Being a parent is hard work. It can also be one of the most rewarding things you can experience. But that's not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you're a teenager suddenly faced with the idea of having a child. In the U.S, there are approximately 750,000 teen pregnancies reported every year. Despite the availability of birth control, and sex education, 82% of those pregnancies are unintended.
Shows like 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom try to show the world how difficult it really is to have a child before you're ready. Teen pregnancy rates are dropping, but there are still hundreds of thousands of teen girls every year that have to make a decision about an unwanted pregnancy. And some of those girls are, or later became, celebrities.
Clearly, celebrities aren't immune to making mistakes. Luckily, they are able to take care of the children they had too young, and have still managed to be successful in their career. A lot of other girls aren't so lucky. Here are 10 celebrities who became parents way too young.
15 Roseanne Barr
Comedian Roseanne Barr had a daughter when she was 17 years old who she chose to give up for adoption. She told People magazine that she'd originally planned to keep the baby, but it became clear that she couldn't handle the financial responsibility. She was eventually able to reunite with her daughter, Brandi Brown, and she said "she's a really cool kid. I saw a lot of me in her. She's intuitive, trusts her perceptions and feelings and listens to what's not spoken. That's how I've lived my life."
14 Anna Nicole Smith
Playboy model, Anna Nicole Smith dropped out of high school when she was 15, and got married 3 years later. She gave birth to her son, Daniel in 1986 when she was only 19 years old. They were very close, and Anna considered herself to be both his mother and his father. Sadly, her son passed away at the age of 20 from a lethal combination of Zoloft, Lexapro, and methadone. She reportedly was so distraught at his funeral that she tried to climb in the casket with him. Tragically, Smith died of an overdose less than 6 months after losing her son.
13 LeBron James
NBA superstar, LeBron James went straight from high school to the pros, and he hasn't looked back since. He's won two championships with the Miami Heat, and he's been on three Olympic teams. During his first year in the NBA he was named Rookie of the Year, and at only 19 he welcomed his first child, a son named LeBron Jr. He married his son's mother and they are still together with two more kids. LeBron Jr. may be following in his Dad's footsteps as he's already getting some attention for his skills on the court.
12 Jamie-Lynn Spears
Britney Spears' little sister Jamie Lynn was just starting to get famous in her own right with her Nickelodeon show Zoey 101 when she announced she was pregnant. She was 16 years old at the time, and the father was her boyfriend, Casey Aldridge who was 18. They decided to keep the baby, and get engaged, but their relationship was on and off and they never ended up getting married. Spears gave birth to a daughter, Maddie, in June 2008, and her career was put on hold for awhile. The discrepancy between her on-screen character's innocence and her real-life pregnancy caused some controversy, but now that her daughter is 7, she's trying to get her career back on track, starting with a country EP she released in 2014.
11 Sofia Vergara
Modern Family's Sofia Vergara married her high school sweetheart when she was 18 years old, and gave birth to their son, Manolo soon after she turned 20. She did some modelling and TV hosting work in Colombia before signing a deal with ABC to work in America. She and her husband divorced in 1993. Having a child at a young age hasn't prevented her from being extremely successful, as she's been nominated for numerous awards, including Golden Globes and Emmy's, and Forbes ranked her the 32nd most powerful woman in the world in 2014.
10 Solange Knowles
The less famous Knowles sister is also a singer, but she did things a little differently than Beyonce did. She got married and gave birth to her son, Daniel when she was only 18 years old. Her music career has been critically acclaimed, but not as high profile as Beyonce's, as she says her first passion is songwriting, and her sound has always been more Motown-inspired. She got divorced in 2007 and then remarried to music producer, Alan Ferguson in 2014. She has expressed regret at having a child so young, but says he's a blessing nonetheless.
9 Lil Wayne
Rapper, Lil Wayne currently has four children with four different women. His first child, a daughter named Reginae was born when he was only 15. He married her mother, his high school sweetheart, in 2004, but they divorced after only two years. Having a child young didn't stop him from pursuing a career as a rapper though. He dropped out of school when he was only 14, and joined hip-hop group the Hot Boys. His career grew steadily with collaborations with artists like Destiny's Child, Wycelf Jean, and Chris Brown. He has announced that his latest album will be his last, and he wants to retire at 35 in order to spend more time with his kids.
