Celebrity Parenting: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Celebrities are often known for adopting eccentric lifestyles, and their parenting choices are no exception.

Kate Hudson: The Working Mom

Kate Hudson: The Working Mom

Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn’s daughter, wrote a long essay on parenting for InStyle titled “Sometimes I Feel Like a Bad Mom.” Hudson, who she has two sons with two different fathers, seems to take a more hands-off approach. She mentions how important it is to her to continue pursuing her own creative endeavors, which means time away from her kids.

“Even though every primal ounce of the nurturing, domestic woman in me gets pulled, I’m a hunter as well. And I love to hunt,” she writes. “And as a woman I feel that somehow we are supposed to feel apologetic about wanting both. But I don’t want to apologize for that anymore.” She also admits to occasionally hiding from her kids.

Kate’s Hide and Go Seek

Kate’s Hide and Go Seek

In her essay, Hudson mentions that she finds herself at times hiding from her children in her own home.“Some days I feel like I should win best mom of the day award, and some days I find myself doing strange things that don’t have any real purpose, in faraway corners in my house, and I realize I am literally and deliberately hiding from my children,” she writes.

Kate is also quoted as saying that she does not like to do their homework and that she would rather be watchingThe Bachelor instead of division or fractions. Who can relate?

Gwyneth Paltrow: The Dieter

Gwyneth Paltrow: The Dieter

Gwyneth Paltrow has said a number of things in public that would lead one to believe that she follows some pretty strict parenting rules with her son Moses and her daughter Apple. She has said she only allows her kids to watch TV in French or Spanish (they speak English).

Rumors flew about Gwyneth imposing her diet on her children being the cause of a rift between Paltrow and their father, Chris Martin. However, it seems Paltrow’s children don’t follow her strict diet. The actress told You magazine, “You can’t tell them ‘No Coke, no cake.’ It’s not realistic. Their favorite foods are pasta and French fries. It’s about trying to augment that with something healthy.”

Alicia Silverstone: Bird-Feeding Mom

Alicia Silverstone: Bird-Feeding Mom

Alicia had some controversial parenting spotlight a few years ago when she filmed herself feeding her then 11-month-old son, Bear, like a bird. Yes, she chews up food and then passes it to him in his mouth; this is a process apparently known as “kiss-feeding.”

In the video, which was posted to TheKindLife.com, Silverstone says, “I fed Bear the mocha and a tiny bit of veggies from the soup…from my mouth to his. It’s his favorite…and mine.” Some were appalled by the practice, saying she could be passing bacteria or viruses like oral herpes to her son. While Silverstone isn’t the first person in history to pre-masticate food for a baby, there’s a reason baby food was invented.

Gisele Bündchen: Elimination Communication

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Gisele Bündchen reportedly said that she followed elimination communication when her son, Benjamin, was a six-month-old baby. This means, in an effort to avoid diapering, you pay attention to your child’s noises and facial expressions and hold them over the toilet when you think it’s time for them to go to the restroom.

The eco-minded Gisele adopted elimination communication as a way to cut back on diaper waste. She told the Boston Herald that Benjamin was on a schedule, so she would breastfeed in the morning and he would eliminate right after. “Give it about five minutes, and bang,” she said.

Gisele’s Healthy Family Diet

Gisele’s Healthy Family Diet

Gisele is not a fan of sweets in the house. “80 percent of what [the kids] eat is vegetables,” she said. “If it’s not organic I don’t use it.” It’s no surprise the fashion model and her football playing husband Tom Brady eat healthily, or that they passed that on to their kids.

Bündchen also stated that her kids are only used to certain kinds of sweets, so they weren’t fond of their Halloween candy. “We don’t really have that kind of sugar in our house. I let them try one but they really only had one bite and then they didn’t want it anymore,” she said. Less sugar seems like it could be a good thing for a lot of kids in this day and age.

Penélope Cruz: RIE Parenting

Penélope Cruz: RIE Parenting

Penélope Cruz and many others including Tobey Maguire, Felicity Huffman, and Helen Hunt have been known to practice RIE or Resources for Infant Educators. This parenting style is a teaching method of various techniques that fall under one big umbrella rule: stop treating children like children. Basically, it encourages long adult conversations with pre-verbal kids and baby talk is strictly forbidden.

