8 Male Celebrities Who Lost Custody Of Their Children

© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com

There are a variety of reasons a parent might lose custody of a child, and most men who have gone through a divorce have quickly found that most judges grant primary custody to mothers; however, for many fathers, such a ruling is nothing more than an invitation to fight it out in a court of law. When parents begin fighting for custody, things can get ugly. Many celebrities have tarnished their reputations and career legacies due to ugly custody battles, and for every fella on this list, the entered battles only to lose.

8. John Barrymore

The legendary John Barrymore was father to the beloved Drew Barrymore, and the home life within their family was dysfunctional at best. Unlike most custody cases, where mothers and fathers go at it, and one parent gets to claim custody of a child, Drew Barrymore filed for emancipation from her parents, desiring custody of herself. Drew did this at 15 years old, having already experienced her own battle with drugs and alcohol. After receiving treatment for her abuse issues, she realized she was too close to the source, and example of abusive behavior. John Barrymore was a definitive alcoholic. He drank all the time. Drew set a precedent in begin emancipated at the age of 15, and her circumstances dictated her scenario. She had her own money, and the ability to take care of herself. Fans of Drew should check out her autobiography, Little Girl Lost.

CSU Archives/Everett Collection

7. Harvey Keitel

Harvey Keitel is a legendary tough guy on-screen. And according to his former partner, Lorraine Bracco, he was a little to tough with her during their relationship. Lorraine never had proof of her allegations, but she put them to use when the couple began fighting for the custody of their shared daughter, Stella. This custody battle was well chronicled in Hollywood lore, and Harvey paid out attorney fees hand over fist in order to win the battle. Harvey maintained that Lorraine had an affair when they were committed to one another in a monogamous relationship, and didn’t want his daughter to learn such behaviors. Bottom line, this fight went on for six years, and it seemed Harvey was interested in breaking Lorraine financially. She kept swinging back, and the judge eventually awarded her custody. Stella is now 30 years old, and has great relationships with both her parents.

Photo By: Gregorio T. Binuya/Everett Collection

6. Woody Allen

In the category labeled “Most Obvious,” Woody Allen is another male celebrity who lost custody of his children. To this day, Woody does not have a quality relationship with his children, nor with his ex-partner Mia Farrow, with whom he had adopted the children. As has been highly publicized for years, Woody hooked up with, and eventually married Soon-Yi Previn, an adopted daughter of Mia, and her former husband, composer Andre Previn. This garnered a few sideways glances, and creeper status for Woody, even from some of his biggest fans. Still, Woody has always maintained that he had no relationship with Soon-Yi while she was underage. Mia has never really gotten over the betrayal, but she got the goods when she won full custody of the children.

Press Association

5. David Hasselhoff

Oh, the Hoff. This guy. David has enjoyed some high highs, and some really low lows. He once drove K.I.T.T. as Michael Knight on Knight Rider, and he once employed and supervised every teenage boys dream on Baywatch. And… he once drunkenly tried to eat a Whopper on the floor of a bathroom, as his daughter was filming him with her cellphone. Most people found this hilarious, but it was one of the sadder things that any human has endured since the advent of Internet activity. For David, his drunkenness led to the loss of his daughters. His behavior worked against him in more ways than one. It cost him jobs, and close proximity to his daughters. For those who haven’t seen it, and are wondering what exactly constitutes and unfit parent, hop over to YouTube, and remind yourself to blink as you watch it all unfold.

Photo by Rex Features

4. Chris Rock

It was about a year ago that all the noise from Chris Rock’s divorce captured the interest of the tabloids and paparazzi. Chris had been married to his wife for nearly 20 years, and made the decision that his marriage was over. Chris and Malaak Compton-Rock had their issues in the past, and the divorce news wasn’t a shocker. Most thought the two would dissolve their marriage relationship with little drama, but that’s when Malaak made the bold claim that she would be keeping the children. She never denied her appreciation for Chris as a father, but didn’t want him to enjoy primary custody of the two girls. Chris even argued that Malaak withheld time with the girls after their separation. Perhaps it was Chris’s nonchalance about their divorce, claiming he was just “tired of being married.” Malaak was awarded primary custody.

Photo by Broadimage/REX

3. Tyrese Gibson

Tyrese Gibson was once perfectly, aesthetically paired. His ex-wife, Norma Mitchell, is as stunning as he is handsome, and it seemed the two would enjoy a long, healthy life together, make beautiful babies and gift more Gibson’s to the world. Didn’t happen that way. The couple share a young daughter, Shayla. Both parents wanted custody, and the judge presiding over their divorce granted custody to Norma, likely due to her more consistent life and career schedule. As is common when couples divorce, they can begin to use their children as leverage, and to garner sympathy. When Fast 7 was the subject on everyone’s mind, Tyrese suggested his ex-wife was a flight risk–that he was worried she might take their daughter and leave the country. After reading so much bad press, Norma responded via Madame Noire, and called his allegations ludicrous.

Photo by Photoshot/NurPh/REX Shutterstock

2. Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen has pretty much shown us how not to live life. He was a guy who achieved incredible success as an actor and producer, and then a guy who completely melted down in the public eye, because he was irresponsible with his body and contracted HIV. Before all of this happened, Charlie was married multiple times, and had children with these women. Going back to Denise Richards, the court offered Denise custody of the children, and Charlie was not kind to Denise following the divorce and custody battle. Jump ahead to his marriage to Brooke Mueller, which ended in 2011. The couple share twin boys, and as their marriage dissolved–in a similarly public and ugly fashion–Brook was offered custody of the children. Brooke recently broke her silence about the boys: they’re healthy.

Photo by KM Press Group / Rex Features

1. Alec Baldwin

Was there ever a more public, and embarrassing custody battle than the fight between Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger? We could argue that Kelly Rutherford’s case is starting to rival the absurdity of Alec and Kim, but hers seems more sad than anything else. Alec and Kim had a public war over their daughter, Ireland. They were both to blame, and they were both jerks about it. Neither party took the highroad. They resorted to slinging mud, telling lies, embellishing with their anecdotes and ultimately, screwing themselves when it came to owning a shred of respect from their daughter. Ultimately, Alec cost himself the custody battle when his voicemail calling his daughter some unkind names was released to the public. Kim won by default. As time has passed, the bad blood has dissipated.


James Sheldon