Moms are absolute superstars. Really, a mom is a coach for her entire family; she is the glue that holds them together, and having a great mom can go a long way. Motherhood looks different when you’re doing it alone, just ask ladies like Diane Keaton, Minnie Driver, and Charlize Theron.
What do these impressive women have in common with each other? They’re all single moms, taking the challenges of parenthood solo. Whether they’re single moms by circumstance or by choice, these outstanding women have their kids in mind every single day. Who are these inspiring women?
Sandra Bullock Ditched the Husband and Got the Life She Wanted as a Mom
Sandra Bullock may have a history of iconic and inspiring roles, but this might be her best one yet. She decided that she would continue through with the adoption process she had started while married to Jesse James, and still went on to adopt children herself after her divorce was finalized.
The Ocean’s 8 actress adopted her son Louis when he was a baby and her daughter Laila at 3 years old. “My family is blended and diverse, nutty, and loving and understanding. That’s a family,” Bullock said in an interview with People. She knew what she wanted, and was not going to wait on anyone else to help her get the family she wants to have.
Mindy Kaling Kept Her Entire Journey to Motherhood to Herself
Actress Mindy Kaling is another strong, independent woman in Hollywood who decided she didn’t need to wait for someone else to help her build her perfect family. Coming from a large and very traditional Indian family, Kaling’s choice to become a mom on her own certainly went against the status quo of her community, but she wasn’t going to let that stop her.
In an interview, Kaling said “I want to put my own happiness in my own life. I want to be part of my community of moms and parents, and you don’t need a man to do that. Once I gave myself permission, I thought, ‘I don’t care what other people think,’ I decided, ‘I’m just going to be part of that community.’ It was like a weight was lifted off of me.” So, she took initiative and is now a mom to two beautiful children.
Amanda Stanton Changed Her Own Motherhood Narrative
This mommy got her start in the public eye when she was a contestant on Bachelor in Paradise, with Josh Murray dropping to one knee for her. Reality star Amanda Stanton had no choice but to step it up and take on the role of single mom when her marriage to Murray was over. She was dedicated to motherhood, no matter how her relationship ended up.
”I decided instead of being embarrassed of my failed marriage and ashamed of being a single mother, I was going to OWN it,” she wrote on Instagram. “Being the best mother you can be and giving your kids the BEST life possible has nothing to do with your relationship status and you don’t have to be happily married to have a ‘picture-perfect family.’”
Charlize Theron’s Parenthood Plan Never Required a Ring
South African actress Charlize Theron knew she wanted to become a mother, but wasn’t really sure how it would end up. However, she always knew she was going to adopt. She adopted her first child, Jackson, in 2012 and her second, August, in 2015. Theron said that marriage has never been a priority for her, but starting a family by helping kids who don’t have homes has always been part of the plan.
“I always knew I would adopt. Always,” the Oscar winner said in an interview. “You know, I don’t think any mother aims to be a single mom. I didn’t wish for that, but it happened.” She had a goal that she wanted to accomplish and when her long-term relationship with Stuart Townsend had ended, she started her family within two years. Motherhood was always in her plan.
Halle Berry Crushes It as a Single Mom
Catwoman actress Halle Berry is part of the single-parent community. She shares her children with ex Oliver Martinez, whom she divorced in 2016. Berry welcomed her kids later in life; into her 40’s and beyond. She is firm on raising her kids successfully as a single mom and wanted to focus on herself and her kids.
In a conversation with her friend Lena Waithe, Halle Berry said, “I’ve learned a lot being with my children.” She talked about her daughter Nahla, 12, and her son Maceo, 6. “They are the best company for me right now, and when I divorced Maceo’s dad I’ve been pretty alone by myself going on three years now — decidedly so, for sure.”
Bridget Moynahan Made the Best of Her Motherhood Situation
Bridget Moynahan is the mother of football star Tom Brady’s first child. The Coyote Ugly actress was three months pregnant with her son when she and the NFL athlete split up. She was shaken by the experience, and in 2008 she told Harper’s Bazaar she was, “going through that traumatic time of being heartbroken and then being pregnant turned my whole life upside down and inside out and just knocked the wind out of me.”
