Celebrities Who Didn’t Meet Their Dads Until They Were Adults

Some of these stories will melt your heart.

There’s no denying that fathers are an important part of a child’s life. Unfortunately not everyone gets to enjoy that ideal father-daughter or father-son bond. There are many people in all walks of life who have found success despite growing up without their dad. In the entertainment world there is a long list of stars who come from single parent homes where the dad was absent. There is even the deeper layer where the star went through childhood without even knowing or meeting their biological dad. Some of those celebs have told stories of their first major encounter with their dads not happening until adulthood. Here are some fascinating examples of those heartfelt reunions.

[item] Keyshia Cole

After thirty-four years of searching, R&B singer Keyshia Cole found her biological father a mere month ago. Virgil Hunter, a boxing trainer, took a paternity test, and it was confirmed that he is, in fact, Cole’s dad. Fans of Cole’s BET reality show The Way It Is know that this is the end of an emotional journey for the songstress. The show chronicled her paternity search, which often hit road blocks and dead ends during her years of searching.
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[item] Shaquille O’Neal

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If you’ve followed any part of Shaquille O’Neal’s hall of fame career you know he has an amazing bond with his stepfather, Phillip Harrison, who he spoke highly of in the 1994 rap song “Biological Didn’t Bother.” While the Warren G-produced track heaps praise on Mr. Harrison, it takes shots at Shaq’s biological dad, Joseph Toney. “You brought me into the world but you’re not my dad,” he rapped about the man who abandoned him when he was a small child. Recently, Shaq had a change of heart. After speaking with a private investigator, O’Neal discovered that his father was living above a favorite soul food restaurant of his. He went to meet with him, and the men buried the hatchet. O’Neal said he told his father, “I don’t hate you. I understand the circumstances… It happens to a lot of men in America. I will never judge you, and I just want you to know, thank you.”
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[item] Pierce Brosnan

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When Pierce Brosnan agreed to film a special episode of Remington Steele in Ireland, a surprise event in his personal life made it a shoot he would never forget. Brosnan’s father Thomas abandoned his family when Pierce was an infant. Pierce’s mother subsequently was away from home for great periods of time in order to make money as a nurse. A distant cousin arranged for them to meet in an Irish hotel. The rendezvous was incredibly public, and Brosnan has stated that he wished the meeting had been more private so that he could say things he had wished to say to him.
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[item] Adrian Grenier

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Not all long-lost father stories have an unhappy ending. Entourage star Adrian Grenier had such a great experience re-uniting with his father, Jonathan Davidson, that it led to his documentary 2002 Shot In the Dark. There wasn’t much animosity between Grenier and his dad because Davidson had remained out of the actor’s life at his mother’s request. Their reunion was carefully planned and heartfelt. Not only did Grenier connect with his father, but the relationship has resulted in emotional growth and a feeling of closure for both.
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[item] Tupac Shakur

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It wasn’t until late in his short life that Tupac Shakur met his biological father. Their meeting was a poor omen for Tupac. As Garland describes it, “The first time we came back together was the first time he got shot, in New York. It was out of a scene out of The Godfather. Go up to the room, and he sees me, and we talk, and I told him I was with him now, and he realized I was his father.” After Tupac’s death at the age of twenty-five, Garland attempted to get a piece of Shakur’s estate. This move was vigorously contested by Tupac’s mother, and the state sided with Afeni Shakur, giving Garland nothing.
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[item] Shania Twain

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Though raised by her stepfather Jerry Twain, Shania knew about her birth father, Clarence Edwards, for some time. However, she waited until she herself was a mother to ask him to be a part of her life. She spoke to ABC about the reunion in 2013, “That is just somebody that I’ve just [had] reintroduced back into in my life, and so it’s really interesting now. I wanted my son to know his grandfather.” Her immediate impression of her dad was, “he’s a very humble man, very nice man.”
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[item] Samuel L. Jackson

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Samuel L. Jackson didn’t meet his father, Roy Henry Jackson, until he was an upstart young actor living in Tennessee. Jackson’s maternal grandparents chipped in to help raise him while his mother Elizabeth worked to support the family. Jackson met his dad while performing in a play in Kansas, his paternal grandmother asked him to visit, but didn’t tell him his father would be there. He was caught off guard when he crossed paths with his pops, and as if that wasn’t surprise enough, the actor’s father got mad because he didn’t lie to cover up his absentee status, which the father’s new wife wasn’t aware of. Awkward.
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