In modern society, most people don’t bat an eyelash at people who choose to have kids out of wedlock. A 2013 report conducted by The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia found that 48% of all first-born babies are attributed to unmarried mothers.
"People's ideas have changed radically due to ongoing cultural shifts tied to the economy, religious institutions, and [more]," says psychologist Joshua Coleman, Ph.D., co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families. "Marriage before pregnancy is no longer the only legitimate path."
And most people recognize that unmarried couples living with a child are, in fact, a family. Some couples believe that they don't need a piece of paper to make their love legitimate, while others just never wanted to be together even though they happened to create a life.
While not everyone embraces the new looser definitions of “family”, Hollywood has definitely welcomed it with open arms. More and more celebrities are choosing to have kids before they get married. Many eventually go on to marry but still start their families before they walk down the aisle.
We’ve rounded up 15 celebrities who have kids but are not married.
15 Vin Diesel And His Girlfriend Are Parents Of Three
You probably didn’t realize that Vin Diesel, aka Mark Sinclair, is the father of 3 kids.
“I guess it’s because of all the tough guys I’ve put on the screen,” Diesel told Parade. “People go, ‘You’re a dad? You’re changing diapers? What’s up with the world?’ But someone once told me that, when you have a child, it opens up parts of your heart that you never knew existed. And it is so true. It’s like you have a child and you think, ‘Everything that I’ve done up until this point is insignificant in comparison to being a father.’ It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.”
Or that he and his long-term partner and Mexican model Paloma Jiménez have been together for 11 years, but have yet to marry.
The couple welcomed their first child, daughter Hania Riley in 2008. Diesel and Jiménez welcomed a son, Vincent, two years later in 2010. And in 2015, the couple had a second daughter, Pauline.
Diesel and Jiménez are very private about their relationship and their personal lives. But Diesel has opened up in the past on how his life was affected by fatherhood. “The craziest stunt I ever did? Fatherhood,” the actor told Entertainment Tonight.
He went on to gush about Jiménez. “I mean, I'm speechless," he said to ET. “She's so stunningly beautiful, but the thing people don't realize is she's my rock, so she's so stunningly beautiful on the inside.”
“She’s everything. She's the perfect mother. She's just so wonderful in so many ways,” he added.
14 The Only Kardashian Who Never Married Her Baby Daddy
Another surprise entry to the list: Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick. Did you realize that the reality star duo was never actually married?
The couple met in 2006 at a party at Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis' house in Mexico and from there they started to date. The couple were on the rocks for a lot of 2009 but had reconciled before December 2009 when they welcomed their first child together, son Mason.
In 2011, Disick proposed to Kardashian on their reality show Kourtney and Kim Take New York. Kardashian turned him down. A year later, in July 2012, their daughter Penelope was born. Two and a half years later, in December 2014, the couple welcomed their second son Reign.
Disick and Kardashian split up in 2015, but they still work together to co-parent their three kids. For Kardashian, it’s all about watching your kids grow and seeing all their amazing little moments. Oh, and the magic of course.
“I actually think my favourite part is that you relive your own childhood—going to Disneyland and watching all the movies I watched when I was a kid,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. I have so many of the books we read when we were little—so reading all the same books again. It's really fun—you almost get to be a kid again and do all those magical things.”
13 Susan Sarandon And Tim Robbins Spent 21 Unmarried Years Together
Twenty-one years is a really long time. For a lot of people, a 21-year relationship would require something more than a casual commitment. For some, it would require a ring, an official document and maybe even a big white dress.
That was not the case for Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins.
The couple started dating in 1988 after meeting while filming Bull Durham. They never seemed interested in getting married.
Instead, Sarandon and Robbins welcomed son John “Jack” Henry on May 15, 1989, and a second son, Miles Guthrie, on May 4, 1992. Sarandon also has a daughter, Eva Amurri born March 15, 1985, from a previous relationship with Italian filmmaker Franco Amurri.
Sadly, after 21 years together, Sarandon and Robbins’ relationship ended in 2009. And despite the fact that they never got married, Sarandon was just as shocked as the rest of the world when they split.
"People were coming up to me in the street and saying, 'I cried and cried when I heard.' Well, I was sadder! I didn't think it would ever happen, either," Sarandon told The Telegraph in 2010. "You bring people into your life at certain times. Maybe you have a relationship to have children and you realize that it's fulfilled after that point."