The theory behind RIE is that treating babies as a unique human being rather than as an object demonstrates respect, makes your baby feel secure and enables them to be more autonomous and competent. Instead of simply changing a baby’s diaper when they cry, you would talk them through it: “I’m going to change your diaper because it’s wet.”

Candace Cameron Bure: Corporal Punishment

Candace Cameron Bure: Corporal Punishment

Candace Cameron Bure, a New York Times bestselling author and former star ofFull House, is known for being extremely devoted to her Christian faith. In a long-deleted blog post she opened up about how she chooses to parent, and well, you be the judge. She apparently follows a book calledTo Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl. The Pearls are known for using corporal punishment to get kids to exhibit total obedience.At least three children have allegedly died from the methods advocated by the Pearls. It’s hard to believe our beloved D.J. Tanner grew up to use such extreme methods of punishment on her children!

Candace’s Extreme Christian Punishment

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Some of the horrifying methods the Pearls advocate include using plastic plumbing tubing to beat children and then wearing said plastic around the parents’ necks as a constant reminder to obey. The Pearls recommend hosing off children who have normal potty training accidents.

Their violent methods also include swatting babies as young as six months old with instruments such as “a 12-inch willowy branch,” thinner plastic tubing, or a wooden spoon if they try to crawl off a blanket on the floor. Fans of Candace Cameron Bure were horrified that she was using methods commonly considered child abuse to discipline her children.

Candace Cameron Bure: Discipline Gone Too Far

Candace Cameron Bure: Discipline Gone Too Far

The violence of this child-rearing method doesn’t stop there. Harder instruments like rulers, paddles, belts, and tree branches are used to beat on older kids. Giving kids a cold-water bath, putting kids outside in cold weather, and withholding meals are some more regular punishments. The Pearls also advocate doing this until the child is “without breath to complain.”

In Balancing It All, Bure writes she used to spank her children on the bottom “with instruction in love and prayer,” and that she’s a “tough mom.” That’s a major understatement. Apparently, the Duggar family also practices these violent child-rearing methods.

Mayim Bialik: Blossom Attachment Parenting

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This actress and neuroscientist has been very vocal about her use of attachment parenting and has even written two books about it. Attachment parenting is a term coined by Dr. William Spears; it refers to maternal closeness and advocates such things as co-sleeping, baby wearing, and extended breastfeeding. Mayim says above all it is important the children have a voice and they will naturally begin to become more independent.

She’s also a fan of the Ferber sleeping method, saying, “Any sleep training or sleep modification regimen that involves your baby crying and you not tending to it is going against your natural mammalian wiring.”

Mayim’s Closeness with Her Kids

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For Mayim, this means letting her sons breastfeed until they are ready to stop. When she breastfed her son on a New York subway, she said, “”I received a tremendous amount of backlash. What I like to point out is that was the best way for that subway ride to be pleasant for everyone. It was the end of a very long day.”

She also co-sleeps with her sons meaning she chooses to share a bed with them. The interesting thing about Bialik is that she definitely voices her choices but doesn’t declare it is the only way but merely the way that works for her and her family.

Jenny McCarthy: Anti-Vaxxer

Jenny McCarthy: Anti-Vaxxer

To the younger generation, her anti-vaccination beliefs are probably what the actress and model Jenny McCarthy is best known for. Although she claims not to be anti-vaccine and instead says she demands “safe vaccines,” she has said a number of eyebrow-raising statements that make credible doctors and scientists cringe.

She said that parents of children with autism would “stand in line” for their child to have measles rather than being autistic. McCarthy has a son who is autistic. “I think Jenny McCarthy has done a lot of harm and continues to do a lot of harm,” said Alison Singer, the president of the Autism Science Foundation.

Jenny: Vaccines Cause Autism

Jenny: Vaccines Cause Autism

Jenny McCarthy clearly isn’t a fan of science, and claims that scientific findings that claim autism and vaccines are not related are lies. She says her proof is that her son Evan was diagnosed with autism after a series of vaccinations. However, an autism diagnosis can happen around the same age as vaccinations since children around the age of two or three years old are starting to show developmental differences.

