Celebs Who've Been Estranged From Their Kids

The following article includes references to addiction, mental health issues, suicide, homophobia and transphobia, and abuse allegations.

While some stars have openly chosen not to have kids, others have totally embraced parenthood, ushering in all the positive changes that come with it, and raising kids who are basically their twins. However, there's a big misconception that celebs have it easy when it comes to parenting. The truth is, having money and resources doesn't automatically make it a breeze. As psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo once told E! News, "Our society has become so critical of other people" and that's especially true about folks in the spotlight. She argued that celeb parents are actually faced with an extra layer of stress because the public is constantly scrutinizing them. Indeed, A-listers have had to deal with being called out for just about every reason, from David Beckham letting four-year-old Harper use a pacifier to Pink taking her son Jameson to a zoo.

Similarly, fame doesn't automatically make you a great mom or dad. The celebrity kids below (many of them now celebs in their own right) can vouch for that. Just like in the real world, far away from Hollywood, couples have disagreements, individuals face struggles, and sometimes, families fall apart. Here are all the big celebs who've sadly been estranged from their kids.

Tom Cruise reportedly hasn't seen Suri Cruise in years

Tom Cruise's love for Katie Holmes had him jumping on couches, but the couple's 2012 divorce proved to be even more buzzworthy. Namely, folks couldn't stop speculating about the role Scientology had played in the split and how Cruise's relationship with his six-year-old daughter, Suri Cruise, would be impacted. In 2012, several outlets reported that the actor had abandoned his youngest child, causing Cruise to file (and eventually settle) a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Bauer Media Group, the publisher of Life & Style and InTouch. In court documents seen by TMZ, he claimed, "I have in no way cut Suri out of my life, whether physically, emotionally, financially or otherwise." However, in his 2013 deposition seen by People, he admitted he hadn't seen Suri for 100 days and had missed her first day of school because he was filming in London. "If she had asked me to be there, I would have been there," he argued.

In 2016, a source told InTouch that they hadn't spoken or seen each other in 1,000 days. "He uses his film commitments as an excuse, but the truth is that doesn't hold much weight with Suri anymore," they claimed. Another insider told Us Weekly in 2018 that his custody agreement with Holmes allowed him to see Suri 10 days a month, but "he chooses not to because she is not a Scientologist." As of 2023, the duo was reportedly estranged. A source told Daily Mail, Cruise does "not have a part" in Suri's life.

Elon Musk blames communism for Vivian Musk's estrangement

Elon Musk has famously sung the praises of having a large family and even quipped on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he was "doing my best to help the underpopulation crisis." Indeed, he became a dad for the 11th time in 2022. Musk's oldest children, twins Griffin and Vivian Musk, were born in 2004 when he was married to his first wife, Canadian author Justine Wilson. While they've spent most of their lives out of the limelight, Vivian made headlines in 2022 when, at 18, she filed to legally change her name and be recognized as female. Vivian petitioned the court to change her birth name — Xavier Musk — to Vivian Jenna Wilson, dropping her dad's famous last name and taking her mother's. In doing so, she made her distaste for the billionaire known. In court docs seen by TMZ, she listed her reason for the change as: "Gender Identity and the fact that I no longer live with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form."

Rather than trying to mend their relationship, the Tesla founder told Financial Times, "I have very good relationships with all the others. Can't win them all." He also shared a bizarre reason as to why he thinks Vivian doesn't want him in her life. "It's full-on communism ... and a general sentiment that if you're rich, you're evil," he mused. It may also be because in 2020 he tweeted, "Pronouns suck," then argued, "I absolutely support trans, but all these pronouns are an esthetic nightmare."

Jackie Chan cut all ties with his daughter

Jackie Chan has been married to Joan Lin since 1982 but their union nearly fell apart in 1999 when the actor admitted to having an affair with former Miss Asia Elaine Ng. Speaking with the media, he said his wife forgave him and so did their only child, Jaycee, who was born in 1982. "My son understands," he said, per Entertainment Weekly. At the time, Elaine was seven months pregnant and Chan agreed to a paternity test. "If the child is mine, I'll surely take responsibility," he claimed. Except that wasn't the case. Daughter Etta Ng was born in 1999 and remained with her mother in Hong Kong where she grew up not knowing Chan. In 2015, a 15-year-old Etta told Express. "He is not my dad. I have no feelings for him." Saying she hadn't forgiven him, she added, "He is my biological father but he is not in my life."

