There may have been a time when couples were expected to go down a certain route that involved marriage, then children, but in more modern times, people are more open-minded about how they chose to live their lives. And you can be in a committed relationship and start a family, without a ring. This is true for many celebrity couples, who decided to skip the traditional timeline and have children before getting engaged.
Some decided that the start of their family was the perfect time to pop the question and did end up getting married, while others got engaged, but broke up before they got to the altar. And then, there are celebrities like Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis, who simply didn’t feel they needed a marriage license because they already had such a strong foundation (until they didn’t, and ended up splitting after 14 years together). There are many modern couples who feel content without marriage, and there are others who just needed a little shove in the direction of the aisle.
Below are 20 celebrities who had their children before their wedding (if they had a wedding at all), and although some of them have since split, others are still going strong.
You can be in a committed relationship and start a family, without a ring. This is true for Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves, who have three children together, but had their two before they got married.
McConaughey dragged his feet a little when he came to proposing, and he told GQ, the reason he decided to get married, after already having children was because he wanted to “get to the point where I saw it as more than just the thing to do. I wanted to really want to…” The couple has been married since 2012 now, and still appear to be happy together.
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are one of the most adorable celebrity couples ever, and whenever they give interviews, they can’t stop saying nice things about each other. This is a celebrity relationship that seems to be filled with honesty and love, but it is also a relationship that was not traditional.
According to E! News, Kunis and Kutcher had their first daughter, Wyatt, in 2014, and only got married the next year in a quiet ceremony on a ranch outside of Los Angeles. They had their second child, a son, a year into their marriage, in 2016.
Tom Cruise had already been married to Nicole Kidman, and adopted two children with her, by the time he met Katie Holmes. For a time, these two were one of Hollywood’s most popular couples and there was great fascination surrounding their relationship, which did end up in marriage (and later divorce). In 2006, the couple chose to celebrate their wedding in an Italian castle, and according to CBS News, it was one of the most expensive celebrity weddings, costing a reported $2 million.
The interesting thing to note is that among the couple’s wedding guests was (most likely) their daughter, Suri, who had been born only a few months earlier.
Kim Kardashian was married twice before she exchanged vows with Kanye West, and it happened after they became parents to their daughter, North West. In fact, this duo didn't just have their baby before their marriage, but even before their engagement.
“When I got pregnant with North, I had no idea if Kanye and I were going to end up together,” Kardashian said, according to W Magazine. But they did, and they are still together. North was born in 2013, and the couple got engaged that same year when West proposed in the AT&T Park with a 50-piece orchestra.
Salma Hayek and her husband François-Henri Pinault have just one daughter together, and they had her out of wedlock. Despite being married for almost a decade, the pair had an unusual engagement timeline, and there was a point where fans thought they may not end up together at all.
According to E! News, the couple got engaged while Hayek was pregnant, but then called off their engagement in 2008, a few months after their daughter was born. There was no reason given as to why they decided to pause their relationship, but the break didn’t last, and by 2009 they were married.
When Natalie Portman starred in the 2010 film, Black Swan, she said “it was an incredible experience for so many reasons,” IndieWire reports. It was also a film that landedher a second Oscar nomination, and not just that; it also led her to her husband, Benjamin Millepied.
Millepied is a French dancer and choreographer, and he and Portman met on the set of the film. In 2011, the couple had their first child, a son named Aleph. But it was not until August of 2012 that they got married in a Jewish ceremony at a private home in Big Sur, California, Brides reports.
Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber waited to get engaged, but they didn’t wait to start a family. The pair met at the 2005 Met Gala in New York, they had their first child in 2007, their second in 2008, and although engagement reports persisted, it was never confirmed.
But that’s not the important part, what is, is that they loved each other enough to want to bring children into the world, and Schreiber spoke about this in an interview with Esquire (via People magazine). “I decided I was going to make a family with this person,” he said. “For better or for worse, I stepped into a partnership with somebody. We were gonna bring kids into this world and try to love and respect each other.”
When Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner broke up, many fans were felt saddened because they were one of Hollywood’s cutest families.
The couple met on the set of their film, Pearl Harbor, in 2000, but nothing romantic happened between them until the end of 2004 (although Insider notes that Affleck later gave an interview stating they fell in love on the set of Daredevil in 2002). When the pair married in June of 2005, Garner was already four months pregnant with their first child, which means when they got engaged in April of that year, she was already expecting.
Nicole Richie and Joel Madden met in 2006, and things happened pretty fast for this pair. In 2007, Richie announced that she was pregnant with her boyfriend’s child. But even after the birth of their daughter, Madden made it clear that the pair did not have marriage on their minds.
“I don’t think it’s completely necessary to rush plans and just try to get it done,” he told Ryan Seacrest (via Bustle). “I think it’s gotta be special, and it’s gotta be the right time. We have a great relationship. Everyone else talks about [marriage] more than we do.” They would have another child before their engagement in 2010.
Johnny Depp And Vanessa Paradis were together for 14 years before calling it quits. According to Daily Mail, the couple first met in 1998 at the Costes Hotel in Paris, where Depp was filming a movie, and it was not long before they started their family. Just a year into their relationship they had Lily-Rose, and in 2002, they added to their family with a son, Jack.
