With so many famous kids growing up in the spotlight these days, it's sometimes tough to think of any kids with famous parents who haven't had their photos snapped by paparazzi a hundred times before their first birthday. But back these celebs weren't quite famous yet, they had kiddos who have mostly flown under the radar.
When a child has a famous mom or dad (or both), odds are, fans will know their names. Kids like Blue Ivy Carter, Stormi Webster, True Thompson, Suri Cruise, and others can't exactly hope for privacy when their births (and their parents' relationships) are headline news.
Famous kids' lives are different in other ways, too. Pre-fame, most celebs' kids grew up without a whole lot of money or attention from the press. To most people, a fame-free childhood is actually something that's sought after, especially considering how crazy paparazzi can get trying to snap a pic of a famous tot.
For the following 20 celebs (at least some of), their kids came before their fame, meaning the little ones got to enjoy relatively normal childhoods. And it's equally impressive that these celebs managed to grow amazing resumes in the entertainment industry while raising their families.
20 Lebron Is A Baller With Pre-Fame Babies
Lebron James may be famous for basketball, but casual fans may not know he already has three kids, the first of which arrived when Lebron was only 20 years old. Lamar and his high school sweetheart, Savannah Brinson, had their first child (Lebron Jr.) in 2004, their second (Bryce) in 2007, and their third (Zhuri) in 2014. Coincidentally, around 2003-2004 was the time when Lebron really shot to fame.
Fans might not have realized Lebron was already an experienced dad, especially since there's not been any drama surrounding his relationship with his wife, who he's been married to since 2011 but partnered with since at least 2004.
19 Comedy Followed Motherhood For Whoopi
Did you even know Whoopi Goldberg was a mom? I sure didn't, but the impressive comedienne has a daughter named Alexa Martin who was born in 1973, long before Whoopi was a household name. Thanks to Alexandrea, Whoopi's even a great-grandma! If that's not hard enough to believe, picture Whoopi performing her comedy shows while toting a toddler around!
These days, the pair have a great relationship, with Alex calling her mama her best friend. Not only is that adorable, but it's also impressive that Whoopi was able to raise her girl outside the spotlight that follows such an iconic comedian.
18 Roseanne's Kids Have Stayed Out Of The Spotlight
Roseanne might have used up her time in the spotlight by now, but back in the '90s and 2000s, she was a staple in many homes thanks to her sitcom. But before that, she had a child who she placed for adoption, way back in 1970. Then during her first marriage, Roseanne had three more kids, all before 1990. Her last child was born in 1994, at the height of her Roseanne fame.
It's interesting to think of Roseanne being so similar to her sitcom character, especially when we look back at the scenes where she cared for her on-screen grandbaby or "mothered" her on-screen kids.
17 Will Smith Was A Dad Long Before Jaden & Willow
He's been in the acting (and rap) game for decades now, but even before he became an international sensation, Will was a dad to son Willard Carroll "Trey" Smith III. He and his ex-wife Sheree Zampino (they were married from 1992 to 1995) welcomed their son shortly after Will's rise to fame due to his appearance on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Trey was born in 1992, and it seems that he got to enjoy his early life without cameras staring him down. Sure, Will got pretty famous pretty fast (and everyone knew the Fresh Prince) theme song, but we haven't seen Trey much over the years. These days, he's a full-grown actor in his own right.
16 JK Rowling Became A Mom In Portugal Pre-Harry Potter
It's really no wonder JK Rowling became a writer; her romance with her first child's father was almost storybook. The two met and shared a mutual interest in Jane Austen, later married, and welcomed their daughter Jessica in 1993. Rowling's other two children (with a different father, her current husband Neil Murray) were born while she was still working on the Harry Potter novels. In fact, Rowling actually dedicated the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to her daughter Mackenzie, who was born in 2005.
And having kids clearly didn't stop JK from finishing her books (though she did take some long breaks to raise her older kids). Her kids are grown now and likely enjoying their mom's fame since it doesn't interfere too much with their own lives.
15 Fans Forget Offset's First Three Kids
According to his Wikipedia entry, Offset's been in the rap game since at least 2008. But it wasn't until recently (around 2017) that he really became enormously famous, thanks to his marriage to breakout rap star Cardi B. These days, the pair have reconciled following a brief break, and they're enjoying life as a family of three with their daughter Kulture.