In 2017, Etta came out as gay and married Andi Autumn in 2018. That year, the couple posted a since-deleted video (via People) claiming, "We've been homeless for a month due to homophobic parents." In addition to being spotted at a food bank, Etta alleged, "We pretty much slept under a bridge." Indeed, it seems Chan made a clean break from Etta. In his 2018 memoir, "Never Grow Up," he wrote about speaking with his wife and son about the affair once in 1999 and "it was never mentioned again." The next day, he changed his will to leave everything to Joan.

Cher's bond with Elijah Blue Allman has been rocky

The same year that Cher's high-profile marriage to Sonny Bono came to an end, the singer said "I do" to Gregg Allman. It was 1975 and, just nine days later, she wanted to call it quits because of his addiction. However, they stayed together and had son Elijah Blue in 1976 before splitting in 1977.

Elijah would grow up to be a musician like his parents, starting metal band Deadsy, but like his dad, he'd also struggle with excessive substance use. "I was smoking dope, taking a lot of pills, any pain killer we could get and drinking," he told Daily Mail. After getting sober in 2008, he was dealt another blow when he was diagnosed with Lyme disease. While seeking treatment, his mom supported him but it wasn't quite enough. "You absolutely need unconditional parental love in those dark hours, that was lacking from that direction," he shared. Elijah also admitted to having unresolved issues with Cher that stretched back decades. "When you go to boarding school at 7 years old, it's kind of hard to feel like you're not being shunned," he told ET.

What's more, Elijah told Daily Mail they'd previously gone years without talking and alleged that his 2013 marriage threw a wrench in their already rocky relationship. After his mom failed to even congratulate him, he eloped. "I've always been the black sheep of my family," he mused. "We just have different value systems and we just have a different mentality and that clashes a lot."

Anthony Hopkins has no relationship with his only child

Sir Anthony Hopkins is an incredible actor, but he hasn't been an incredible family man. He married Petronella Barker in 1966 and they had one daughter, Abigail Hopkins, in 1968. The first-time dad struggled and started drinking and self-destructing. "I see young kids today freak out and I suppose I was like that," he once admitted, per Daily Mail. When Abigail was just 14 months old, he left. "I would see him, but maybe once a year," Abigail told The Telegraph in 2006. When she was 16, they had their worst fight yet over something Anthony said about her mom. Their estrangement grew and, at 18, Abigail began struggling with drug addition and suicidal thoughts. "The root cause was the fact that my father and I had an intermittent relationship when I was young," she said. "I was angry and there was a lot of grieving going on."

They briefly reconciled in 1990 but eventually cut all ties. In 2002, Anthony told Howard Stern (via Hello!), "I guess we are estranged." In 2018, he told The Times, he doesn't know if he has grandkids. "I don't care one way or the other," he slammed. "It is cold, because life is cold." Later speaking with The Sunday Times in 2021, he said he does have regrets, but concluded, "You have to get on with life." Abigail took a similarly stoic approach, telling The Telegraph, "There is a little bit of sadness but I have to get on with my life."

Was Rosie O'Donnell an absentee mom?

Rosie O'Donnell is a mom of five who told People in 2022 that adoption has "made my life worth everything." However, her oldest daughter, Chelsea Belle (whom the comedian adopted with her first wife, Kelli Carpenter) didn't always feel the love. In 2015, a 17-year-old Chelsea ran away from home. She was found just a few hours after being reported missing and Rosie's rep told People, "Chelsea, like millions of people, lives with mental illness." 