8 Aretha Franklin
"The Queen of Soul", Aretha Franklin is known for hit songs like "Respect" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman". Her father was an accomplished preacher who founded the Baptist church, New Bethel in Detroit. Her parents had a rocky relationship, and they separated in 1948. Her mother passed away when Aretha was only 10 years old, leaving her and her siblings to be raised by their father. She had two children, sons Clarence and Edward, before she turned 15, but she was lucky enough to have her grandmother help raise them while she focused on her music career. She's never revealed the identity of either of the boy's fathers.
At 34, T.I has had a busy life. He has six children , the first of which was born when he was only 19 years old. His three eldest children were all born within a year and half of each other to two different mothers. Despite having a lot of legal issues related to weapons and drugs, and serving some jail time, his career, and his ability to have kids, hasn't suffered. He's been with the mother of his two youngest sons, Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, since 2001, and she stuck with him through his prison time. The two got married in 2010, and he became a stepfather to her 14 year old daughter.
6 Fantasia Barrino
The third winner of American Idol, Fantasia Barrino was open about having a four year old daughter while she was on the show. Her struggle of becoming a single mother at 17 was part of what made fans love her so much, leading to her victory. She has revealed that she is functionally illiterate, but that hasn't stopped her from being successful in the music business. She is currently working on her fifth studio album, and she just got married to businessman Kendall Taylor, in July 2015.
5 Keisha Castle-Hughes
New Zealand actress Keisha Castle-Hughes made history when she was nominated for an Oscar at the age of 13 for her role in Whale Rider. In 2006, she announced that she was expecting a child with her boyfriend of seven years. Their daughter, Felicity was born one month after Keisha's 17th birthday. She played the role of the Virgin Mary in the 2006 film The Nativity Scene, and one critic speculated that Castle-Hughes' pregnancy might have hurt the film's success. While she hasn't reached the same success as her first ever film role, she has had small parts in shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.
4 Bristol Palin
During her mother's campaign as the Republican candidate for Vice President in 2008, Bristol Palin, then 18, announced she was pregnant. Political advisers for John McCain and Sarah Palin were worried the pregnancy would have a negative affect on the campaign, and they allegedly encouraged Bristol and the father of her child, Levi Johnston to get married. Bristol has been vocal on her decision to keep the baby, and also her stance on the importance of abstinence as the only 100% effective method of birth control. She recently announced that she's pregnant again, calling the situation "not ideal, but planned nonetheless."
3 Niki Taylor
Supermodel Niki Taylor was a huge success at a young age. She was discovered at the age of 14, and appeared on the cover of Vogue when she was only 15. She met football player, Matt Martinez right after graduating high school, and the two eloped in Las Vegas after only dating for 3 months. She was pregnant with twins within a few months of getting married, and she gave birth to the boys, Jake and Hunter, when she was 19. Having kids young didn't stop her career from exploding though, and she graced the cover of various fashion magazines throughout the late 90's as well as the 1998 Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar.
2 Loretta Lynn
Now 83-years-old, country singer, Loretta Lynn had her first child, Betty Sue, when she was 16. She got married earlier that year at the age of 15. She and her husband were married for almost 50 years until his death in 1996. They had six kids together, four of them before Loretta even turned 20. She then became a grandmother at the age of 34, only two years after her eldest children, twin girls, were born. She now has a total of 21 grandchildren. Lynn was known for pushing the boundaries in country music by singing about women's issues like double standards, and ironically, birth control.
1 Naomi Judd
Country singer, Naomi Judd had her first daughter, Christina, when she was 18 years old. You may recognize Christina by her stage name, Wynonna Judd, which she adopted when she and her mother formed the duo, The Judds. Naomi quickly got married after her daughter's biological father abandoned her, and she gave birth to her second daughter, Ashley Judd in 1968. After divorcing Ashley's father, she raised her daughters as a single mother before she and Wynonna made it big as The Judds, winning numerous awards, including five Grammys.