Let’s face it: while most traditional families consisted of a mother and a father in the past, it’s safe to say that times are definitely changing. These days, great strides have been made when it comes to sexuality and people have felt a lot more comfortable coming out of the closet and living life as their authentic selves. With acceptance and understanding becoming more prevalent in society, it’s not uncommon to see families that have two moms or two dads instead of a standard mother and father. With popular television series’ such as Modern Family breaking the barrier between what’s considered “normal” and what isn’t, it’s pretty safe to say that in some cases we have witnessed a whole new wave of how a family is structured become the new norm.
Much like the rest of us, celebrities are no different when it comes to their own personal experiences with living outside the box. In fact, there has been an onslaught of stars that have been very forthcoming about their unconventional upbringings. For the most part, there have been numerous celebs who are unafraid and unapologetic to announce that at least one of their parents is gay and proud. Most of these famous faces have shown ample support of their moms and dads even though they may have been initially taken aback by their sudden declarations of batting for the other team. Even though we sometimes assume that absolutely everything is out in the open when it comes to celebrities, we aren’t always privy to what really goes on behind closed doors.
Here are 15 celebs you didn’t know have gay parents.
15 Jessica Simpson’s Dad Was Cheating With Male Models
Jessica Simpson was raised with a strict Christian upbringing under the guise of her mother Tina and her father Joe, who worked as a Baptist youth minister while the family lived in Texas. The star’s parents in 1978 and appeared to have a strong relationship until they unexpectedly announced their plans to divorce in 2013.
Following their surprise split, the tabloids picked up various stories about Joe’s double life as a gay man being the main reason behind their bombshell breakup. According to reports, Tina Simpson caught her longtime husband canoodling with a much younger male model and that’s when their thirty-four marriage ultimately crumbled. In recent years, Joe’s appearance has drastically changed and he has given up his youth ministry work in favor of being a photographer, often working with a string of openly gay male talent.
While Simpson has been romantically linked to models Bryce Chandler Hill as well as Johnathan Keith, he has never outwardly commented on his sexuality to the press. While the Simpson clan remains mum on whether or not Joe is or isn’t batting for the other team, it’s been pretty well known that Joe has been openly gay for a number of years. In fact, even Jessica’s ex-husband Nick Lachey alluded to the fact that “Papa Joe” was interested in men when he revealed that his former father-in-law had hit on him while he was still married to his famous daughter. Whether or not Joe Simpson is gay is entirely his business, but there’s no need to hide what everybody has already known for quite some time now.
14 Mandy Moore’s Mom Left Her Dad For A Woman
Mandy Moore stepped onto the music scene in the early 2000's joining the ranks of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera in pop super-stardom. Since then, Moore has established herself as an actress and has starred in films such as A Walk To Remember and more recently, the hit television series This Is Us. While Mandy has somehow managed to keep a relatively low profile when it comes to her personal life compared to some other celebs, she recently opened up about her mother and both of her brothers coming out of the closet. After more than two decades of marriage, Mandy’s mom Stacey decided to leave her father to be with a woman in 2008.
The star’s mother revealed that she identified as a lesbian while Mandy’s two brothers also felt comfortable sharing the fact that they were both gay as well. According to Moore, she and her family are “extraordinarily close” and she believes that everyone’s honesty plays a major role in their tight-knit bond. Speaking to People magazine, Moore stated, “Nobody is hiding who they are. There are no secrets in our lives. I love and support my mom and my brothers with my whole heart. And nothing makes me happier than seeing anybody live their authentic self, and to choose love. If anyone can find love, I support it, I salute you and I celebrate that.”
13 Jay-Z’s Mom Kept Her Sexuality A Secret For Years
As a rapper and professional entertainer, Jay-Z has been known to share a lot of intimate details about his personal life through his music. The star has admitted to some pretty serious cheating allegations and has addressed his feud with longtime friend Kanye West, but few revelations were as unexpected as when Jay told the whole world that his mother identified as a lesbian. On his latest album titled 4:44, the rapper included a track called “Smile” that told the story of his mom, Gloria Carter, and the struggles she felt hiding the fact that she was gay for as long as she did.
The matriarch herself spoke candidly in a recent interview about coming out to her famous son, stating, “Me and my son, we share a lot of information. I was sitting there and I was telling him one day, I just finally started telling him who I was. Besides your mother, this is the person that I am. This is the life that I live.”Jay’s mom went into even further detail about Jay’s feelings on the matter, explaining, “My son started actually tearing ’cause he’s like, ‘That had to be a horrible life, Ma.’ I was like, ‘My life was never horrible. It was just different.’ So that made him want to do a song about it.”