Many claim that her anti-vaxxing ways are endangering the lives of not only those who believe them but children who are exposed to infectious disease because of not having vaccinations.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes: Scientology Fashion

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes: Scientology Fashion

Supposedly, Suri, the daughter of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, has been picking out and designing her own clothes and outfits since she was one, making her a pint-sized Hollywood style icon. “I grew up the youngest of five, so there were a lot of hand-me-downs,” said Katie. “[Suri] picks out all of her own clothes and has since she was one-and-a-half.”

Not all of Tom and Katie’s parenting tactics were praised. The Scientology-related upbringing raised a few eyebrows, and Suri was also photographed drinking from a bottle at age four which is widely frowned on by doctors and dentists for damage that can be done to children’s teeth.

Katie’s Post-Split Parenting

Katie’s Post-Split Parenting

Since the split, Holmes has adopted a loving, balanced parenting style. However, Tom reportedly hasn’t seen his daughter in years due to Scientology’s disconnection policy.

“I try to make our world very much an environment that’s just all about being a kid without too much of Hollywood coming into that,” Holmes told the New York Times. “Honestly I think that there are so many books and opinions about how to be a great mom, and you have good days and bad days, and sometimes you do great and sometimes you could have done better. But I have to say I’m really enjoying having a 10-year-old. She’s a remarkable person.”

Kim Kardashian: The Neutral Palette

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Kim Kardashian has said that her daughter North West is not a fan of frilly things. “She doesn’t like pink or purple. She likes grays, creams, oatmeal colors and black,” Kim explained to Lucky magazine. “Every once in a while, she’ll add in some color, like with her little red Air Yeezys, but other than that she likes to keep it pretty simple.”

Okay, so doctors and scientists know that babies respond best to bright colors, but perhaps North is the exception to the rule. Or perhaps her mother is simply projecting her own style onto her daughter. Did you enjoy the color oatmeal as a baby?

Michael Jackson: Masked Kids

Michael Jackson: Masked Kids

For many years, anytime Michael Jackson took his children out into public he would cover their faces with masks or blankets. As a teenager, his daughter Paris explained the decision, “He didn’t want anyone to see what we looked like. That way we could have what he didn’t, which was a normal childhood.” While their father’s life unraveled through his addiction to drugs, the children were kept out of the limelight.

Protecting their privacy makes sense when you are one of the most internationally famous people in the world. The King of Pop really made headlines when he dangled his baby Blanket over a hotel balcony.

Michael Jackson: Dangling Babies

Michael Jackson: Dangling Babies

In 2002, Michael Jackson faced some major criticism when he dangled his nine-month-old son over a hotel balcony while staying in Berlin. After the outrage, Jackson issued an apology through his lawyer, calling the incident, “a terrible mistake.” “I offer no excuses for what happened,” said the statement, “I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children.”

In hindsight, this is even more terrifying than it seemed at the time as we know that Michael was suffering from an extremely heavy drug addiction. Since his death, we have seen all the kids in public without covers on their faces.

Madonna: The Super Strict Mom

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Madonna has made headlines for what seems to be extremely strict parenting; this seems to be at odds with her wild persona as a performer. She has been said to not allow her children to watch TV. She also confiscates her daughter’s clothes when they’re left on the floor until she’s down to a single outfit.

She also reportedly forced them to engage in a variety of Kabbalah practices which includes eating a very strict macrobiotic diet—that means no sweets, dairy, salt, preservatives, or many animal products. Her eldest daughter, Lourdes Leon, has complained that her mom is “too controlling.”

Madonna: Custody Battle for Rocco

Madonna: Custody Battle for Rocco

Madonna made headlines recently when she entered into a custody battle with her ex-husband over their teenage son Rocco. Rocco allegedly told the court he preferred to live with his dad and complained about his mother’s strictness. He said his mother treated him like a “trophy,” and he prefers living with his dad in London.

Rocco also rebelled against Madonna by blocking her from his Instagram feed before deleting his account altogether. It seems as though the former free spirit and wild girl of pop is just trying to do what’s best for her son, but the custody case didn’t go in her favor.