Luckily, she got through her struggles and is rocking it as a single mom. She’s managed to successfully co-parent with Brady through the years, but she ultimately faces the challenges of parenthood on her own. She’s pulled through and has managed to successfully communicate the help that she needs with her son’s father.
Elizabeth Hurley and Her Son Damian Have Redefined Mother-son Success
The Royals actress has dedicated her life to being a mom, both on and offset. When she’s stepping into her mom role at home, she’s bonding with her son Damian whenever possible. She’s been lucky enough to work with him on set for multiple seasons of The Royals, which is probably such a unique kind of bonding experience.
“Being an only child of a single mother has meant that we have spent a great deal of time together. I know he’ll need to leave the nest at some stage, so I’m making the most of the time we still have,” Hurley said in an interview back in 2018. That holds true today.
Connie Britton Lost Her Parents, and Grew Her Family From the Roots Her Parents Instilled Upon Her
Connie Britton felt a special connection to motherhood, long before her time as a mom actually began. The Nashville star lost both of her parents within a couple of years and felt something was missing in her life afterward. In an interview on The View, Britton stated, “I lost both of my parents within three years of each other, and I kind of thought, ‘What am I waiting for?'”
The star continued on about why she chose to go ahead with parenting on her own. “The man will come and if I want to have my own kids I can do that, but I [knew] this was something I [wanted] to do.” Britton had planned to do a documentary about Ethiopian orphanages, and while traveling to the region, had made her decision to adopt from there. She and her son Yoby have been living together in harmony since 2011.
Britney Spears Doesn’t Want Her Boys to Grow Up So Quickly
Finally free from her conservatorship, this pop legend has really struggled publicly for years with several personal issues; she’s done all of this while making sure her two sons are well taken care of. Britney Spears had her two sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James, with her ex-husband Kevin Federline. Though K-Fed isn’t really involved in the same way, the pop sensation still manages to play the mom role with ease.
“My boys’ birthdays were last week… and unfortunately they are growing up and want to do their own things… I have to ask their permission to post them because they are extremely independent little men,” she wrote on Instagram recently. “There is nothing stronger than the love between a mother and son.”
Tragedy Left Michelle Williams as a Single Mother, but She’s Thriving Now
Michelle Williams didn’t enter the game as a single mother, but that’s the way fate had it. When the father of her daughter Matilda, Heath Ledger, died in 2008, Williams was at a loss. His death left their daughter fatherless. The Dawson’s Creek actress took on the role of full-time mom (even before his tragic passing) after the two split up in 2007.
This Oscar-nominated actress has been raising her now-teenage daughter in their quaint Brooklyn home. Though she was disappointed her daughter no longer had a father, Williams didn’t want to settle for just any relationship. “I’m also happy with myself and just because I might have a desire to be with someone… that won’t lead me to marry the wrong person.” Not everyone deserves the step-dad title.
Amber Heard Chose to Become a Mom By Herself
Actress Amber Heard quietly welcomed her daughter, Oonagh, in April 2021. Though she was previously married to Johnny Depp, Heard made it clear that this baby was hers alone; no partner would be helping her raise her child. She wanted to become a mother by her own accord and after taking the necessary steps, she accomplished her goal.
The Aquaman actress wrote a post in her daughter’s honor, “I now appreciate how radical it is for us as women to think about one of the most fundamental parts of our destinies in this way. I hope we arrive at a point in which it’s normalized to not want a ring in order to have a crib.” Amber Heard, you’ve got the right attitude!
Diane Keaton Became a Mom in Her 50’s
Superstar Diane Keaton took on her greatest role yet, ultimate celebrity mom, later in life. This actress has been in the spotlight for generations and has even won an Oscar. She made the life-changing decision to become a single mother when she was in her 50’s and has never looked back.
After Keaton’s father passed away, Keaton moved back to California and “had to address what to do with the rest of [her] life.” The actress once stated in an interview that parenting helped her learn things about herself. “It made me realize that I was completely self-involved. I’m an actress after all. I didn’t have anyone to tell me how well I was doing, or if I was doing it right.”
Liv Tyler’s Unconventional Childhood Made Single Motherhood Not So Scary
Liv Tyler has been rocking the solo-mom role for a while. Her childhood was pretty unconventional and since she always knew she wanted to be a mother, she learned from her past and made the best of it. After splitting with Royston Langdon, the father of her son Milo, she knew it was time to fully throw herself into parenthood.
