Child stars who had babies when they were just kids

Growing up can be tough, and it's arguably even tougher for child stars. You're trying to nail down who you are and navigate the ways of the world. Everyone makes mistakes during this phase, because that's how we learn. But growing up in the spotlight adds an extra layer of scrutiny to what is already an emotionally complex time of life. So, really, is it any wonder that child stars so often seem to rebel? 

Some child stars struggle with substance abuse. Others drop out of the spotlight altogether. And then there are the child stars for whom growing up at a very young age manifests in a decidedly adult experience far earlier than the norm: having a child. 

From Beyoncé and Britney Spears' little sisters to rappers and supermodels, these child-stars-turned-parents speak to the fact that the limelight can certainly accelerate the rate at which you move through life's milestones. But they also go to show that being young and being a good parent are not mutually exclusive. 

Solange Knowles

While nearly everyone knows Beyoncé's backstory about being fierce basically since birth, what many people may not realize is that Bey's little sis Solange was always performing too, including her first onscreen debut when she was only 12 years old. What most people do tend to know about Knowles' past, though, is that she had son Julez when she was 18.

At the time of Julez' birth in October 2004, Knowles had just married Daniel Smith and chose to stay in small-town Idaho. "I yearned to be in one place, to have the opportunity to really ground myself with him," she told Elle in 2017. "But it was isolating and lonely, and so cold and dark. And it was just Julez and me most of the time. It was hard to imagine being able to progress in my career in any way."

In a 2017 interview with her big sis, Knowles revealed that she ultimately had to determine her identity outside of Smith, who had been her junior high school sweetheart. Now a critically acclaimed musician and producer, Knowles is married to video director Alan Ferguson. 

Keisha Castle-Hughes

In 2002, at the tender age of 12, Keisha Castle-Hughes took Hollywood by storm with her Oscar-nominated role in the film Whale Rider. Prime roles quickly followed with 2005's Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith and 2006's The Nativity Story. But it was in 2007 that Castle-Hughes tackled her toughest role to date: motherhood. In April that year, the rising star and then-boyfriend Bradley Hull welcomed daughter Felicity-Amore.

Later that year, the 17-year-old actress admitted she was not at all prepared for the public response to her pregnancy. "Absolutely everyone in the country had something to say about it. I thought, 'At the end of the day, I am going to be the one looking after this baby in the middle of the night and it doesn't affect you'," she told People.

Plus, Castle-Hughes contends that she would have been nervous about becoming a mom no matter what age she was. "Yes, I was scared when I found out I was pregnant. But if I got pregnant when I was 27, I would have been scared too because it is a huge step."

Lil Wayne

Did you know that rapper Lil Wayne was discovered by Cash Money Records when he was only 9 years old? How about the fact that, at 15, he and now ex-wife Toya Wright found out they were going to become parents? Lil Wayne was 16 daughter Reginae Carter was born.

Life came full circle for the rapper in 2015 when that little girl turned the same age he was when she was born — and he got the chance to throw her a lavish extravaganza featured on MTV's My Super Sweet 16. During the bash, Lil Wayne doted on his firstborn with a surprise appearance by Nicki Minaj and two luxury cars.

As Reginae tells it, her dad has always done a good job raising her. "My father is a wise man," she told Young Entertainment in 2014. "He always tells me to get my education first because it's very important in life to know your environment, and he also says do what you want to do in the world no matter if you are male or female." 

Niki Taylor

Niki Taylor's rise to fame in the modeling world was meteoric, which is even more impressive when you consider she was just 13 at the time of her discovery. Also impressive? The poise Taylor displayed when, at 19, she became a teenage mother of twin boys. At the time, the supermodel was a young bride struggling to come to terms with her failing marriage.

"I was young, and I thought I was in love. So when the babies came, it was not something I signed up for," Taylor told Mom magazine in 2010 (via People), adding, "We were just two totally different people and after two totally different things. I was pregnant at 18, had [Jake and Hunter] at 19 and divorced by 21… it was a lot on my plate for my young 20s!"

Having essentially grown up alongside her sons has its perks. "We like the same music and movies and we think the same things are cool. We just look at things kind of the same way," she revealed. 

Bristol Palin

While Bristol Palin wasn't exactly a child star in the traditional sense, she did grow up enduring the scrutiny typical of a celebrity. As the daughter of Republican politician Sarah Palin, Bristol had a highly publicized upbringing. So, when it was announced the then-17-year-old was expecting in 2008, the media plastered the news with headlines of her teenage pregnancy.

In December of 2008, at the age of 18, Bristol officially became a mother with the birth of her son, Tripp. And while Bristol has expressed that she has never regretted having her son, telling her parents she was pregnant was "harder than labor."

In a two-part interview with Fox News in 2009, the former governor gave credit to her daughter for "wanting to take on an advocacy role" in being honest that it wasn't an ideal situation, but still making the best of it. Palin called Bristol "strong and bold," as well as "an amazing mom." 

Fantasia

It was a true Cinderella story when North Carolina native Fantasia won the third season of American Idol in 2004. After being raped by a classmate at 14, she dropped out of high school. Then, at 17, she became pregnant. So, a few short years before being crowned by Idol, the single mother had been struggling to survive off of food stamps.

She later told Oprah that the experience of becoming pregnant and subsequently a young mother was extremely isolating for her. "That's when everybody seemed to give up on me," she shared. "I was the girl who could sing and was supposed to grow up and do something with my life. But when I moved out and started hanging out with the wrong people, and got pregnant, people were like, 'She ain't goin' nowhere now.' I'd lost myself."

Fantasia went on to become a Grammy-award-winning artist, have a Lifetime Television movie based on her life, snag a reality TV show and earn rave reviews for her turn on Broadway — and onscreen — in The Color Purple

Jamie Lynn Spears

Jamie Lynn Spears is no stranger to the spotlight. After all, it's kind of a given when you grow up as the little sister of one of the world's biggest pop stars (Britney, y'all). Spears also cultivated her own headlines with a career as a budding actor, starring in All That and Zoey 101.

But in 2008, Spears found herself in the spotlight for a very different reason: the then-17-year-old gave birth to a baby girl of her own. In a 2013 interview with E! News, Spears revealed she was shocked when she found out she was pregnant. "This made no sense and I didn't understand it and I was young," she said.

In the years since Maddie's birth, Spears and the baby's father split and she eventually went on to marry businessman Jamie Watson. In April 2018, the couple welcomed daughter Ivey Joan into the world.

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple was only 4 years old when she was cast in her first film, then went on to star in a slew of feel-good Depression-era flicks, becoming one of the most beloved child stars of all time. By the age of 6, she already had 20 films to her credit. However, Temple eventually started to rebel a bit. In her case, that included getting married at the age of 17 and having her first child, daughter Linda Susan, while still in her teens.

Temple's young age didn't keep her from being an amazing mother, though. According to her daughter, who just goes by Susan, Temple "was always up for an adventure" and "was a wonderful cook" too. And when it came to her parenting style, Temple proved to be an ideal balance. "As a mother, she was devoted and generous, although she could be a little bit stern if we didn't behave," Susan told Closer in 2015. "But family was a really, really important part of her life. She was all about her children and her husband."