being a dad and making it big, making it look easy or even aspirational. Whereas others gave their children up for adoption because they knew their children would have better futures elsewhere. Others ignored their commitments to their young families and faced the consequences of lawsuits or even imprisonment.
14 Lamar Odom
People who aren’t B-Ball fans may think that Lamar Odom’s fame comes from his relationship with Khloe Kardashian, and not his skills on the court. Lamar had his first child, a daughter named Destiny, when he was just 18. His very public addiction issues, and a tumultuous relationship with Khloe, have always received more press than his athleticism. His daughter Destiny recently spoke up on his failed relationship saying, “'Khloe was toxic, he was addicted to the fame and I was bullied over their marriage'. Lamar went on to have three other children. Unfortunately, his youngest son, Jayden, passed away when he was just six months old from SIDS. Lamar’s other ex, Liza Morales, says that his cocaine problem began in the late 90’s when he became a big shot in the NBA.
13 Charlie Sheen
Life with Charlie Sheen seems like it’s always been a roller-coaster ride, likely because he’s always been one to live hard without thinking about repercussions or consequences. When Sheen turned 19, his then high school sweetheart, Paula Speert, gave birth to his first child, a little girl born in 1984 named Cassandra Jade Estevez. Sheen since had two daughters with his ex-wife Denise Richards, and a set of twins with his other ex-wife Brooke Mueller. Addiction issues of both Sheen and his ex-wife, Mueller, led to Richards stepping in to help care for the twins, while both other parents worked on cleaning up their lives. His eldest daughter, Cassandra, who is now in her 30’s, has made her daddy dearest a grandfather. I wonder if they call him Grandpa Tiger Blood.
12 Tyler Baltierra
We can’t make this list without paying tribute to at least some of the reality stars who showcased what modern teen pregnancy looks like. Tyler Baltierra was boyfriend to Catelyn Lowell on the popular series 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. Although the couple gave their daughter up for adoption, that doesn’t change that the duo became parents at just 16. A decade later, the two are now married. Catelyn has struggled with her mental health over the years, returning for treatment three times this past January. It can’t help for either teen parent that recently Tyler has been fighting back against highly publicized claims that he’s been cheating on his wife for over a year, insisting that this must be some kind of sick joke.
11 LeBron James
Sometimes people find the love of their lives when they are just kids themselves. LeBron James and his high school sweetheart, Savannah Brinson, have been an item for as long as they can remember, and are still committed to each other and their family. When LeBron was just 19 years old, he became a dad to his son, LeBron James Junior. The pair have since added to their family, giving LeBron Jr. a brother, Bryce Maximus, and sister Zhuri James. Who says you can’t manage a successful sports career and a family, all before turning 20? Wedding bells didn’t come early for this committed couple. They made things official and wed in 2013, not too long before the arrival of their youngest son, Zhuri.
10 Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne has always lived fast, being one of the youngest celeb teen parents out there. He became a father, for the very first time, when he was only 15. As someone who began their rapping career at just eight years old, and was signed by the time he was 11, we’re guessing he was in a hurry to grow up. Lil Wayne’s high school sweetheart, later turned X-wife, gave birth to their daughter before either of them could legally drive. One to live without regrets, Wayne has gone on to have three more children, all with different moms - all by 26. Another woman has recently come forward saying that her teenaged son belongs to Wayne, only time and paternity tests will tell if this becomes baby number five for the rapper.
9 Levi Johnston
It seems like a million years ago when US Vice Presidential candidate hopeful, Sarah Palin, was on the news daily. Electoral candidates, and their families, often find themselves under a microscope as opponents and news outlets do whatever they can to dig up “the dirt” that could make or break a decision for voters. When the teen pregnancy between Bristol Palin (Sarah’s daughter) and Levi Johnson, who was just 18 at the time, came public during the election campaign, it was unfortunate timing for Sarah. The teen couple is no longer together, although Levi has had another child more recently with his now wife, Sunny Ogelsby. As for Bristol, she became a public speaker and ambassador to raise awareness on teen pregnancy. More recently, she competed on Dancing with the Stars.
Long before he launched his successful rap career, or his television acting career, Ice-T was doing the best he could as a teen parent. He earned his high school diploma while raising his eldest daughter, LeTesha, with his then girlfriend, Adrienne. More recently, the father of 3 welcomed his youngest child, Chanel Nicole Marrow with his wife Coco Austin. His wife has said on celebrity parenthood, “We face scrutiny whether you have a baby or not, so having a baby, you’re like in this little microscope, because they want you to do something wrong so they can say something bad, that you’re a bad mother. We’re just like regular moms, we’re still trying to figure it out. We don’t know everything, we’re not perfect.” Ice paints a different picture saying, “She’s supermom.”