Well, Chelsea didn't appreciate that. Speaking with Daily Mail, she clapped back, alleging she was told to leave. "Rosie knew I was planning to leave, that's why I think she kicked me out," she said. Revealing she was "pretty much raised by nannies," Chelsea accused her mom of being an angry person — "Rosie's fuse was really short with me and she would yell" — as well as an uninvolved parent. "She would either just be in her room, not engaging with us, or watching documentaries," she recalled. As for those mental health claims, she told the mag she began struggling with depression and anxiety after her parents' divorce, but "putting out there that I am mentally ill was really hurtful."

Things took a sudden turn for the better in 2018 when a 20-year-old Chelsea became pregnant. Rosie told People, "We have reconnected." However, Chelsea isn't the only one to have called out Rosie's parenting. In 2022, Vivienne told TikTok, "I'm so incredibly, incredibly thankful for her, but one thing she's not done is normal."

Jon Voight thought Angelina Jolie had 'mental problems'

Angelina Jolie has had a rocky relationship with dad Jon Voight, to say the least. Voight married actor Marcheline Bertrand in 1971 and they had two kids, James Haven and Angelina, before calling it quits in 1976. After that, his relationship with both children crumbled. "I had an ­affair and there was a divorce," he admitted, per Express. "There was a lot of hurt and anger." However, he appeared to put some of the blame on them, saying the rift "comes from their inability to let go of years of programmed anger from their mother." 

However, Voight's connection with Jolie really fell apart in 2002 when he told Access Hollywood (via Entertainment Weekly) that she needed help for "mental problems" after her split from Billy Bob Thornton. Jolie responded by legally removing his last name and proclaiming, "I have determined that it is not healthy for me to be around my father." Jump to 2004 and she told Premiere, "My father and I don't speak." She revealed, "When I had the final argument/disappointment with my father — we've had many off and on — I had thought we were breaking ground, and I realized we simply weren't."

The feud continued with Voight saying he learned about Jolie's double mastectomy online and revealing he wasn't invited to her and Brad Pitt's wedding. However, things thawed around 2017 when Jolie told The Hollywood Reporter, "Through grandchildren now, we're finding a new relationship, and it's very, very nice."

50 Cent publicly disowned his son

50 Cent is a dad of two, but as of 2012, he considers himself a dad of one. The rapper welcomed his first child, son Marquise Jackson, with Shaniqua Tompkins in 1996. He was devoted to his little boy, getting his name tattooed and proclaiming, per VH1, "My priorities changed because I wanted to have the relationship with him that I didn't have with my father." Unfortunately, things deteriorated after he and Shaniqua split in 2008. In 2012, Radar learned that the rapper had texted his 16-year-old son, "If I died today would it matter to you? I'm changing my will." He then wrote him out. In another text tirade in 2013, he slammed, per Radar, "I don't have a son anymore."

Jump to 2020 and 50 Cent told XXL (via The Shade Room), "I didn't think success would cost me my firstborn but it's the situation it is." He blamed Shaniqua for being entitled and making Marquise feel the same. "While being a privileged child, he feels deprived," he accused. Saying he no longer loves his son, he slammed, "If it rattles like a snake, if it slithers like a snake, is it a snake or do you need to be bit?" Meanwhile, Marquise wrote on Instagram in 2022 that he doesn't want clout but a relationship. "I have no phone number for you & you've had me blocked on social media for years so I can't DM you personally," he revealed. "I'm ready when you ready to sit down & talk."

John Drew Barrymore didn't show up for Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore has made no secret of her wild child ways. She began drinking heavily at 11 and excessively using drugs at 12 because, as she told Daily Mail, "I didn't have parents, I was the parent to them." Drew's relationship with her party-loving mother, actor Jaid Barrymore, fell apart when she became her momager. Meanwhile, her connection with her dad, actor John Drew Barrymore, was fraught from the beginning. In 2022, Drew told "The Shop: Uninterrupted," "My dad was a drug addict and he didn't wear shoes and he was really crazy, but like, awesome." She appreciated his mystique but soon realized, "Oh, this guy's not capable of s***, so let's just love him for who he is and not expect anything from him." Indeed, she didn't rely on either parent and, at 14, was emancipated by the courts.

