Life gets messy, and because things don’t always go as planned for parents, Child Protective Services (CPS) must intervene to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children. Every single year CPS gets involved with families to advocate for what’s best for kids even if parents don’t always see it that way. Every parent’s biggest fear is to have their child taken from them. However, sometimes it’s in the child’s best interest to be removed from a home. It’s a sad situation that unfortunately can happen to even the most loving parents. Celebrities are not immune to a CPS intervention. In fact, many Hollywood couples have been investigated by CPS. Most of the time it’s a result of a custody battle during a divorce and the matter gets quickly resolved. Other times an investigation does uncover harm or the potential for it and the child is removed. It’s proof that nobody is perfect and that even the most seemingly put together celebrity might have some issues to take care of. Here are 25 celebrities who’ve had CPS called on them, been investigated for child neglect, or dealt with major custody issues.
Actor Brooke Mueller was married to Charlie Sheen from 2008-2011 and the couple had twins together named Bob and Max. In 2013, the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Service removed the twins from Brooke’s home over concerns with Brooke’s ongoing struggle with substance abuse. After the children were taken, Charlie’s ex-wife Denise Richards offered to take the kids. Luckily, Brooke regained custody of her boys a year later in 2014.
Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie
Celebrity power couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt surprised the world when they announced their divorce in 2016. The actors share six children together. They have three adopted children: daughter Zahara and sons Maddox and Pax. They also have three biological children together: daughter Shiloh and twins Vivienne and Knox. Shortly after the paperwork was filed, Brad was investigated for an incident that happened on a private plane with his son Pax. Just days after the investigation was opened, it was closed because no signs of abuse were found.
Adult actor Janine Lindemulder gained notoriety during her custody battle with Jesse James of West Coast Choppers. The couple married in 2002 and had a child together soon after but unfortunately things fell apart and they divorced in 2004 after Janine was arrested for domestic abuse. Janine went to jail and then got into a nasty custody battle with Jesse over their daughter. Jesse had started dating Sandra Bullock at the time, who cared for the child and even testified at the custody hearing. Unfortunately, Janine landed herself back in jail and Jesse ended up with full custody of their kid.
Celebrity stylist Tameka Foster is probably best known for her tumultuous relationship with musician Usher. The couple was married from 2007-2009 and they have two sons, Usher Raymond V and Naviyd Eli. An investigation into Tameka’s parenting abilities took place when the former couple was trying to work out a custody arrangement. The custody battle got heated and Tameka verbally threatened Usher with violence. She ultimately lost custody of the kids and Usher became their primary caregiver.
Teen Mom star Amber Portwood has had her fair share of legal and substance abuse issues, which led to multiple investigations by Child Protective Services. In 2011, things took a turn and Amber and CPS issued a protective order for her daughter. Soon after, Amber was sentenced to jail for domestic abuse involving her daughter’s father Gary Shirley. Ever since the incident, Gary has had custody of their daughter.
Rich Homie Quan
Atlanta-based rapper Rich Homie Quan has three sons in total: Devin, Royal, and Khosen. In 2015, Rich was investigated by CPS and Fulton County Police Department for allegedly exposing his child to marijuana. The rapper had posted a video of himself online smoking what appeared to be a joint with his son his lap. The public reported the video to the authorities, and it was rumored that they were considering pressing criminal charges of endangering a child and reckless behavior. Fortunately, the incident was cleared up and Rich issued a public apology.
Popstar Britney Spears fell on tough times in the mid-to-late 2000s as her marriage to Kevin Federline ended. The couple had two boys together Sean Preston and Jayden James. In 2006, in the thick of a custody battle for the kids, the L.A. Department of Children and Family Services were called on Britney for child abuse and neglect. After Britney failed to show up for a court-ordered drug test, the kids were transferred to Kevin. At the time, the media was hyperfocused on Britney’s “meltdown” and it colored the events in an even more negative way. Luckily, Britney turned things around and now has some custody of her children.
John Barrymore & Jaid Barrymore
Hollywood royalty and parents of Drew Barrymore, John and Jaid Barrymore struggled with alcohol abuse and addiction through Drew’s formative years and unfortunately, their daughter ended up with addiction issues. By the time Drew was 14, she had already been to rehab multiple times and even attempted suicide. Needless to say, home life for Drew was unhealthy and at the age of 14, she applied for emancipation. It did not take much time for investigators to conclude that John and Jaid were unfit. Drew recovered and has since become a true star.