Octomom

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The nickname of Natalie Suleman, who then went by Nadya, really says it all. Octomom gained fame for giving birth to a set of octuplets in 2009 with the aid of in vitro fertilization. She had already given birth to six other children previously all with the aid of IVF. Ms. Suleman was also a single woman when she chose to have her children.

One week after their birth, they surpassed the worldwide survival rate for a set of octuplets. She faced controversy when it was discovered she was already on public assistance and was unemployed while undergoing expensive IVF treatments.

Octomom Hates Babies

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Ultimately, the doctor that transferred the eight embryos lost his license to practice medicine. Suleman was also later recorded stating that her six older children were “animals.” She also said of her octuplets, “I hate the babies, they disgust me.” That’s the kind of comment that’s sure to get the attention of child services.

The reality TV mother also admits to contemplating suicide. “The only way I can cope is to lock myself in the bathroom and cry… Some days I have thought about killing myself. I cannot cope.” It sounds like she has some difficulty with all the kids she chose to have, and it’s truly a bizarre situation.

Kelly Preston: Scientology Silent Birth

Kelly Preston: Scientology Silent Birth

Kelly Preston and her husband John Travolta are among the most well-known followers of Scientology. Scientology requires women to have a silent birth, meaning they must keep making any noise, including speaking and moaning, to a bare minimum.

She explained the practice on The Today Show, stating, “It’s just no words as much as possible. If you need to moan, if you cry out or all of that, of course, it’s normal. But just bringing them in as peaceful and gentle as possible.” All the women who have given birth just gave one large collective eye roll on that one!

January Jones: Placenta Eating

January Jones: Placenta Eating

Mad Men star January Jones made headlines for saying she ate her own placenta after childbirth. Jones told People that there’s nothing “witch-crafty” about it and that she recommends it to all new moms.

Consuming the placenta after birth purports such benefits as preventing and alleviating postpartum depression, helping to aid in the production of breast milk and lactation, aiding your uterus in returning to its normal state, and replenishing all of the nutrients lost throughout pregnancy and the act of childbirth. Eating afterbirth even became so trendy that there was a cookbook called The Placenta Cookbook by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian.

The Benefits of Consuming Placenta

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Many moms swear by this process and others claim it to be too bohemian for their liking. Some women dehydrate their placenta and eat it that way; others blend it into a smoothie or have it ground up and put into capsules.

Since there have been no scientific studies about the benefits of consuming placenta, many are on the fence. However, as Jones pointed out, humans are the only mammals who don’t regularly consume the placenta after giving birth. A few celebrity moms who ate their placenta include Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Alicia Silverstone, and Holly Madison. Would you try it?

Céline Dion: The No-Haircut Mom

Céline Dion: The No-Haircut Mom

Céline Dion seems to have decided to take a children-at-the-helm kind of parenting style, allowing for her oldest son, René Charles, to dictate when he wants a haircut. This means he did not have any kind of haircut for the first eight years of his life and wore his flowing locks down his back.

Dion told Oprah her son would “cut his hair when he’s ready.” As a teenager, it seems as though he has now had one. He seems like a fairly well-adjusted and normal teenager so perhaps this was a great choice to give him the option on her part.

Angelina Jolie: Family Sleep

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When Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were still together, they reportedly engaged in a “family sleep” in which the entire family piled into one bed together and slept for the night. Co-sleeping is common outside the United States, Canada, and Europe, and is embraced by those who practice attachment parenting, which is popular among celebrities.

“Right now, Pax is sleeping in our bed. It’s kind of nice, him immediately knowing and feeling comfortable with us,” said Jolie. “Mad slept with me until Brad and I got together. They’re fun to sleep with. We have family sleep on Sundays. Everybody sleeps together.”

Angelina Jolie: Traveling with Kids

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Before the split, the Pitt-Jolie family was also known for constant traveling and enrolling their kids in the famous Lycee Francais school which allows the kids to keep up with the curriculum regardless of where they are in the world.

It’s no surprise they traveled frequently since their global family was adopted from around the world. Maddox was born in Cambodia, Pax was born in Vietnam, and Zahara was born in Ethiopia. Shiloh was the couple’s first biological child who Angelina gave birth to in Namibia before the split, and Knox and Vivienne are also biological children born in France.