John was the son of legendary actor John Barrymore and struggled to be taken seriously in Hollywood. He turned to alcohol and drugs and was repeatedly arrested, according to the Los Angeles Times, for everything from DUI to abusing his first wife. Drew reflected on their relationship in a 2020 Instagram post, calling him "a mad poet hedonist man child" and admitting, "I think I would have liked to have a dad who didn't look so out there. Or who stayed. Or was capable of anything really." When John was diagnosed with cancer, they reconciled and Drew took care of him for three years until his death in 2004.

Nancy Dow inflicted a lot of trauma on Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston is the daughter of two successful actors, John Aniston and Nancy Dow, but although she chose to follow in their footsteps, their relationship wasn't exactly perfect. Jennifer was actually estranged from her mother for 15 years, not even inviting her to her wedding to Brad Pitt. The pair stopped talking in 1996 after Dow gave a tell-all interview about her daughter, and things totally fell apart in 1999 when Dow published "From Mother and Daughter to Friends: A Memoir," in which she detailed their estrangement.

However, their issues were rooted much deeper. As Jennifer told Elle, she had a "challenging upbringing." Her parents split when she was nine and she felt lost and alone. "I was building houses with shoe boxes and toilet paper and felt," she recalled. "It was always about finding a home that felt safe." After her dad left, she was raised by a mom who took much of her anger and resentment out on her. "I think my mom's divorce really screwed her up," Jennifer told Allure. Speaking with Elle, she recalled how critical her mom would be, repeatedly telling her, "Honey, take better care of yourself,' or 'Honey, put your face on.'" 

Eventually, Jennifer forgave her mom, even telling The Hollywood Reporter in 2015, "We're all fine." However, when Dow died in 2016, InTouch learned she allegedly left Jennifer out of her will.

Bill Hudson said Oliver and Kate Hudson are dead to him

Goldie Hawn has been with Kurt Russell since 1983, and Oliver and Kate Hudson consider him their dad, but their biological father is actor Bill Hudson. Bill and Hawn were married from 1976 to 1982 and, as Kate told Howard Stern in 2016, "He was around when we were young, it sort of teetered out." She and her brother understood that the divorce wasn't their fault, but "anybody who has had an experience with a parent that is absent, it's going to manifest." Therapy helped, as did forgiving him. Even so, his departure left scars. "I have a great family, I have a beautiful mother, I have a stepfather who stepped in and played a huge, huge part in sharing what it is to have a dependable father figure in our life," she told Today. "But it doesn't take away from the fact that we didn't know our dad."

Oliver agrees. On Father's Day 2015, he posted a photo of him and Kate with Bill and captioned it, "Happy abandonment day." That sent Bill over the edge. He told Daily Mail that his kids stopped talking to him and that it was their mom's fault. "Goldie wanted to create this myth of a perfect family with Kurt and she wanted me out," Bill alleged. Then, he disowned them. "I had five birth children but I now consider myself a father of three," he slammed. Telling them to stop using his last name, he concluded, "[Oliver] is dead to me now. As is Kate."

Brad Pitt allegedly got physical with Maddox

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie made headlines when they married, then they made even more news when they parted ways. Jolie filed for divorce in 2016, shortly after an alleged altercation on a private plane that reportedly got physical. In September 2016, the couple and their six kids were in the air when Pitt and Jolie are said to have gotten into a fight. Then, according to a source who spoke with People, "There was a parent-child argument which was not handled in the right way and escalated more than it should have." However, they were adamant that while "Brad made contact with Maddox in the shoulder area ... there was absolutely no physical injury to him." Pitt was investigated by the FBI on allegations of verbal and physical abuse, per TMZ, but no charges were filed. In 2017, Pitt admitted to GQ Style that he had an issue with alcohol. "I was boozing too much," he said. "It's just become a problem." And so, he gave it up.

However, it was too little too late. His marriage ended and it seems his relationship with Maddox may be done for good too. In 2019, a source told Us Weekly that Jolie tried to help orchestrate a truce, but "Maddox hasn't been receptive." Meanwhile, an 18-year-old Maddox told InTouch he's not fussed about a reconciliation. "Whatever happens, happens," he said. In 2020, a source told Us Weekly, "That relationship continues to be nonexistent."

