5 Celebs Who Were Adopted: Jamie Foxx To Gary Coleman

From Jamie Foxx To The Late Gary Coleman: Here Are 5 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Adopted


From Jamie Foxx To The Late Gary Coleman: Here Are 5 Celebs You Didn't Know Were Adopted

November is National Adoption Month, and The Shade Room is highlighting five celebrities you probably didn’t know were adopted. Check them and their stories out below.

RELATED: ‘Let’s Be Real’ Ralph Pittman Says Drew Sidora Asking Him To Adopt Her Oldest Child Was A ‘Money Grab’

Jamie Foxx

In 2021, Jamie Foxx published his parenting memoir, ‘Act Like You Got Some Sense: And Other Things My Daughters Taught Me.’ In the novel, the actor shared that he was adopted by his “grandparents,” Mark and Estelle Marie Talley. Foxx’s mother, Louise Annette Talley Dixon, was reportedly “not ready for the responsibility of parenting,” per USA Today.

Additionally, the grandparents Foxx referred to were the same people who adopted his biological mother, per TheThings.

“You know what’s amazing? I was adopted at seven months, and I’m going to tell you what that means. My grandmother? That’s not actually my biological grandmother,” Foxx explained during a 2017 episode of ‘Beat Shazam.’ “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…”

Furthermore, in the memoir, Foxx reportedly shared how the absence of his mother and father, Darrell Bishop, affected him.

“This should be a relationship that we should have. Why is it not happening? I’m actually doing good. I’m not on drugs. I’m a good guy… I mean, come on!” Foxx reportedly recalled, per recalls USA Today. “But for that connection not to happen, that affected me.”

However, the “In Living Color” actor did not let the tribulation deter him from personal success.

“You can do two things. You can let it cave you in, when things didn’t go right as a kid. Or you can say, ‘Oh, when I get my shot, I’m gonna make sure I do this,'” Foxx explained, per USA Today. “When I got my shot to raise my kids, those things that I felt like my biological parents didn’t do necessarily right, I said, ‘Oh, I know what it is now.'”

Darryl “DMC” McDaniels

According to Adoption.com, Darryl McDaniels of the iconic Hip Hop group Run DMC learned that he was adopted at the age of 35. McDaniels was raised in Hollis, Queens, in New York City. The outlet notes that as McDaniels grew, he was often teased for “not looking like his folks.” However, he often dismissed this sentiment.

“Because I had the best parents ever, all of those thoughts of ‘something ain’t right here’ would immediately go out the door — immediately,” McDaniels told HuffPost in 2017.

In his mid-thirties, the rapper sat down to begin writing his autobiography. But when we called his mother to gather “basic birth stats,” she informed the rapper that he was adopted and brought home by his parents at just “a month old.”

According to a 2020 interview with Essence, McDaniels was then placed into the foster care system.

“I was in foster care until I was five years old,” the rapper told the outlet. “I was one of the last foster kids in my parents’ home… so instead of sending me back, they kept me! It saved my life!”

With this new information, McDaniels immediately searched for his biological family and was successful in locating them. Since then, McDaniels has used his story to inspire others.

“What keeps me grounded is my truth. Whether I like it or not, it is part of me… and I can use my story not only to make my life better, but I can help so many other people who are in the same situation as me to understand their lives better,” McDaniel told HuffPost.


Gary Coleman

According to The Guardian, the late Gary Coleman was born in Zion, Illinois. However, the future actor “never knew his biological parents.” CNN reports that Coleman would be adopted by Willie and Sue Coleman at just “four days old.”

The ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ actor was also born with a kidney disease, which reportedly limited his growth to 4 feet, 8 inches. Coleman would go on to undergo kidney transplants at ages 5 and 16.

In his adult life, the actor would become estranged from his adoptive parents.

“He wanted to be his own man, do things his own way, so we tried to encourage him the best we could, we tried to guide him as much as we could, but it was his life,” Sue Coleman reportedly told CNN in June of 2010.

Coleman passed away on May 28, 2010, and his parents would tell the outlet that despite their estrangement, their love remained and remains strong for their son.

“Every once and a while, I pull those letters out and read,” Willie Coleman told the outlet, referring to the letters between he, his wife, and Gary. “In each of those letters is ended with ‘Hey, guys. I love you guys and I know you love me too.'”

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Rev. Jesse Jackson

According to the History Channel, Jesse Jackson was born as Jesse Louis Burns in Greensville, South Carolina, to Helen Burns and Noah Lous Robinson. The outlet notes that Robinson was married to another woman, and when Jesse was two years old, his mother married a man named Charles Jackson.

At the age of 13, Jesse was adopted by his stepfather and given the man’s last name.

Jackson briefly touched on his adoption and upbringing in a 1988 address.

“I understand. Jesse Jackson is my third name. I’m adopted. When I had no name, my grandmother gave me her name,” Jackson told listeners on July 19, 1988, per PBS. “My name was Jesse Burns until I was 12. So I wouldn’t have a blank space, she gave me a name to hold me over. I understand when nobody knows your name. I understand when you have no name…

I was born in the slum, but the slum was not born in me. (Applause) And it wasn’t born in you, and you can make it…”


Nicole Richie

According to Biography, in 1983, singer Lionel Richie met Nicole Camille Escovedo at a Prince concert. After the show, Richie played with the toddler. However, he “never thought about it again.”

Escovedo’s parents, musician Peter Escovedo and Karen Moss, who assisted singer Sheila E, would later run into issues touring and raising their daughter.

“‘Well, why don’t you just kind of keep the kid here?’” Richie reportedly told Escovedo and Moss, per Biography.

According to a 2016 interview with HuffPost, Richie recalled that two years passed, and he and his then-wife, Brenda Harvey Richie, ultimately decided to become Nicole’s legal guardians.

“I think we decided that… what we’ll do to kind of give you some stability was we’ll be like legal guardians, but nothing more,” Richie recalled to Nicole during the 2016 interview.

However, with time, Richie “fell in love” with Nicole and became aware of her “abandonment issues.”

“I remember you had abandonment issues for obvious reasons. You’d been handed around to every relative in the family,” Richie explained to Nicole. “I remember what I said to you. I said, ‘I’m never, ever going to leave you.'”

Richie vowed to make everyone in Nicole’s biological family “wish” they had adopted her.

“So I said, ‘Okay, here is what we are going to do: You’re going to make everyone wish that they had adopted you. You are going to make everyone in your family wish they actually had a chance to get you back,’ and that’s when I said, ‘Let’s adopt her,'” Richie explained.

At nine years old, Nicole became a part of the Richie family, and Lionel credited his newfound connection with “softening” his heart.

“I think you…changed my life a great deal in terms of softening my heart because everything up to that point was about songwriting and the business and touring,” Richie told Nicole per HuffPost. “All of a sudden I found something that I could actually fall in love with that was never going to leave me. How about that?”


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