10 Musicians That Were Adopted

In the age of social media, we often know a lot about our favorite celebrities. But did you know there are many famous musicians who are adopted?

These ten artists represent many different kinds of adoption–domestic, closed, familial– and here is a brief snapshot of their stories.

Faith Hill

Hill is a country superstar with seven hit albums. She was placed for adoption at birth and adopted by Ted and Edna Perry. She has talked in interviews about how, even though she had a great childhood and loving parents, she always wanted to find her birth family. She located them in the mid-1990’s, and shares a close relationship with both her adoptive and birth families.

Tim McGraw

McGraw, who is married to Faith Hill, is a country superstar in his own right. He was adopted by his stepfather Horace Smith when Smith married McGraw’s mother. McGraw, who was seven months old at the time of the marriage, grew up thinking that his stepfather was his biological father. He discovered the truth when he found his birth certificate after his parents’ divorce. McGraw’s mother confessed that he was the biological son of the famous baseball pitcher Tug McGraw. The two met when Tim was 11, but didn’t develop a relationship until he was 18. They remained close until Tug died in 2004.

Sarah McLachlan

McLachlan has recorded nine studio albums in her career. She was placed for adoption by her 19-year-old birth mother, and adopted into a loving family. McLachlan was told she was adopted around the age of nine, but says it never made that much of a difference. She was grateful for the family that she was raised in, although McLachlan did eventually meet her birth mother, who is an artist. She has said she has a great respect for her birth mother for placing her for adoption.

Eric Clapton

Clapton is a popular singer and guitar player who has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times. He was born to a 16-year-old mother. She struggled to raise him, so his grandparents became Clapton’s surrogate parents. He grew up believing that his grandparents were his parents and his mother was his sister. His grandparents never legally adopted him, but did serve as his legal guardians until Clapton turned 18. 

Debbie Harry

Harry is the lead singer of the band Blondie, known for its number one hits, “Rapture” and “Call Me,” among others. She was born in Florida in 1945, adopted three months later by Richard and Catherine Harry, and raised in New Jersey. She was told she was adopted when she was around four years old. When she was an adult, she tried to track down her birth parents but was unsuccessful.

JC Chasez

Chasez was one-fifth of the boy band NSYNC, which was hugely popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Chasez was born in Maryland in 1976. When he was five years old, his mother decided she couldn’t raise him, and gave him to the foster parents who had raised her. They took JC in, legally adopted him, and raised him.

Kristin Chenoweth

Chenoweth is a Broadway star best known for playing the role of Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked. She was adopted in Oklahoma when she was five days old. She always knew that she was adopted. She has expressed feeling a deep sense of contentment with her adoptive family, and hasn’t spoken much about any efforts to find her birth family. Instead, she speaks of how her parents would tell her when she was little that they chose her for their family, and how satisfied that made her feel.

Jamie Foxx

Foxx is a singer and actor with four albums to his name and an Academy Award for playing legendary singer Ray Charles. Foxx was born to young parents who struggled to raise him. He was adopted at seven months by his maternal grandparents and had little contact with his birth parents after that. He has made efforts to reconnect to his birth family in recent years, and has been more successful in forging a relationship with his birth mother than his birth father.

John Lennon

Lennon is an iconic singer and one-fourth of the Beatles, one of the most popular bands in history. When Lennon was three years old, his parents separated and he rarely saw his father after the split. His mother struggled to raise Lennon for two more years before she gave him to her sister and brother-in-law to raise, which they did for the rest of his childhood. He saw his mother throughout his childhood, but didn’t see his father between the ages of 5 and 20.

Liz Phair

Phair is a rock musician who has put out six records. She was born in Connecticut and adopted as an infant by Nancy and John Phair, and raised in Illinois. She has always known that she was adopted, but never sought to find her birth family.