Britney Spears' rocky relationship with her sons

Following her 2006 divorce from Kevin Federline, Britney Spears had joint custody of her two sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James, with her ex. By January 2007, she had majority physical custody, per TMZ, but by that October, she completely lost all rights to her kids following a series of seemingly erratic behaviors. A Superior Court judge granted Federline full custody, per The New York Times, as Spears' actions (including her infamous head shaving and a 24-hour stint in rehab) called her parenting capabilities into question. During that time, her visitation was repeatedly suspended, and in January 2008, Federline was awarded sole custody permanently, although her visitation rights were reinstated.

Jump to 2022, and Federline told ITV (via the Daily Mail), that the relationship between Spears and their sons had frayed. "The boys have decided they are not seeing her right now," he shared, alleging they hadn't seen each other in months. Spears called the comments "HURTFUL" on her Instagram Stories, and when Jayden told the media, "When she gets better I really want to see her again," the singer unleashed a tirade on Instagram. "You secretly loved looking at me like something was wrong with me," she slammed in part. "Do you guys want me to get better so I can continue to give your dad 40 grand a month?"

In May 2023, Spears allowed Federline to move their two sons from California to Hawaii, as a source told the Daily Mail, "Britney loves her children, has always supported them, and wants them to be happy."

Denise Richards was too strict for Sami Sheen's liking

Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen tied the knot in 2002, had daughter Sami in 2004, then split in 2005 when Richards was six months pregnant with Lola. A messy divorce followed, but in the end, Richards received majority custody, plus $660,000 a year in child support. Even so, the exes continued to duke it out in court, with Richards suing Sheen for $1.2 million in 2016, accusing him of not paying child support and evicting her and the girls from a home he had given them. However, despite Richards' proclamations that Sheen wasn't always the best father, Sami told her TikTok followers in 2021 that the problem was actually with her mom. Revealing she had moved in with her dad in 2020, she alleged, per Page Six, that while living with Richards she was "trapped in an abusive household, hated myself, would go days without eating or sleeping, insanely depressed, hated school."

Younger sister Lola reportedly didn't agree, and it seems the feud came down to household rules. A source claimed to Us Weekly, "Denise set normal rules that any parent would be setting," but apparently, Sami didn't want to follow them. Richards herself told the "Jeff Lewis Has Issues" podcast in February 2022 that she wished Sami hadn't left, but conceded, "There are certain rules and I enforce them, and there's different rules at [Sheen's] house." She also admitted, "I have a strained relationship with her," but said she hopes to one day reconcile with her daughter.

Frances Bean Cobain accused Courtney Love of endangering her life

Frances Bean Cobain was just a few weeks old when, in 1992, child protective services took her away from her rockstar parents, Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain, following rumors that Love had used drugs while pregnant, as reported by People. Just two years later, her father died by suicide as her mother continued to struggle with her own demons. In both 2003 and 2005, a young Frances Bean was handed over to Cobain's mother, Wendy O'Connor, according to CNN, while Love struggled with addiction, suicidal thoughts, and was even arrested for trying to break into her ex's house. The singer eventually lost custody of her only child in December 2009, and a court appointed Cobain's mother and sister, Kimberly Dawn Cobain, as Frances Bean's legal guardians, per TMZ

The teen also asked for (and was granted) a temporary restraining order against her mom after she accused her of causing the deaths of her pet cat and dog, per Rolling Stone. She also alleged Love had endangered her. In her deposition, Francis Bean claimed that she was used to her mom taking drugs and falling asleep while smoking. "I am constantly worried that she will start a fire (which she has done at least three times) that will threaten our lives," she told the court (via The List).

The pair appeared to reconcile, at least somewhat, in 2015, with Frances Bean telling Rolling Stone, "[We] have resolved a lot of our issues." Even so, she failed to invite her mom to her wedding that September.

Was Grimes forbidden from seeing her son?