12 Naomi Watts And Liev Schreiber Spent 11 Years Together
Actors Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber began dating at 2005 after meeting at the Met Gala in New York. Schreiber felt out of place at the fancy event, but Watts made the first move on him and he couldn’t have been happier.
“She said, ‘What are you doing later on—you want to go dancing?’ and I was like, Yeah.’ So I went down to this club that she told me to meet her at, and of course she was there with Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro, and I'm kind of standing around like a bump on a log, waiting for my turn,” he told Esquire.
He made a quick exit, but Watts chased him down and the couple had their first real date at Magnolia Bakery where they shared a cupcake.
They were together for 11 years before splitting up in 2016, but the couple never married. They have two children together, Alexander (Sasha) Pete Schreiber and Samuel Kai Schreiber.
"It's not like I've grown up having this dream of a fairy-tale wedding. My mother married twice and had two divorces. And Liev comes from the same kind of background,” Watts told Parade in 2009. Maybe one day we'll just wake up and go, 'Hey, let's do this.' And maybe not. He and I have a family. We're very much together. We just don't have that certificate, and that's okay with both of us. He gave me a beautiful ring, although I'm not wearing it right now."
While the couple is no longer together, they are still partners when it comes to raising their kids.
11 Goldie Hawn And Kurt Russell: Hollywood’s Original Unmarried Couple
Known as the original unmarried Hollywood couple, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been together for 35 years. The duo meet in 1968 on the set of The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band. It wasn’t until 1983 that they became a couple after re-meeting again on the set of Swing Shift.
The couple has one son together, Wyatt Russell who was born in 1986. But the two also have kids from previous marriages—Kate Hudson and Oliver Hudson are Hawn’s children and Boston Russell is Russell’s son.
"Marriage is an interesting psychological thing. If you need to feel bound to someone, then it's important to be married,” Hawn told TODAY. “If you have enough money, and enough sense of independence and you like your independence, there's something psychological about not being married. It gives you the freedom to make decisions one way or the other."
Hawn insists that if the couple had wed, they would have divorced a long time ago. Instead, they are in a happy and fulfilling relationship. “Often times, the grass can look really greener on the other side, but it never did to me."
That’s the kind of love we all dream about.
10 Tim Burton And Helena Bonham Carter Lived In Separate Homes
Hollywood’s favourite creepy couple, director Tim Burton and actress Helena Bonham Carter, spent 13 years (and filmed six movies) together. Their relationship started in 2001 when the pair met while filming Planet of the Apes.
Their relationship was never what most people would call traditional. They never married, and they lived in two adjoining homes in London.
In October 2003, Burton and Carter welcomed their son Billy Raymond Burton. Their daughter, Nell Burton, was born in December 2007.
The couple split amicably in December 2014. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Carter opened up about their relationship.
“[I]t is all-absorbing when a relationship breaks down, but I think we’re coming through it, and I think we’ll have something very precious still. Our relationship was always somewhat special, and I think it’ll always remain special,” she said.
“We did find each other. And really, the mark of a successful relationship shouldn’t be whether you’re there forever after. Sometimes you’re not meant to be forever together. Sometimes you have to come to terms with the fact that that was it. But that was a gift, a massive gift. We gave each other children and a lot more else.”
9 Rose Byrne And Bobby Cannavale Will Eventually Get Married
Hollywood cuties Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale began dating in 2012 when they met while filming Annie. While they both have always remained pretty tight-lipped about their relationship, Cannavale made women swoon everywhere when he called Byrne "the love of my life" as he accepted his Emmy Award in September 2014.
The couple welcomed their first son, Rocco in February 2016. And just a little over a year later, the couple had their second son, Rafa, in November 2017.
And while Byrne and Cannavale have two kids under their belt and aren’t yet married, it isn’t completely off the table for the couple. After referring to Cannavale as her husband in an interview with ES Magazine, Byrne went on to explain,
"He’s practically my husband, so calling him that is easier," she said. "The formality isn’t a draw for me, but we’ll do it one day. Once you have children, I just think, why not?”
In a 2017 interview, the actress said it’s basically a done deal. “Well, we’re going to get married for sure. We've got the ring. We're getting there. We're getting there.”
They're not in any rush, and why should they be? They have their whole lives to get married so they may as well do it when they're ready and enjoy their life together in the meantime.
8 Fatherhood Is Hugh Grant’s Greatest Accomplishment
Hugh Grant is the father of four (soon-to-be five) children but he has never been married.