Actor and producer Pilar Sanders was married to former professional football player Deion Sanders from 1999-2013. The couple share three children: sons Shilo and Shedeur, and daughter Shelomi. A custody battle started as part of the divorce and Pilar was initially awarded custody of her daughter but not her sons. Eventually, her daughter was taken from her as well and as the custody battle raged on, Deion filed a defamation of character lawsuit against Pilar. Pilar had made accusations about the former footballer on social media. She was consistently late returning her kids after visits and in 2014 was sentenced to seven days in jail because of it.
Another Teen Mom star has had issues with CPS in the past: Leah Messer and ex Jeremy Calvert share daughter Adalynn. With her other ex Corey Simms, she shares twins Aleah and Ali. Leah checked herself into rehab in 2016 and CPS has investigated her multiple times for unsafe living conditions. Jeremy was awarded full custody of the twins. Leah still has difficulty co-parenting her children with her exes and we hope she is doing better.
Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith
Actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were investigated by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services after a photo of their then 13-year-old daughter Willow surfaced. The photo, which was controversial, showed Willow in bed with a 20-year-old actor. Jada fully cooperated with the investigators and the investigation ended pretty soon after it started. Nothing came of it.
Siohvaughn Funches Wade
NBA legend Dwayne Wade and Siohvaughn Funches were married from 2000-2007 and share two kids Zaire and Zion. In 2007, Dwayne was awarded sole custody of the children and Siohvan only got visitation rights. In 2012, Siohvan failed to return the children after a visit and Dwayne claimed that she had kidnapped them. Following that incident, Dwayne filed to have visitation rights revoked until Siohvaughn underwent a mental health evaluation which spawned an investigation. She had been protesting outside basketball games with a sign that read, “NBA Miami Heat star, mother of his children on the streets.” Siohvaughn sued her divorce lawyer for malpractice.
Musicians Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain had a highly publicized and dramatic relationship in the 1990s. They had their daughter Frances in 1992 and shortly after the birth, rumors began that Courtney had used drugs while she was pregnant. This started an investigation that led to the pair losing custody of their daughter for a short period. After Kurt’s death, Courtney maintained custody of Frances but continued to struggle with addiction and substance abuse. In 2009, Frances made comments that her mother was responsible for killing a number of her childhood pets. The court removed Frances from Courtney’s care and placed her with Cobain’s mother and sister.
Rapper Ludacris and longtime partner Tamika Fuller welcomed their daughter Cai Bella in 2013. However, the relationship was complicated when Ludacris continued dating model, Eudoxie Mbouguiengue. Tamika decided she wouldn’t let Ludacris visit with Cai and that led to Ludacris suing for custody. Tamika claimed that Ludacris had bribed her to have an abortion. The judge for the custody battle found Ludacris to be a fit parent and awarded him with sole custody. Although Ludacris won the battle, he insisted that Tamika play a role in their daughter’s life.
Singer Robin Thicke found himself in hot water after his ex-wife Paula Patton accused him of being a heavy drinker and drug user who would use spanking as a form of punishment for their child. Their son Julian was just 6-years-old at the time and DCFS got involved when the boy told a school counselor that his dad routinely punched him. Custody was given to Paula and Robin’s visitation rights were taken away. DCFS concluded their investigation and found Robin to be fit for visitations again.
Lisa Marie Presley & Michael Lockwood
Singer Lisa Marie Presley filed to have her ex-husband’s spousal support revoked. She claimed Michael Lockwood had inappropriate images of children and he faced sexual abuse and neglect charges. At least 80 items were confiscated from Michael’s California home in California and the authorities there discovered he had allegations made against him in Tennessee. After DCFS started their investigation, they removed Lisa’s twins from her home and placed them in the care of her mother. The battle is still ongoing.
Actor Halle Berry was interviewed by authorities after an incident that occurred on Thanksgiving in 2012. Apparently her ex-husband, Gabriel Aubry, was returning the daughter he shares with Halle to her home. Halle’s boyfriend Olivier Martinez and Gabriel got into a fight that landed both men in the hospital. Gabriel was eventually arrested for the incident. The fight along with other reports of violence in the home prompted DCFS to investigate. They found that the altercation was a result of an ongoing custody battle, but eventually, the estranged couple worked things out and came to a custody agreement.
Singer Adam Levine and wife Behati Prinsloo welcomed their first child in 2016. Only a month later, an anonymous tip was given to the juvenile division of the LAPD. The tip claimed that Adam had hit his newborn daughter in the face and also hit Behati hard enough to knock her down. Police and CPS followed up on the tip and did a wellness check at Adam’s home. They found no evidence to suggest that Behati or her daughter were victims of abuse.
