5 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Adopted

It’s estimated that in the United States, two to four percent of people are adopted in some way. With the percentage being that low, you probably don’t expect many celebrities to be adopted, but the number is higher than you might think. Here are some famous celebrities that you didn’t know were adopted, and how they felt about the process.

Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx was born Eric Marlon Bishop in Terrell, Texas in 1967. His mother was Louise Annette Talley Dixon and his father was a stockbroker named Darrell Bishop. The two split up shortly after his birth, leaving Bishop in limbo. Thankfully, the couple who adopted his mother years prior also adopted him. Eventually, he changed his name to Jamie Foxx and says that his adoptive grandmother had the biggest impact on his life while also having little-to-no contact with his birth parents.

“You know what’s amazing? I was adopted at seven months and I’m going to tell you what that means,” Foxx said while hosting his hit game show “Beat Shazam”. “My grandmother? That’s not actually my biological grandmother. That’s somebody who said, ‘I see something in that little boy that’s very special.’ And she made sure I had every tool that I needed to grow and expand.” Foxx went on to star in films including “Django Unchained”, “Soul”, and “Ray” just to name a few.

Keegan-Michael Key

A Detroit native, Keegan-Michael Key was born in 1971 to a father named Leroy McDuffie and a mother named Carrie Herr. Key was placed for adoption at a young age, and two social workers made sure he stayed in the Motor City by adopting him. His adoptive parents are Michael Key and Patricia Walsh, which is where he gets his last name rather. Key says that much of his comedy styling comes from being adopted.

“I have a people-pleasing issue,” Key said. “I do think it comes from being adopted. I think people who are adopted have this kind of situation where you go, ‘I’m going to do everything everybody else tells me because I don’t want to get abandoned again.’ I think that happens to people.” Key got his start in sketch comedy, then went on to star in “Key & Peele” as well as “Keanu”, “Don’t Think Twice”, and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”.


California DJ Skrillex was born Sonny John Moore in Los Angeles and was adopted instantly, but didn’t find out about it until he was a teenager. Moore grew up between LA and San Francisco, attending several different schools in the process. Not too long after finding out he was adopted, Skrillex dropped out of a private Scientology-based school and headed back to LA where he began his music career.

Skrillex would help usher in the dubstep era of music, releasing hit songs including “Bangarang”, “Where Are U Now”, and “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”. Skrillex said that his birth parents were still around during his upbringing, but were introduced as family friends. “My entire life is effectively a shallow sham perpetrated upon me by those I loved the most,” Skrillex said, distancing himself from his family after finding fame.

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi

When we think of Nicole Polizzi, we think of the petite Italian-American nicknamed Snooki causing havoc on the Jersey Shore as part of MTV’s most popular foray into reality television. However, Polizzi was born far, far away from both Italy and New Jersey. Polizzi was born in Santiago, Chile in 1987 and was adopted at six months old by Italian-Americans Helen and Andy Polizzi.

While most people would have the urge to meet their birth parents after finding out that information, Polizzi is happy with where she’s at. “I was so secure with my parents,” she said. So why was she given up for adoption? “I actually found out and I had like 10 other brothers and sisters,” she said. “I guess they couldn’t afford me.”

Nicole Richie

We’re all familiar with Nicole Richie and the fact that she’s the daughter of megastar singer Lionel Richie. However, many don’t realize that she’s actually an adopted daughter and not his birth daughter. She was born Nicole Escovedo in Berkeley, California in 1981 to Karen Moss and Peter Michael Escovedo. Her father was a musician and both parents were friends with Lionel Richie.

They left Nicole with Lionel and Brenda Richie after feeling that she would be in better hands with the couple. “Nicole was actually a godsend,” Lionel Richie said. “She was a little girl who needed a shot…she was used to people coming and going. She looked at me and I’d say, ‘I’m not going anywhere.’”

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