But long before Offset got famous via Cardi, he had a son named Jordan with a woman who had to go to court to establish paternity. Jordan was born in 2009, while Offset's other two kids were both born in 2015 (to different moms).
14 Sofia Vergara Was The Original Teen Mom
Sofia Vergara was barely 19 when she welcomed her son Manolo in 1992, but she was married (to Manolo's father, Joe Gonzalez). She hasn't gone on to have more children, despite a fight over frozen embryos with an ex, but she does love spending time with her nephew, whose nickname is Rafa.
After she had her son, the Colombia-born Sofia moved to Miami, Florida and embarked on a long-running stint in entertainment. After her first modeling gig in a Pepsi commercial, Sofia only rose in her stardom, and these days, her model son Manolo is evidently following in her footsteps.
13 Tom Cruise Flew Under The Radar Prior To Suri
Before "TomKat" was a thing and Suri Cruise was born, Tom Cruise was married to Nicole Kidman. Sure, it was the '90s and Tom was already acting, but his fame then was nothing compared to when he wed Katie Holmes in 2006. Suri was born the same year, and publicity seemed to follow the family, with Tom's older kids Connor and Isabella all but forgotten.
The two adult kids are living their own lives these days, although Connor does live near his dad in Clearwater, Florida, according to W Magazine. Isabella is now married, and while Nicole Kidman has said that the kids stopped calling her "mom" ages ago, it's tough to tell whether their relationship has been mended.
12 Clint Eastwood Has More Kids Than Anyone Can Count
Clearly, much of Clint Eastwood's life has been about having a good time. Even before he became a household name, he met and wooed plenty of ladies who later birthed his children. Well, apparently. Even Wikipedia doesn't have all the details straight on all of Clint's progeny.
Clint's first contract began in 1954, but most fans these days recognize him from more recent roles, like those of Space Cowboys, Million Dollar Baby, and others. But Clint started having kids in 1964, with the arrival of his daughter Kimber. Two more kids followed in 1968 and 1972 (both to his then-wife), then another two to another woman in 1986 and 1988. His most recent (and confirmed) child was born in 1996.
11 Alec Baldwin's New Family Isn't His First
He and his current wife, Hilaria, have four adorable kids together, but this isn't Alec's first family. His older daughter Ireland was born in 1995, and personally, I'd never even heard of Alec or his kid until she was in her teens and the drama surrounding his divorce from Kim Basinger became headline news.
Now, Alec is famous for his appearances on SNL, among other projects, but his daughter Ireland has mostly done her own thing, largely under the radar until her parents' split. A lot of publicity came at that time, and many people are surprised to find out that Alec has a grown-up daughter, along with four kids in their preschool years.
10 Dwyane Had A Handful Of Kids Pre-Gabrielle Union
Dwyane Wade and his celeb wife Gabrielle Union recently welcomed a daughter (Gabrielle's first child) via surrogate, but it's not this veteran dad's first rodeo. Not only does he have three other biological children, but he also apparently has custody of his nephew. To add to the interest, his third child was conceived while he and Gabrielle were on a "break" back in 2013.
But the first of his kids were born in 2002, while Dwyane's fame didn't really take off until 2005 NBA playoffs. These days he's more widely known for being married to the famous Gabrielle than he is for basketball (at least in the entertainment industry!).
9 Oprah's Early Experiences As A Mother Shaped Her Future
The story is emotional and tragic, to be sure, but Oprah told audiences years ago that she had welcomed a son into the world at the age of 14. Her son—who she later decided to name Canaan—NY Daily News explained, passed away before Oprah could even bring him home from the hospital.
Clearly, that experience shaped her life moving forward, as Oprah said losing her baby meant she could go back to school and pretend as if it hadn't happened, protecting her reputation and therefore her future. But few people knew that Oprah had ever had a child at all, or that it was before her fame ever began.
8 Eminem's Songs About His Daughter Earned Him Fame
Back before Eminem gained international fame, he was just a troubled dad trying to maintain a relationship with his daughter. He and his ex Kim were married and divorced twice, but ultimately, their troubles are what propelled Eminem to the top of his rap game. He wrote songs about both his ex and his little girl Hailie, many of which earned him some of his fame.
These days, his adult daughter Hailie is a social media influencer, but Eminem also retained custody of his ex-wife Kim's twin sister's daughter (Alaina) (Kim's twin passed away) and also his ex-wife's daughter from another man (Whitney).