The pair never married, and it didn’t seem important for them because they were already a family and shared children. According to the publication, Depp said that together they had a “real foundation, a real strong place to stand in life, in work, in everything.”
Kate Hudson recently welcomed her third child, a daughter with current partner, Danny Fujikawa, but he is not the first man who she has started a family with without being married. Prior to her relationship with Fujikawa, Hudson was in a relationship with Matthew Bellamy, and the two had a son together.
According to ABC News, the pair did get engaged, around the time of the birth of their son, but they never actually made it down the aisle. That said, Hudson did feel as though she was already married to Bellamy, and during an appearance on The View, she said, "We've got kids and a family...We are in it. I think if we do get married it will be for the kids really."
Shakira is a modern woman, and she is in a relationship with a modern man, and neither of them feels the need to put a ring on it. The pair has been in a committed relationship since 2010, after meeting at the World Cup in South Africa, and they now share two sons.
But marriage is something Shakira has discussed, previously telling Primer Impacto (via Cosmopolitan), she just doesn’t need it. "When you feel complete you don't need to get married, and you don't think about it,” she said. “Whatever, he is mine now.”
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have one of the longest lasting relationships (especially for Hollywood) and after 35 years together, and one son (as well as Russell playing stepdad to Hawn’s two children) they are still happy. But they also do not need a wedding ring to prove that happiness, although many people have wondered over the years if they ever would get married.
Hawn addressed the thought of marriage in an interview with CBS This Morning in 2012 (via E! News), saying, "The question is, 'Why (get married)?' it's not, 'Why not?' We love each other. We [argue] the way people are supposed to [argue]. We love our lives together."
There are some celebrities who choose to share a lot of their life with the media, but then there are others, like Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who prefer their privacy and keep their private lives their own business. What we do know about this couple is that they have two daughters (fans did not even find out about their first pregnancy until around the seven-month mark, E! News notes), and they are completely committed to each other.
Gosling said the nicest things about Mendes in an interview with Hello! Canada, when he stated: "I know that I'm with the person I'm supposed to be with."
Some might say that Halle Berry has not been all that lucky in love, and she has had three marriages that didn't last. But she has got two beautiful children from her relationships, and for this entry, we’re going to focus on her relationship with Gabriel Aubry, the man who she had her first child with, Nahla Ariela Aubry, but never ended up marrying.
According to The Mirror, the pair were first linked in 2006, and had their daughter in 2008. But by 2010, it was all over, and there was no ring on Berry’s finger.
Perhaps one of the greatest examples of a couple who didn’t want to be engaged or married before starting a family is Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick. The pair first started dating in 2006, and although they had a rocky 10-year romance (they broke up in July of 2015), they do share three beautiful children together. Redbook magazine notes that they continue to parent together, and even reunite for holidays.
But why did they never want to get married? The answer is they were already committed to each other. In a 2012 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live (via Daily Mail), Kardashian said, “We are committed to each other, we are together, we have a great partnership -- I don't think I'm any different than Khloe and Lamar [Odom]” -- who were married at the time.
Mark Wahlberg and Rhea Durham had been together for eight years before they exchanged vows in a small ceremony in 2009. At the time of their wedding, they already had three of their four children (their last child was born in 2010). So, why the wait?
It turns out Wahlberg was simply not ready.
"We continue to grow in our relationship," he told Us Weekly. "I was not prepared to be married...when I was 20 or 30. Committing to making it work and all the other things that go into building a solid foundation is where I'm at now."
Rose Byrne has referred to Bobby Cannavale as her husband multiple times, so much so that it made it seem as though they had gotten married without anyone knowing. They hadn’t, but they also don’t feel the need to have a marriage license to be able to use the word “husband” (and we assume “wife”), and Byrne spoke about this in an interview with ES magazine.
"He’s practically my husband, so calling him that is easier," she said. "The formality isn’t a draw for me, but we’ll do it one day. Once you have children, I just think, why not?” The couple had their first child in 2016, and they have been together since 2012.
When Madonna and Guy Ritchie got married in a lavish wedding at a castle in the Scottish Highlands in 2000, they already had a son, Rocco, who had been born just a few months before their big day.
The wedding was a celebrity wedding to remember, and the staff who worked the wedding had to sign confidentiality agreements, Daily Mail reports. Guests of the couple also had to have their phones turned off at all times.
Their marriage only lasted until 2008, although Ritchie later told The Telegraph he didn’t regret the experience. ''The experience was ultimately very positive,” he said. “I love the kids that came out of it, and I could see no other route to take. But you move on, don't you?”
Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson will soon be welcoming baby number 3 into the world, but ahead of their third child’s arrival, we take a look back at their first two, both of whom arrived before the couple could make it down the aisle.
The difference between Simpson and Johnson, to some of the other entries on this list, is they were engaged before they had their first child, but then after giving birth to Maxwell Drew, Simpson fell pregnant again, with their son, Ace Knute.
When the couple did get married in 2014 (four years after getting engaged) their children played a special role in the wedding. People reports that their son was the ring bearer and their daughter was the flower girl.