Grimes' relationship with Elon Musk is unconventional, to say the least. Speaking with Vanity Fair in March 2022, the singer admitted that she and Musk don't live in the same house, but do spend plenty of time together. "I would probably refer to him as my boyfriend, but we're very fluid," she shared. "... I don't expect other people to understand it." Indeed, it seemed to be working for the on-and-off pair because that June, Grimes and Musk welcomed their third child together, a son named Tau Techno Mechanicus, via surrogate. He joined big brother X Æ A-Xii (born in May 2020) and sister Exa Dark Sideræl (born in December 2021 via surrogate).

However, said fluidity did appear to become too much for Grimes when, just a few weeks before Exa's birth, Musk had twins with Neuralink manager Shivon Zilis in November 2021. In September 2023, the singer alleged she had never even seen a photo of the twins and accused Musk of keeping her from one of their two sons. "Tell Shivon to unblock me and tell Elon to let me see my son or plz respond to my lawyer," she wrote in response to a tweet by Musk biographer Walter Isaacson (via Reddit). "... This situation [is] utterly ripping my family apart." 

Soon after, though, Grimes took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to say she had finally talked to Zilis and that they were on good terms now and would raise their kids together. "This wasn't her fault, plz don't be angry at her!" she told fans.

Kevin McCall Jr. publicly disowned his daughter

"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Eva Marcille made headlines in 2019 when she took her ex, singer Kevin McCall Jr., to court in order to maintain full custody of their then-5-year-old daughter, Marley Rae. The reality TV star argued, per TMZ, that McCall was an absentee father with anger issues who failed to pay child support. In court docs seen by the outlet, she alleged he called himself a "ticking time bomb" and lauded someone who had killed one of her friends in a murder-suicide. McCall responded through his lawyer, Adamma McKinnon, who told the outlet, "Mistakes or shortcomings should never prohibit a father from serving as a father to his son or daughter." However, McCall seemingly proved Marcille's accusations himself when he arrived at a custody hearing in Fulton County, Georgia and got into a physical brawl with law enforcement after they asked him to stop recording, per TMZ. McCall was booked on five charges that day, and Marcille was eventually granted a continuation of full custody of Marley Rae.

Their feud previously came to a head in 2017, when Marcille announced she was pregnant with her new partner, Michael Sterling. McCall lost his cool and publicly disowned his daughter on his Instagram Stories. "If you want her so Bad — you can have her," he told his ex. "I'm deleting all memories of her." Jump to 2020, however, and he changed his tune. Seeking a reconciliation, McCall wrote on his Instagram Stories, "I feel therapy is needed for all 3 of us honestly."

Dylan and Ronan Farrow want nothing to do with Woody Allen

Mia Farrow began dating Woody Allen in 1980, and during their time together, they adopted two children, Dylan and Moses Farrow, and had one biological son, Satchel Ronan Farrow. The couple split in 1992 after Mia discovered that Allen was having an affair with her adopted daughter and his future wife, Soon-Yi Previn. A contentious custody battle followed, which included claims from daughter Dylan that the director had sexually abused her. In the end, Mia was awarded custody of all three children in 1993, and Acting Justice Elliott Wilk dubbed Allen a "self-absorbed, untrustworthy and insensitive" parent, per The New York Times. Allen wasn't allowed to see a then-7-year-old Dylan, but he was granted supervised visits with a 5-year-old Ronan. Interestingly, a 15-year-old Moses refused contact with his dad but in 2018 came to his defense, publicly discrediting Dylan's accusations.

These days, Allen is estranged from both Dylan (who continues to share her allegations) and Ronan (who has stood by his sister's claims). The journalist has even accused his father of trying to buy his approval, telling HBO's "Allen v. Farrow" (via Us Weekly), "The offer always stood that if I were willing to publicly go against my mother and my sister that he would offer financial support." As for Allen, he again denied Dylan's claims to Variety in September 2023  "There was nothing to it" — but said he was willing to reconcile with his kids. Asked if he ever sees them, Allen shared, "Always willing to but no."

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