When Two Musicians Breed: A Brief History of Rock-Star Kids

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Lady Gaga in drag? Meh. Kanye and Jay-Z bro-ing it up live? Not that groundbreaking. Justin Bieber’s pet snake, Johnson? Blech. Last week’s MTV Video Music Awards didn’t do much for us, but there was one redeeming moment — when we found out that Beyoncé was pregnant. Even those of us who don’t live vicariously through the tabloid-chronicled personal lives of pop stars couldn’t help but be excited for hip-hop’s first couple. Of course, they’re hardly the first pair of musicians who have spawned. Our brief history of kids with two rock-star parents, from Chaz Bono to Kelis and Nas’ son, is after the jump.

Cher and Sonny Bono

Son: Chaz Bono (born March 4, 1969)

The only child of Sonny and Cher has led a fascinating — and also difficult — life. Born biologically female and originally named Chastity, Bono came out as a lesbian in 1995 and wrote about the experience in the memoir Family Outing . Then, in 2008, he began a very public gender transition, renaming himself Chaz and participating in a film that documented his sex change. Although both Sonny and Cher both initially had difficulty with Chaz’s sexual orientation, and he was estranged from his father at the time of Sonny’s death, Cher has become her son’s biggest advocate. In fact, she recently lashed out via Twitter at those who aren’t happy that Chaz will compete in the next season of Dancing with the Stars, writing: “Mothers don’t stop getting angry with stupid bigots who fuck with their children!”

Sally Taylor, Carly Simon, and Ben Taylor. Image via

James Taylor and Carly Simon

Children: Sally Taylor (born January 7, 1974) and Ben Taylor (born January 22, 1977)

This pair of singer-songwriters was married for 11 years between 1972 and 1983, and by all accounts the relationship was rocky and its end painful. While Taylor struggled with drug addiction, Simon had to care for him and their two children, Sally (whose birth is the subject of Taylor’s song “Sarah Maria”) and Ben. These days, both of the kids have gone into the family business; Sally is a musician, philanthropist, and activist, and Ben is a folk singer and actor who has toured with his dad.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Son: Sean Lennon (born October 9, 1975)

Sean Lennon isn’t the only child of either John Lennon or Yoko Ono, but he is the sole offspring of their union. Although his parents initially tried to hide their musical careers from Sean, he began collaborating with Ono in the years after his father’s death. By the time he was a teenager, Sean was writing his own music. He became a member of Cibo Matto in 1996 and released his solo debut, Into the Sun, two years later. Since then, he’s put out a few more solo albums, written film scores, collaborated with Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr., and formed a new band, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.

Bruce and Patti with Jessica. Image via

Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa

Children: Evan James Springsteen (born July 25, 1990), Jessica Rae Springsteen (born December 30, 1991), and Samuel Ryan Springsteen (born January 5, 1994)

Bruce Springsteen’s second marriage began as an affair with his E Street band mate and former girlfriend, Patti Scialfa. Although the couple began living together before Springsteen’s divorce was finalized, they didn’t marry until nearly a year after the birth of their first child, Evan. Two decades later, 21-year-old Evan is a student at Boston College and a budding musician. Jessica, meanwhile, is a star equestrian who studies at Duke.

Photo credit: Rocky Schenck

Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love

Daughter: Frances Bean Cobain (born August 18, 1992)

The daughter of one of rock’s greatest martyrs and one of its most tenacious whipping girls, Frances Bean Cobain has led a life filled with controversy, ever since she was briefly taken away from her parents after a Vanity Fair article reported that Courtney Love was doing heroin while she was pregnant. As a teenager, Frances has publicly battled with her mother (who lost custody of her in 2009), interned for Rolling Stone, thrown herself a suicide-themed 16th birthday party (really), recorded with Amanda Palmer, become a visual artist, and posed for such photographers as Hedi Slimane and Rocky Schenck.

Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown

Daughter: Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown (March 4, 1993)

Speaking of children who grew up with difficult legacies, Bobbi Kristina was born to Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown at the height of Whitney’s career. But by the time Bobby was arrested, ten years later, for beating Whitney, it was clear that both were doing hard drugs. Things only got more depressing when the couple appeared on the Bravo reality series Being Bobby Brown, which depicted them at their worst. In 2007, they divorced. So, what has become of their now-18-year-old daughter? In March, the National Enquirer reported that Bobbi Kristina has a cocaine problem. Since that paper isn’t known for its adherence to fact, we’re really hoping it isn’t true.

Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon

Daughter: Coco Hayley Gordon Moore (July 1, 1994)

And now for a much happier story: The daughter of indie rock’s favorite lovebirds is only in high school, but Coco is already following in her parents’ footsteps. She fronts the band Big Nils (pictured; Coco is at the far right), who recently put out a thoroughly enjoyable, satisfyingly weird noise-punk EP called Sibling, which you can stream or download at Bandcamp. We had the pleasure of seeing Coco and her band mates rock out at a Brooklyn loft show last month and can’t wait to hear more from them.

Gwen and Gavin with Kingston. Image via

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale

Sons: Kingston James McGregor Rossdale (May 6, 2006) and Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale (August 21, 2008)

When the two prettiest people in alternative rock get together, you just know they’re going to have good-looking children. They may only be five and three, but Kingston and Zuma Rossdale do not disappoint. Kingston is even known as a pint-size style icon (note: we acknowledge that this is a ridiculous concept), and was spotted earlier this summer sporting a fetching blue mohawk.

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony

Children: Emme Maribel Muñiz and Maximilian David Muñiz (born February 22, 2008)

Tabloids would have been all over a J Lo pregnancy regardless, but do you remember when it came out that she and Marc Anthony were having twins? Sadly, the gossip rags have moved on to a new story about the couple — their separation, which went public back in July.

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Kelis and Nas

Son: Knight Jones (July 22, 2009)

We were so happy for Kelis and Nas — two of hip-hop’s most unique voices — when they got married back in 2005. Unfortunately, the couple broke up four years later, when Kelis was seven months pregnant with their son, Knight. Since the adorable kid’s birth, his parents’ child support battle — and Nas’ failure to pay his ex-wife and child what he owes them — has often made news.