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25 Celebrities Who Grew Up in Foster Care

Updated November 6, 2017 174.9k views25 items

The topic of the foster care system in America is often a controversial subject, but these stars are proof that you can emerge from foster care as a successful adult. Several famous actors, musicians and athletes have spent time in foster care. Some of these celebrities were sent to foster care after their parents died, but others were taken into custody of the state because of neglect or abuse.

Who is the most famous person who grew up in foster care? Marilyn Monroe tops our list. Marilyn Monroe grew up with foster parents, family friends, and various aunts and uncles as a ward of the state. Victoria Rowell was also raised in foster care. She said, "For anyone who has spent any portion of their childhood as a ward of the state, the notion of emancipation has multiple meanings. Though I was legally and financially emancipated at the requisite age of eighteen and had always been fiercely independent, it wasn't until I was forty-three years old and a working mother of two that I finally set myself free.

Several famous men also grew up in foster care. After his father died and his mother fell ill, Eddie Murphy spent a year in foster care when he was four years old. Malcolm X lived in several foster homes when he was a teen. He later went to live with his sister, Ella, in Boston.

Are you surprised that so many celebrities spent time in foster care in their youth? Take a look at this list and get in on the conversation in the comments section.
  • Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use
    Cher was placed in foster care for a short time when she was a child.


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  • Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    Malcolm X lived in several foster homes when he was a teen. He later went to live with his sister, Ella, in Boston.


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  • Photo: flickr / CC0

    After his mother died when he was only five years old, James Dean was fostered by relatives.


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  • From an early age, Willie Nelson was fostered by his grandparents.


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