Farrah Abraham: The Mom with Issues

Farrah Abraham: The Mom with Issues

Farrah Abraham’s 15 minutes of fame started on the MTV reality series Teen Mom. This teen mother and occasional porn star has come under fire for her parenting choices since she gave birth to her daughter, Sophia.

In recent years it has been reported that she waxes her seven-year-old daughter, Sophia’s, eyebrows. She also allegedly argued with her daughter’s school so she could wear makeup to class. She argued with her daughter’s school principal that if she didn’t want elementary school girls to come to school wearing makeup, she shouldn’t wear makeup herself. Never mind that the principal was an adult woman.

Farrah’s Questionable Parenting

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Farrah has also come under fire for pushing her daughter into modeling and was attacked on social media for sexualizing her daughter at a young age. On Teen Mom OG, Farrah took it a step further when she scolded her sick daughter for refusing to get out of bed for an Easter party.

“I don’t know why Sophia needs to act like a heathen, get up there,” said Abraham while pushing Sophia up the stairs. “Sophia is too stupid to get ready.” It really seems as though Farrah is setting this young girl up for a plethora of issues in the future. Good luck, Sophia!

Heidi Klum: The Briber

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Heidi Klum seems to follow what would be considered pretty normal parenting practices. One, in particular, is bribing her kids to eat healthily. “Some of my kids don’t love [healthy food] so I decided I would pay them a dollar if they finish [it],” said the supermodel.

It seems like the method is working. “All the money goes into their piggy banks—they have collected a bunch of money since January,” said Klum. “What’s good for them is good for me as well.” As a parent, sometimes you will do whatever it takes to get your kids to eat their vegetables!

Alec Baldwin: The Berater

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Alec Baldwin might be making us cackle with his hilarious Trump impression on SNL, but the actor formerly made headlines when he was recorded leaving his daughter Ireland an angry voicemail in which he called her “a rude little pig.”

This parenting approach would probably not be particularly useful especially since his ex-wife Ireland’s mother, Kim Basinger, alleged Alec treated her in similar not so nice ways. They seem to have mended ways in recent years, and Alec seems to have taken on a much calmer persona since marrying yoga instructor Hilaria. He even has three more little Baldwin’s running around.

Penélope: Don’t Baby the Baby

Penélope: Don’t Baby the Baby

Penélope doesn’t allow bouncers, sippy cups, baby carriers, swaddles, or walkers as all of these things “disrespect the baby.” For Penélope, the following are also banned: toys including baby mobiles and rattles as the baby did not make the choice to have these things.

While it might seem a little over the top, the toy industry is worth $16 billion a year and the baby business nets $49 million a year. Maybe all those talking toys, interactive tablets, and hunks of plastic junk parents shell out good money for aren’t totally necessary. Then again, not many of us would want to get between new parents who don’t have money for a nanny and their baby’s pacifier.

Nicole Richie: The Healthy Mom

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In 2011, it was reported that Nicole Richie took an approach to parenting that was very limiting, to say the least. Clearly, Nicole cares about the well-being of her kids but she reportedly did not allow them to play with battery operated toys, no exposure to plastic, and no sugar or dairy. This seems like it would be hard to do in our modern society.

However, now that her daughter Harlow is growing up, Richie says she doesn’t believe in “black and white parenting,” and plans to navigate her children’s teen years by “seeing who your kids are” and handling each of them as individuals.

Nicole and Joel: Doing Their Best

Nicole and Joel: Doing Their Best

Like most parents, Nicole Richie and her husband Joel Madden (of Good Charlotte fame), aren’t always on the same page when it comes to the rules. It seems Joel likes to play good cop. Richie has laughingly mentioned that husband Joel Madden will get the kids pizza and other snacks.

She has stated that she has to let her husband do things his way, too. It seems like she has a good attitude towards her shared parenting responsibilities, and the couple balances each other out. She certainly has come a long way from her wild days with Paris Hilton onThe Simple Life!