Grant welcomed his first child in September 2011, a daughter Tabitha with Tinglan Hong. The couple had a fleeting affair and sadly, Hong was treated very poorly by the media. Grant has even blamed the press for keeping him from the birth of Tabitha.
A year later, Grant had his second child, a son named John Mungo Grant with Swedish television producer Anna Eberstein. He then reunited with Hong and had a third child, Felix Grant, in 2013.
Grant and Eberstein then rekindled their romance and welcomed their second child together (Grant’s fourth child) in December 2015. The couple is rumoured to be engaged and are expecting their third child together this year, making Grant a father of five.
When talking about the birth of his first child, Tabitha, Grant gushed over becoming a father. “We were all surprised. It's the nicest thing that's ever happened to me, it sounds cliched but it happens to be true.”
'You can’t help it. It's lovely to have all that love around. Suddenly you love someone more than yourself—it's unheard of in my case—and they love you. It's enchanting.”
7 Sandra Bullock Is A Single Mom By Choice
More and more you hear about women who are choosing to become single mothers. They get to the point where waiting for “Mr Right” just seems like a lost cause. Or they don’t see the need for a husband to make a family. Case in point, actress Sandra Bullock.
After her 5-year marriage to motorcycle builder Jesse James ended with rumours of cheating, Bullock took matters into her own hands. On April 28th, 2010, two months before her divorce was finalized, Bullock announced that she would be moving forward with plans to adopt alone.
In 2010, Bullock officially adopted her son Louis Bullock, who was born in January 2010 in New Orleans. In December 2015, she shared with the world that she had adopted a second child, daughter Laila Bullock. The family for three appeared on the cover of People Magazine.
"All the pieces came together," she said in an interview with Closer Weekly. "I went, 'This is who I like. This is who I am.' My family is blended and diverse, nutty and loving, and understanding. That’s a family."
6 Single Mom Madonna Does It On Her Own
Queen of Pop, Madonna, is a two-time divorcee, a 7 time Grammy award winner and, now, a single mom to her 6 children.
Madonna was married to actor Sean Penn from 1985 to 1989, but the couple never had children together. Madonna and actor Carlos Leon had a daughter, Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, in 1996. She then married Guy Ritchie in 2000 and they had a son, Rocco Ritchie, together that same year. They then adopted a son, David Banda in 2006. Madonna and Ritchie split in 2008.
Since then, Madonna has been living life as a single mom. And while the singer has not remarried since her split from Ritchie, she has grown her family. She adopted her daughter Mercy James in 2009. And just last year she adopted twin daughters, Esther and Stella Mwale from Malawi.
In 2015, Madonna opened up to TODAY about her growing family. "The more kids you have, the more responsibilities you have, the more you have to really be aware of time, time management, and juggling lots of balls in the air, and thinking, 'Oh, my God, this is how am I gonna do this? How am I gonna promote my record and show up at my daughter's show?’ You know what I mean? It's a tug of war."
5 Mark Wahlberg And Rhea Durham Say Marriage Changed Nothing
While they are now married, model Rhea Durham and actor Mark Wahlberg, had three of their four kids before they got hitched. Their daughter Ella Rae was born in 2003 and sons Michael and Brendan Joseph (born in 2006 and 2008) were all present when their parents got married in 2009.
Their fourth daughter, Margaret Grace, was born a year later in 2010.
When asked why the couple decided after so long to tie the knot Wahlberg said, in fact, nothing really changed. “We’ve been together for eight years and have four small children,” he told People. “We were like a married couple anyway-we just wanted to make it official. Nothing really changed.”
And he continues to try to be the best dad he can be, no matter what.
“I’m probably softer than I should be, but I’m pushing myself to be harder… I’m trying to be the best dad I can. What I do every day is pray for the strength to be a good servant, father and husband,” he told People. “I ask for the ability to raise my kids, to teach and protect them, and to be disciplined and firm and loving and nurturing. It can be a fine line, so I ask God for the strength to not lose my patience with my children.”
4 Angelina Jolie Started Her Family By Adopting
Hollywood’s very own Earth mother, Angelina Jolie, has been married more than once. Her first two marriages—to Jonny Lee Miller (1996-1999) and Billy Bob Thornton (2000-2003)—each lasted three years and neither couple had kids together.