She’s used her parenting experience as a way to learn. “My favorite thing about being a parent is that I learn so much from the push-and-pull dynamic of mother and child,” the actress stated in an interview. “Having children, I learned about my own strength.” This girl truly understands the meaning of “mom strength.”
January Jones Was Excited To Raise Her Son Solo
Actress January Jones is another phenomenal lady who took on the single-mom role with pride. Since learning of her pregnancy, the Mad Men alumna has remained quiet about the identity of her son’s father. “I knew I would be raising my son alone,” Jones stated. “I was excited about it.”
When asked about what kind of male role models her son would have, Jones was confident in her answer. “Xander has a lot of bro time with the neighbor dads and my dad, who is super young. It’s good to have strong women around a man to teach him to respect women,” she explained. “He doesn’t have a male person saying ‘don’t cry’ or ‘you throw like a girl.’ All those s***** things that dads accidentally do.”
Katie Holmes Split With Her Husband
Actress Katie Holmes might not have chosen to be a single mom from the start, but she is certainly thriving there. Holmes had her daughter, Suri, with her ex-husband, Tom Cruise. Their relationship crumbled over time, with the two officially splitting in 2012 when their daughter was only six years old. Luckily, the Dawson’s Creek alumna took on the role with ease.
“I love her so much,” the actress said in an interview. “My biggest goal has always been to nurture her into her individuality. To make sure she is 100 percent herself and strong, confident, and able. And to know it. She came out very strong — she’s always been a strong personality.”
Jewel’s Divorce Helped Her Find Her Role as a Single Mom
Country singer Jewel fell into the world of single parenting after splitting up with her ex-husband, Ty Murray. “As soon as you get a bead on something that works, your child’s needs change, so you have to rework it,” Jewel told InTouch about her experiences in co-parenting. “You have to put [your child] first. Sometimes you have to do some deep breathing, some letting go [and think], I’m not going to call any names, I’m just going to be kind.”
Just like every other parent, Jewel is still working on figuring it out. “I hope my son sees that it’s OK to not have all the answers,” says the singer and actress. “More than being perfect, our children need to understand the importance of being kind to ourselves, and being a work in progress.”
Katie Couric Faced Tragedy That Brought Her to Single Motherhood
News legend Katie Couric found herself operating as a single parent after tragedy struck her family. Her husband, Jay Monahan, died of cancer in 1998, leaving Couric to take on the parent role solo. When push came to shove, Couric knew she had no other choice than to help her daughters become what their father had hoped for.
Though her daughters are fully grown now, Couric reflected on one of the biggest challenges she experienced back when her girls were young. “You don’t have the bad cop when you’re the good cop and you don’t have a good cop when you’re the bad cop, you’re like the whole police force in your family… and so it’s challenging,” she told HuffPost. Well, she’s certainly seemed to have it down pat!
Kate Moss Is a Stricter Mom Than We Thought
When supermodel Kate Moss was 27 years old, she gave birth to her one and only daughter, Lila, with Dazed Media co-founder Jefferson Hack. Though there aren’t many details about how Moss and Hack ended their relationship, it seems that Moss has taken the lead as head-parent-in-charge; it’s Kate’s way, or the highway.
Supermodel Kate Moss has managed to assert her dominance as a strict parent to her one and only, and she’s proud of how things have gone. ‘I’m really strict, but I think they quite like it. [Lila] says that I’m stricter than other parents,” she stated before pulling down her sunglasses to display her signature glare. “I don’t have to say anything. You’ve got to get a look down. Girls, you have to scare them, otherwise, they will take over.’
Minnie Driver Did Everything She Could To Ensure Her Child Was Set Up for Success
After becoming the star we all know and love today, actress Minnie Driver dove into the pool of parenthood alone. She kept the identity of her baby’s father on lock, only revealing years later that FX writer Timothy Lea was her son’s paternal connection. Though Lea is in her son’s life, the majority of the responsibility falls on her.
“It is really challenging to be by yourself, to be the breadwinner, to make sure your child is having a complete and lovely childhood — and it’s all on you, sort of, on the day-to-day,” she shared in an interview with Us Weekly. This mom is clearly passionate about her role, stating “there’s no amount of hassle that could be bigger than my love for Henry and the hilarity and joy that he has brought into my life”.