Michelle Obama: The Example

Michelle Obama: The Example

Our former First Lady sets an example in many areas of life and parenting is no different. Although the girls were raised in The White House with a huge staff at their disposal, Michelle still found it important for the girls to have responsibilities and do chores and was against White House staff spoiling them. She also tries to limit TV consumption and limits candy consumption to special occasions only. It sounds like a healthy way to raise two girls!

With Malia Obama embarking on her gap year before attending Harvard University and 15-year-old Sasha excelling at Washington, D.C.’s Sidwell Friends School, it’s clear this parenting method works.

Will and Jada Pinkett Smith: Free-Range Kids

Will and Jada Pinkett Smith: Free-Range Kids

The Smith kids have been known for their out-there comments that seem to come from a pseudo-philosophical realm of study. The Smiths are rumored to have invested into a school that is based on Scientology methodologies. They’re known to have allowed their kids to have free range in their life, making their own decisions and choices about how to live from a very early age.

Will Smith has jokingly said that “maybe he went too far,” but perhaps in every joke, there’s some truth. At the same time, Willow and Jaden Smith seem happy and self-assured and have had successful acting and music careers of their own.

Tyga: Marijuana Parenting

Tyga: Marijuana Parenting

Rapper and Kylie Jenner’s boyfriend Tyga filmed a video with his then three-year-old son King Cairo in 2015, and it a particular substance looked to be on the table in the background. A green leafy pile lay on a coffee table next to a pack of Swisher Sweets which is typically used to roll blunts.

Tyga has refuted that he would smoke marijuana around his son, yet it certainly seems that he had it in the presence of his son. His son’s mother, Blac Chyna, has been in an on-again-off-again custody battle, and the video certainly didn’t help Tyga’s case.

Donald Trump on Ivanka: Creepy Parenting

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President Trump claims he could shoot someone in the middle of Times Square and not lose any followers, so it’s no surprise his creepy comments about his daughter Ivanka did little to halt his presidential campaign.

Trump has a history of making inappropriate and suggestive comments about women, both to their face and on Access Hollywood buses, but you think he’d draw the line at his own daughter. Instead, he has consistently made comments on her body, let shock jock Howard Stern refer to her in a less than respectful way, and said that he would sleep with her if he wasn’t her father. Ugh. Repulsive!

Brad Pitt Goes To Court Over Custody, Abuse Allegations

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Allegations of child abuse arose when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie separated in 2016. The rumors that sent media into a frenzy were aimed at Pitt and went so far as to have an F.B.I. conducted investigation to clear any suspicions that Pitt could be abusing drugs or alcohol and that it was affecting his ability to parent his six children.

While Pitt’s legal team attempted to seal court documents relating to child custody for their privacy and protection, it’s been suggested that Jolie’s legal team dragged their feet on the issue and the media were able to catch wind of details of the matter. The court case continues and it’s yet to be decided whether Pitt will need to undergo random drug and alcohol testing, as recommended by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

Robin Thicke’s Custody Battle

Robin Thicke’s Custody Battle

Robin Thicke and his ex-wife Paula Patton have been fighting over the custody of their six-year-old son Julian, and in January a judge rejected Patton’s request to limit Thicke’s access. Patton has accused the “Blurred Lines” singer of physically abusing their son, which Thicke adamantly denies.

According to the court documents, Patton says she’s “become concerned about [Robin’s] drinking and drug use, as well as the forms of punishment he is using to discipline Julian.” Patton specifically cites the spankings, which she believes were too hard and made Julian “scared” of his father. While many parents turn to spanking their children, new research shows it has a lasting negative impact on children and increases noncompliance and aggression.

Phil Collins’ Forgiveness

Phil Collins’ Forgiveness

The former Genesis star Phil Collins wasn’t always there for his daughter Lily Collins, who ended up becoming a successful actress. Lily wrote a letter to her father in her book, saying she has accepted the “sadness and anger” she once felt toward him. Lily grew up in the United States, far away from her father.

She says the pain and confusing surrounding her dad’s divorce from his third wife, Orianne Cevey, contributed to her struggle with anorexia. “I forgive the mistakes you made,” she writes, “And although it may seem like it’s too late, it’s not. There’s still so much time to move forward.”