12 Robert De Niro’s Father Was Openly Gay
Although Robert De Niro usually plays into a “tough guy” persona when he’s on the big screen, in real life the actor recently showed a soft spot for the struggles his father faced as an openly gay man when times weren’t as understanding as they are today. In the 2014 HBO movie Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Senior, the actor pays tribute to his late father and discusses the complicated dynamics of their father/son relationship. After separating from his mother in 1946, De Niro’s dad lived life as a gay man and a struggling artist. According to the star, his namesake likely suffered from depression as a result of being gay during a time where it was seen as socially unacceptable. De Niro has stated that although he and his father struggled to forge a deep connection in his youth, he grew up to respect and appreciate his father in a number of ways. The seasoned actor also revealed that during his younger years, he wasn’t very aware of his father’s sexuality and his mother rarely spoke about it at all. Despite their many differences, Robert De Niro admittedly has a better understanding of his father these days and admires him living the life he was meant to life.
11 50 Cent's Mom Dated Other Women
Rap music fans might remember the line “coming up I was confused by my Mama kissing a girl” from one of 50 Cent’s popular tracks but few people probably realize that in this case, art really did imitate life. As it turns out, 50’s mother lived life as a lesbian before her death when the future star was just a child. The rapper has spoken candidly on the matter, admitting that he didn’t quite understand the nature of his mom’s relationships until he got a little older. 50 further explained that his grandmother tried to help him get a better grasp of his mother’s lifestyle but he just assumed that her female companions were nothing more than close girlfriends. 50 elaborated, saying, “When you’re that small you don’t see things that would indicate there are other things going on. [My] grandmother would say things like ‘That kiss was a little different from all the other kisses you saw”. Interestingly enough, the famed rapper has been rather outspoken about his negative feelings towards homosexuality despite being raised around it for most of his youth.
10 Jodie Foster Was Raised By Two Women
By now, most people probably know that Jodie Foster is a lesbian after she formally came out during her acceptance speech at the 2013 Golden Globes - but a lesser known tidbit is that her mother also identifies as a gay woman. The mother/daughter duo apparently have a lot more in common than meets the eye, as the actress was actually raised by two moms her whole life. Jodie’s mom, Evelyn, divorced her husband before Jodie was even born and as a result, the star never established a proper relationship with her biological father. Instead, Jodie and her three siblings were raised by Evelyn and her longtime partner. According to reports, Foster commonly referred to her second mom as her “aunt”. It’s obvious that acceptance was something that was instilled in Foster from an early age, and it likely made her decision to come out much easier knowing that she wouldn’t face any judgement from the women who raised her.
9 OJ Simpson Was Ashamed Of His Gay Father
You might think that by now you know everything there is to know about OJ Simpson, but you couldn’t be more wrong. The disgraced former pro-football player made national headlines after being the prime suspect in a double-homicide investigation that took the world by storm, but few people knew much about her personal life prior to that point. One of Simpson’s childhood friends revealed that when they were younger they walked in on OJ’s father in a bathrobe with another man present, all but alluding to the fact that he was secretly gay. According to that same friend, Simpson was very much aware of his father’s sexuality and tried to cover it up as much as possible. Having a gay father was a touchy subject for Simpson, who was said to not approve of his dad’s lifestyle. OJ’s father, Jimmy Lee, was actually a rather well-known San Francisco-based drag queen in the mid-eighties before his death in 1986.
8 Liza Minnelli’s Father Swung Both Ways
While Liza Minnelli may be a bit of a gay icon in her own right, her father, Vincente, has long been rumored to have been a gay man living in secrecy. Liza was the product of Wizard of Oz actress Judy Garland and Minnelli, who worked as a stage and film director. Much like her mother, Liza had many marriages come and go but perhaps the main reason behind her parent’s split was her father’s hidden affinity for men. According to a number of reports, Minnelli had been bottling up his feelings for quite some time. One biographer, Emmanuel Levy, had an interesting theory about Vincente’s lifestyle, revealing “He was openly gay in New York – we were able to document names of companions and stories from Dorothy Parker. But when he came to Hollywood, I think he made the decision to repress that part of himself or to become bisexual." There have also been a number of stories indicating that Garland had become award that her then-husband was involved in torrid affairs with men and had even caught him in bed with another man at one point.
7 Rene Russo Appreciates Her Lesbian Moms
There are tons of celebrities who have very personal experiences with gay family members, and Rene Russo is no exception. Following her friend Rosie O’Donnell’s public decision to come out as a lesbian, Rene Russo finally felt compelled to share her story about her own gay mother in 2002. During a sit-down interview on Good Morning America, the actress candidly confessed, "I'd like to say that when I was born—oh, I'm going to cry, but this is for you, Rosie—my dad left, and it was women in my life that were gay that raised me and that helped me and nurtured me." In fact, after her father walked out when she was just two years old, it was Russo’s mother, Shirley, who was responsible for raising the future star along with her lesbian counterpart. Russo is very thankful for her upbringing and sees her unique childhood as an advantage that helped shape her into the woman that she is today.
