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Why Celebrity Grandparents Are Different

Many Are Stepgrandparents, Long-Distance Grandparents


Grandmother Whoopi Goldberg and her granddaughter Amarah Skye Martin enjoy an outing in 2008.

Whoopi Goldberg and her granddaughter Amarah Skye Martin enjoy an outing.

Photo © Amy Sussman / Getty Harrison Ford is another star who is grandparenting one generation and parenting another.

Harrison Ford is another star who is grandparenting one generation and parenting another.

Photo © Junko Kimura | Getty Images Pierce Brosnan Is a Stepgrandfather

Pierce Brosnan Is a stepgrandfather who considers himself a grandfather.

Photo © Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote, "The rich are different from you and me." You might wonder if celebrity grandparents are different from you and me. The answer is: It depends. In several significant ways they are different. In loving their grandchildren, they are probably very much like other grandparents. There are, of course, no carefully calibrated statistics about celebrity grandparents. Probably sources would disagree about what constitutes a celebrity grandparent. But here are some general impressions gleaned from researching the topic.

Celebrity Grandparents May Be Older

Many celebrity grandparents did not marry and reproduce at a young age, because they were busy with their education and careers. The average age for American grandparents is 47, but in the field of celebrity grandparents, 47 is quite young, with Whoopi Goldberg, a grandmother at 34, serving as a notable exception.

Many Celebrities Are Stepgrandparents

Because serial marriages are even more common among celebrities than they are among regular folk, many celebrity grandparents are stepgrandparents. Some celebrity grandparents are so close to their stepchildren that they consider themselves grandparents rather than stepgrandparents when their stepchildren reproduce. The age of the children when the stepparent came into their lives can be an important factor, as can be the presence or absence of the biological parent. Both Pierce Brosnan and Kiefer Sutherland consider themselves grandfathers although they are technically stepgrandfathers.

Many Celebrities Are Simultaneously Parenting and Grandparenting

Because many celebrities engage in serial marriages and because there are many May-December unions, it is not uncommon for celebrities to have children and grandchildren who are very close to the same age. Those in this boat include Harrison Ford, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Harrison Ford and Pierce Brosnan.

Celebrity Grandparents Are Frequently Far Away

With celebrity parents' globe-trotting ways, celebrity grandparents frequently find themselves half a world away. Sometimes they have to adapt to being long-distance grandparents. Sometimes they are invited along for the ride. Then we have the case of Marian Robinson, who was invited along on her grandchildren's adventure--living in the White House.

Celebrities Spend More Money Than You and I

Do little boys' True Religion jeans at $150 fit your budget? Would you pay $50 for a Burberry infant polo shirt? Would you drop $1450 on a Gucci leather bomber jacket for a young man who is still years away from shaving? If your answer is no, then you are different from many celebrity grandparents. To be fair, with paparazzi everywhere, celebrity parents know that their kids are constantly in the public eye. They want them to look their best, and I'm sure that celebrity grandparents are contributors to the cause.

Drop in on some celebrity grandmothers and celebrity grandfathers.

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