After her divorce from Thornton, Jolie adopted her son Maddox Chivan from Cambodia on March 10, 2002. She was a single mom for 3 years before she met Brad Pitt on the set of Mr and Mrs Smith. Pitt divorced from Jennifer Aniston and the two began their relationship. In 2005, Jolie adopted her daughter Zahara Marley, who was born on January 8, 2005, in Ethiopia.
A single mom no more, Pitt officially adopted both Maddox and Zahara in January 2006. But still, the couple had not married or even got engaged.
Once the adoptions were finalized, Jolie and Pitt announced that they were expecting a child together. On May 27, 2006, Shiloh Nouvel was born. In March 2007, the couple adopted Pax Thien from Vietnam. The final piece of the Jolie-Pitt family arrived on July 12, 2008, when Jolie gave birth to twins Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline. The couple married in 2014 and after two years, filed for separation.
And while Jolie is once again a single mom, she realizes that being Angelina Jolie as a single mom is a different experience than most other single moms. “I'm not a single mom with two jobs trying to get by every day," she told The New York Daily News. "I have much more support than most people, most women in this world. And I have the financial means to have a home and health care and food."
3 Britney Spears Raises Her Boys Solo
The princess of Pop herself, Britney Spears, was married to dancer Kevin Federline in October 2004, after only knowing him for approximately 6 months. The couple didn’t waste any time, and Spears became a mother in September 2005 to her first son Sean Federline. A year later, in September 2006, Spears and Federline welcomed their second son, Jayden James Federline.
In November 2006, the couple filed for divorce and in July 2007, their divorce was finalized. They still share joint custody of the kids, but Spears has yet to remarry.
In a 2017 interview, the singer and performer took the possibility of marriage off the table. "I will never get married again, but I would like to have more children," she said.
And while Spears just completed her residency in Las Vegas, for her everything she does is for her kids.
“My kids come first, always,” she said in an interview with PEOPLE in Las Vegas. “There is nothing more rewarding than being a mom and watching my sons grow into young men. I am so lucky that I get to experience all of life’s adventures with them.”
To her, it seems, the only men she needs in her life long term are her sons. And isn't that the most important bond there is for a mom?
2 Jack Nicholson Loves Being A Single Father
Did you know that actor Jack Nicholson has four kids? One of the most widely regarded bachelors of all time, Jack Nicholson, was in fact married once.
Nicholson was married to actress Sandra Knight for five years. It was during this marriage that his first child, his daughter Jennifer, was born on September 16, 1963.
His relationship with Danish model Winnie Hollman brought him his second daughter, Honey Hollman, who was born in 1981.
He spent six years with actress Rebecca Broussard from 1989 to 1994. Their relationship brought them two children: a daughter Lorraine (born April 16, 1990) and a son Raymond (born February 20, 1992).
Another actress, Susan Anspach, claims that her son Caleb Goddard (born September 16, 1970), was fathered by Nicholson. He denies these claims, but no DNA testing has ever been done.
While he didn’t take a traditional route to fatherhood, Nicholson has stated that being a father has been the greatest joy in his life. "Children give your life a resonance that it can't have without them... As a father, I'm there all the time. I give unconditional love. And I have a lot of skills in terms of getting them to express themselves."
1 Lauryn Hill And Rohan Marley Have Five Kids And No Wedding Rings
If you have a kid or even three kids, you can only begin to imagine what it must be like to raise six kids. That’s what R&B superstar Lauryn Hill did.
Five of her children came from her relationship with former football player Rohan Marley, son of the legendary Bob Marley.
Zion David Marley was the couple’s first child, born August 3, 1997. Their daughter Selah Louise Marley was born on November 12, 1998, followed by Joshua Omaru Marley, who was born on January 26, 2002. The couple welcomed their third son, John Nesta Marley, in 2003 and their daughter Sarah Marley in 2008. The father Hill’s sixth child, son Micah Hill, is not publicly known.
For Hill, motherhood has been her greatest, most exciting challenge to date.
“Everybody asks me, ‘What’s your next move?’, and right now my focus is just being a good mother. If I could do that properly, I’d be really, really happy. If I could be half the parent that my parents were to me, then I’d be very happy,” Hill told Mother Mag.
“Like any woman on the planet who decides to have children, that’s an extremely important role. You have these empty vessels that you have to fill with all the information, and all the knowledge and all the proper tools for them to end up being happy, healthy, compassionate, caring people. That’s really crucial to me. So, I love music, and I always put my 100% into making music, but now I have to put 200% into being a mother.”
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