Taraji P. Henson Wouldn’t Wish Being a Single Parent on Her Worst Enemy
Actress Taraji P. Henson climbed to fame as a single mother and has thrived since then. The actress got her start studying engineering at North Carolina A&T University, but her father encouraged her to follow her skills and enroll in the drama program at Howard University. That was the right path for her, and eventually, it would bring her both to Hollywood and motherhood.
Henson became a mother to her son Marcell, then took him and the $700 to her name all the way to Hollywood. Her partner (though they were separated at the time) had been murdered, leaving her and her son to fend for themselves entirely. She reflected on her time in this position, sharing, “I think we try to do our best. And yes, we can do it all, but I wouldn’t wish being a single parent on my worst enemy. It is not easy.”
Mary Louise Parker’s Boyfriend Left Her When She Was 7 Months Pregnant
Actress Mary Louise Parker found herself as a single mother when her partner left her… at seven months pregnant. Her relationship with actor Billy Crudup ended abruptly in 2003 after he left her for Claire Danes. The Weeds actress could have sat and wallowed, but she held her chin high and put everything she had into raising her son, William Atticus Parker. Her family would grow further down the road, after adopting another child, a daughter, Ash, from Ethiopia.
“Sometimes I just look at [the kids] and I think, ‘You are the two coolest people I have ever met,’” the actress shared in a 2009 interview. She knew she wanted her family to grow, so she pulled the trigger. “I finally just decided, ‘Okay, I’m going to do this, and it’s going to be really hard because I’m single, and I’m going to do it anyway. It’s not like I only wanted to enlarge my family. I really wanted to give a child a home.”
Kristin Davis Adopted Children of Different Racial Backgrounds Than Her
Much like her famed Sex and the City character, Charlotte, Kristin Davis entered the world of parenthood through adoption. Unlike her character, though, Davis entered the parenthood world on her own. She wanted to become a mother and adopted two African-American children.
“I work at that every day trying to figure out how I can make sure they have access to the black community, that they’re part of it, that they’re not separated from it. Because my children are African-American, I feel like it’s my duty and my job to do as much research, as much work, build as many bridges as possible because you are their community,” the actress shared.
Sheryl Crow Defied the ”Traditional” Family Structure She Was Raised With
Grammy-winning musician Sheryl Crow always knew that motherhood was in her plan. She felt it was entrenched in her DNA, but struggled with her comfort in breaking social norms before adopting her two sons, Wyatt and Levi. When asked if this was always how she saw things going, she put it simply; “It wouldn’t have been my first choice to do it by myself,” she told Yahoo! Entertainment.
The actress continued, “But to be perfectly honest, I feel like the way that my life has — I keep saying the way that it rolled out, but it really is true — the way things have happened for me has not been conventional.” The musician shared further, “sometimes taking your perception of the way you think your life is supposed to look, taking that out of the picture really does create so much incredible opportunity.” Crow stole the show as mom of the year.
Denise Richards Adopted Another Daughter After Divorcing Charlie Sheen
Actress Denise Richards found herself in the throws of single motherhood after her relationship with Charlie Sheen blew up before her eyes. She shares two daughters, Sam and Lola, with the former Two and a Half Men actor. After their divorce was finalized, Richards still felt something was missing in her life, so she adopted another daughter.
“Some people think if a celebrity wants a baby, they get one the next day. The adoption took two years, and there were many times I felt discouraged,” she opened up in an interview. Not everything has been smooth sailing since the adoption of Eloise, but she took everything day by day. “as a parent, you want what’s best for your children, and you just do it.”
Padma Lakshmi Thought She Couldn’t Have Children, but Was Pleasantly Surprised
Reality star Padma Lakshmi was initially told that she couldn’t have children, though she always wanted to be a mother. “I was raised by a single mom. I was told I couldn’t have children, so every day I am kissing the sky with happiness about it,” she revealed in her memoir.
For a while, the Top Chef host didn’t know who the father of her daughter, Krishna, was. She later learned that Krishna’s father was venture capitalist Adam Dell. The two were not romantically involved at the time of her daughter’s birth, but they have successfully co-parented since her birth. “We don’t live together; we’re not together anymore. We are good friends and we have the same first priority, which is her.”