Nick Cannon & Mariah Carey
In 2011, Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey welcomed their children in a Los Angeles Hospital where an unexpected visitor, CPS, showed up. Apparently a tip had been given to them about alcohol and illegal drug use in the hospital. Nick did an interview and explained that a nurse had suggested that Mariah drink a Guinness beer to improve her breastmilk. Nick assumed someone had overheard the nurse and decided to jump to conclusions. The social worker quickly understood it was a misunderstanding and left the happy parents alone.
Yet another Teen Mom star makes the list! Jenelle Evans has had many difficulties over the past several years. One incident involved a photo of the reality star shared on her Instagram. Followers were quick to notice that the photo of her infant appeared to show bruising around his eye. Jenelle claimed that CPS received over 50 calls about the picture. The investigation turned up nothing, but it wouldn’t be the last time CPS got involved with Jenelle. She had CPS called on her in 2015 and again in 2016. The most recent incident involved David Eason shooting the family dog and allegations of abuse, which resulted in the children being taken from Jenelle and David. The case was recently resolved. The young children are back with Jenelle, but her oldest son Jace remains in the care of Jenelle’s mother.
Plastic surgeon and star of the reality TV show Botched Paul Nassif was investigated on two separate occasions by DCFS. In 2012, one of the boys broke his fingers and then-wife Adrienne Maloof claimed the injury occurred while Paul and his son were wrestling. Paul denied her claim and said his son’s injury was the result of activities at his school. In 2016, the family’s former lifeguard claimed in a resignation letter that he’d witnessed Paul being physically abusive with all three of his children. In addition to the letter, the lifeguard made a formal complaint to DCFS. Paul was cleared.
In 2017, reality TV stars of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, Mimi Faust and Joseline Hernandez took their TV feud to the next level. Joseline claimed that Mimi’s daughter Eva had been molested by a mutual acquaintance. CPS investigated the allegation but found no evidence to support it. Then, Joseline made another complaint to CPS that Mimi wasn’t providing a safe home for her daughter. Again, CPS investigated and cleared Mimi. Luckily, Mimi could see that steps needed to be taken to keep this from happening again and she filed a restraining order against Joseline.
Tarek El Moussa & Christina Anstead
Reality TV personalities Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead share two children together, Brayden and Taylor. In 2017, Brayden fell into the family pool while being cared for by a nanny. Christina returned home and the nanny explained what had happened. Christina who was being a careful parent made sure to take her son to the ER for an evaluation. Nurses and doctors are mandated to contact CPS if they suspect child endangerment, so they did. Investigators interviewed Christina, Tarek, and hospital personnel and determined nothing was amiss.
Rapper Chris Brown has had a string of run-ins with the authorities for various complaints and crimes. In 2016, Chris was in a nine-hour long standoff with the Los Angeles Police after a woman claimed that Chris had pulled a gun on her. Shortly after the dramatic incident, Nia Guzman, who shares daughter Royalty with the rapper, contacted CPS. Chris had just received joint custody of his daughter the year before. The court battle between the couple is still ongoing.
In 2012, Kris Jenner received some unwelcome visitors to her Calabasas home. CPS arrived at her compound after receiving an anonymous tip that Kylie and Kendall Jenner, who were minors at the time, were being abused. Nothing came of the investigation but Kris did make a fuss about the incident and claimed the tip made to CPS came from an angry tabloid reporter.
It’s never a good day when CPS arrives, but they play an essential role in making sure that children are healthy and well-cared for. No matter what triggers an investigation by the CPS, they must follow up and make sure that no children are being harmed. Even if that means a bad tip against a celebrity, they have to investigate. That may seem like overstep, but imagine if they didn’t and a child was actually in danger. Most investigations are a result of a divorce or a custody battle where allegations are thrown around to better one side’s chances of winning custody. Being a parent is tough especially when you think you have your child’s best interests at heart. Luckily, CPS can help resolve issues even for celebrities.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 Brooke Mueller
- 2 Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie
- 3 Janine Lindemulder
- 4 Tameka Foster
- 5 Amber Portwood
- 6 Rich Homie Quan
- 7 Britney Spears
- 8 John Barrymore & Jaid Barrymore
- 9 Pilar Sanders
- 10 Leah Messer
- 11 Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith
- 12 Siohvaughn Funches Wade
- 13 Courtney Love
- 14 Tamika Fuller
- 15 Robin Thicke
- 16 Lisa Marie Presley & Michael Lockwood
- 17 Halle Berry
- 18 Adam Levine
- 19 Nick Cannon & Mariah Carey
- 20 Jenelle Evans
- 21 Paul Nassif
- 22 Mimi Faust
- 23 Tarek El Moussa & Christina Anstead
- 24 Chris Brown
- 25 Kris Jenner
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