6 Jennifer Grey's Dad Came Out At 82
5 Ally Sheedy's Mom And Daughter Are Both Lesbians
Major eighties star Ally Sheedy is best known for her roles in films such as Short Circuit and The Breakfast Club, but did anyone know that she was raised by a gay parent? As it turns out, Sheedy’s parents Charlotte and John divorced in 1971 when the budding starlet was just nine years old. Following their split, Ally’s mom was able to live her truth as an openly gay woman. Similarly, Sheedy’s own daughter also came out as gay in 2010 and the actress has been quite vocal about her sense of social responsibility to speak in support of those struggling with their sexuality. In a candid interview, Sheedy explained, “I feel like I come from this community because I have a gay mom and a gay daughter. … I've been surrounded by actors my entire life and [many of them are gay]. … This is my world. I feel so much a part of the greater LGBTQ community.” The actress also spoke fondly of her mother on an even deeper level, saying, “My mom's been such a champion. She's always been really politically conscious and active. That's what I remember growing up. I mean, I remember growing up during the women's liberation movement when people were gay, they were straight, they were this, they were that…there were no stereotypes … so, I never had a moment where people were straight and then they were suddenly gay. It was my world.”
4 Anne Heche's Father Lived A Life Full Of Secrets
Seriously, who could forget when notoriously straight actress Anne Heche infamously romanced Ellen DeGeneres? Ellen had caused quite a sensation when she decided to go public about the fact that she was gay, but her relationship with Heche was still nothing short of surprising. While Heche had only been in public relationships with men, the world was a bit taken aback to see her in such a high-profile lesbian love affair. Aside from being interested in both sexes herself, Anne has publicly stated that her late father was a closeted gay man up until his death in 1983. Although he never officially came out as a homosexual, Heche believes that his AIDS diagnosis was a result of his secret way of life, once telling Larry King, “He was in complete denial until the day he died. We know he got it from his gay relationships. Absolutely. I don't think it was just one. He was a very promiscuous man, and we knew his lifestyle then."
3 Amy Adams' Mormom Mom Fell In Love With A Woman
You might never have guessed it, but Amy Adams certainly had a unique childhood to say the least. Adams was raised with a strict Mormon upbringing, but her whole world was shook when her parents, Kathryn and Richard, decided to divorce when she was just eleven years old. After her marriage had ended in 1985, Amy’s mom took on an entirely new lifestyle as an openly gay woman. Kathryn moved in with her lesbian lover and not long after Amy and three of her seven siblings left home to live with friends. Many reports have stated that all of the changes following her parent’s divorce were just too much for the young future starlet to handle at the time. Of course, it can be understandably hard to come to terms with your mother coming out of the closet, but it’s something the star has gradually accepted as she got older. Despite a couple of rocky moments in the past, Amy and her mother appear to be quite close and the matriarch is very vocal about her support for the actress.
2 Jena Malone Has A Mom And A "Godmom"
Jena Malone made a name for herself in Hollywood as an actress, musician and photographer, and she also knows a thing or two about growing up in a pretty non-traditional way. The Nevada-native was born to parents Debbie Malone and Edward Berge, but she was primarily raised by her mother and mother’s lesbian lover who she affectionately referred to as her “Godmom”. While some might consider her upbringing to have been out of the ordinary, Jena insists otherwise. According to Malone, she appreciates the way she was brought up, stating, “I was raised by a pair of lesbians. When I was younger it wasn’t anything abnormal. I had two mums and I found that exciting because my friends seemed to like their mum more than their dad so I’d be like: ‘Ha, I’ve got two of them!’ I got a lot of love, respect and acceptance from them. I had a healthy normal relationship with my parent".
1 Andy Richter's Father Was Gay
Although he has had his feet solidly planted in Hollywood for multiple decades now, not much has been said when it comes to Andy Richter’s private life. Richter is possibly best known for his longtime role as Conan O’Brien’s trusty sidekick on an array of talk shows including Late Night, The Tonight Show, and most recently, Conan. There are plenty of celebs who you might not know were raised by gay parents, and Andy is definitely one of them. The star grew up in a family with three other siblings but things suddenly changed for him at a young age. Like many other families, Andy’s parents struggled in their marriage and they ultimately decided to call it quits. While we don’t know the exact reasons behind their divorce, we do have a pretty logical theory. Andy was four years old when his parents, Glenda and Laurence, ended their relationship and Richter’s father later came out as an openly gay man. Being a gay man in a heterosexual relationship surely isn’t ideal, and coming out must have felt like a huge weight was being lifted off of his father’s shoulders to say the least.
Sources: People.com, UsWeekly.com, DailyMail.co.uk