7 The Rock Is An Experienced Dad, Too
We all saw the photo of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson feeding his lady while she was feeding their baby, but it's not his first foray into parenthood. Before he caught his big break as an actor (he was previously a wrestler), Dwayne had a daughter with his ex-wife Dany Garcia.
Simone was born in 2001, the same year as The Mummy Returns debuted, jump-starting Dwayne's acting resume. These days, Dwayne's enjoying round two as a dad, raising his two daughters, Jasmine and Tiana, with his girlfriend Lauren Hashian. Simone is a teen these days, meaning she lived her life mostly out of the spotlight until now.
6 Before She Was Elle Woods, Reese Witherspoon Was Just Mom
Reese Witherspoon may have starred in Cruel Intentions with her former hubby Ryan Philippe, but when her daughter Ava was born in 1999, not many people really knew who the actress was. By the time she starred in Legally Blonde and became uber famous, Reese was a mom to a toddler, and she had her son Deacon the same year the sequel came out. Talk about a busy new mom!
It's a bit surprising to find out that most of Reese's acting credits came after she had her kids, especially given that she's now raising her son Tennessee with current hubby Jim Toth.
5 Lamar Odom Has Been A Dad Since The '90s
Even before Lamar Odom reached a high enough level of fame that he met and wed Khloe Kardashian, he was already a dad! You may not have known it from his relatively short stint on the Kardashian reality show, but Lamar has three grown kids; Destiny was born in 1998 and Lamar Jr. came along in 2002. Lamar and his ex Liza Morales also welcomed a son in 2005, but he passed away in 2006 from what was presumed to be SIDS.
It's probably fortunate that Lamar's kids were a bit older by the time he ran into Kardashian fame, but it's still a bit strange that they were never talked about a whole lot while he was in the spotlight.
4 Diddy Does Fatherhood Right
He's gone by plenty of names over the years, but Sean Combs is probably best known for the nickname Diddy. What he's not exactly as well known for is fathering six children, including one he adopted. Among his kiddos are twins, who are only five months apart in age from another of his children, but his first biological son was born back in 1993. For reference, Diddy's first album came out in 1997, and he and Jlo were a thing in 1999.
Even though he's apparently no longer with any of his kids' moms (one passed away in 2018), Diddy maintains amazing relationships with all of his kids, many of whom are adults already. He's also not shy about dropping large amounts of cash on them!
3 Solange Became A Mom Way Before Beyonce
Solange, Beyonce's younger sister, might seem like she's grown in up in Bey's shadow, but according to her, that's not the case. And although she didn't have a major spotlight on her when it happened, Solange was a mama first. She had her son Daniel Julez J. Smith Jr. in 2004 when she was barely out of her teens (she and Daniel's dad were married when Solange was 17).
It's tough to argue that Solange has gained international fame, but it is true that her son came before most of her bigger albums, and she even wrote some songs for her baby back in the day.
2 Eddie's Many Kids Didn't Start (Or End) With A Spice Girl
Although Eddie Murphy's resume starts back in the '80s, let's be honest: no one remembers him in anything prior to the late 1990s. That was when movies like The Nutty Professor and Dr. Dootlittle came out, plus animated films like Mulan and Shrek. And before that, Eddie already had two kids around 1989 to 1990.
He and Nicole Mitchell—who later became his wife—had five kids together, but after their split, he welcomed a daughter with Mel B. Well, not with her, as he denied he was the dad at first, but he eventually warmed up to her... Then he had two more kids with current GF Paige Butcher (the two have a son and a daughter).
1 T.I. Started Rapping & Dadding At The Same Time
The year rapper T.I.'s first album came out, he became a dad. Of course, by the time he hit the height of his fame, he had six kids and was starring on a reality show... But back when he was writing his first couple albums, it was just one tot for the now-famous dad.
T.I.'s oldest child, Zonnique, was born in 1996 and is his adopted daughter; she came long before anyone was even watching reality TV. T.I.'s first biological child Messiah came next in 2000, Domani in 2001, Deyjah also in 2001, Clifford in 2005, Major in 2008, and Heiress in 2016. Clearly, the younger Harris kids are growing up with the spotlight all on them, but it wasn't always that way!
Sources: Wikipedia, W Magazine, Life and Style Mag