7 Tom Jones
It’s not unusual to have failed romances if you’re a rock star. Mr. Tom Jones was only 17 years old when he first shook his hips in the name of baby making, with his childhood sweetheart Melinda. Beforehand, the two married when they were just 16 years old. Melinda and Jones remained together for 59 years until she passed away after a battle with lung cancer. Melinda stood by Tom Jones despite many rumors of infidelity, including one confirmed case of a love child with a former model. It was reported by the Telegraph that at one time, Tom was romantically involved with 250 women each year. Since Melinda’s death, Tom has been spotted out with Pricilla Presley, but he insists they’re just good friends.
6 Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart has enjoyed a lengthy stage career that many musicians aspire for. Stewart has also been a parent many times, including when he was just 17 years old and when he found out his girlfriend was pregnant. The two teens decided to give the tot up for adoption. It wasn’t until she was in her twenties that Sarah Streeters (Rod’s eldest child of eight) learned that the rock legend was her father, and the two managed to meet after her adoptive parent passed away. Streeter has been happy to reconnect with her very famous father saying, “(I) realize that it has been as difficult for him over the years as it has been for me. Now we're at the start of a new chapter, and that's wonderful."
T.I is a rapper and reality star who had his first child, son Messiah YaMajesty Harris, when he was just 19 years old, back in the year 2000 with his then-girlfriend, Lashon Dixie. The repeat father went on to have three children from his past relationships, and another two kids with his now ex-wife Tameka Cottle (Tiny). Both having had run-ins with the law, we’re not sure if we want his parenting advice, but here it is: T.I Says of his parenting style compared to Tiny’s, “I have a more philosophical approach and she has a more emotional approach,” and his parenting technique can be summarized as, “Make time. Pay attention. Listen. Think about your punishment before you issue it. Explain the reasoning behind the punishment.”
4 Taylor Hanson
Mmmbop singer Taylor Hanson hit the peak of his career before adulthood. Someone who was on the fast track to adulthood, he also found his wife, Natalie, when he was just a teenager. The two had their first child at just 19 years old, and since have had another four kids, making them a happy family of seven. When asked about parenthood Taylor has said, “I know for my wife and I, we always loved the idea of being young parents. It is an incredibly inspiring and challenging job being a parent, and as it turns out, being young really helps you keep up.” Hanson has also said that parenthood has been a fantastic inspiration, “Being a dad is such a big part of your life, it absolutely affects the music. More than anything, I think it is just further inspiration to draw from.”
3 Bob Marley
This one is still up for debate, but likely considering the track record. Bob Marley had a lot of accomplishments, including writing and performing some amazing songs in his very short life. As well as fathering a lot of children from a number of baby mamas. Marley’s website acknowledges 11 children from eight different mothers and one adopted child. Although, many other people have come forward claiming that Bob is their dad, including some who would have made the Reggae Legend a teenage father. The most publicized claim on paternity is Imani Carole, born in 1963, who would have made Marley a dad at just 18 years old. Today, both Marley’s children and grandchildren continue to uphold his legacy by making music.
Ever wonder how celebrities manage to spend all that money? We’re guessing that fatherhood has put more than a dent in rapper DMX’s wallet. The father of 15 children with nine different women isn’t the most dotting dad. This dad served time for not being able to support his children for six months when he was over $400,000 overdue in child support payments. In a misplaced attempt at salvaging his reputation as a deadbeat dad, he noted during an interview with The Breakfast Club, “ I ain't a total piece of s***. I ain't have kids in the same county.” Since there are over 15 children, that we know about, and likely more around, we have no idea when DMX first became a dad. But we’re guessing this is something he’s been working on since high school.
1 William Shakespeare
Famous for his timeless representation of love, death, and humour, William Shakespeare is still relevant today. Perhaps his connection to young love was the inspiration behind stories like Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare married his wife and became a father just three months later when he was just 18. His wife was named Anne Hathaway, but we’re pretty sure there is no relations to the Hathaway mom and actress whom we all know and love today. Over the course of their lives and marriage, Will and Anne welcomed three lovely children to their brood. Like everything else, Shakespeare used his quill to show his thoughts on parenthood saying, “Time's the king of men; he's both their parent, and he is their grave, and gives them what he will, not what they crave.”