Rosie O’Donnell is both mother and grandmother.
The actress and comedian has welcomed five children since 1995: Parker, 27, Chelsea, 25, Blake, 22, Vivienne, 19, and Dakota, 9.
But between teen drama, public brawls and custody battles, it wasn’t always an easy ride for the star. “My teenagers are a nightmare, they are terrible,” she joked in 2016. “I had four teenagers when I decided to adopt a newborn. You may wonder why. Because I had four teenagers and I had to remind myself that I really love children.”
In 2022, O’Donnell opened its doors to PEOPLE in a vulnerable essay about her youngest daughter’s autism diagnosiswriting, “Dakota’s autism forces me to see the world from a very different place. She is a gift from another dimension. … To be able to see the world as she does – for me it has been a wonderful magical experience. I’m so glad we have each other.”
Here’s everything you need to know about the O’Donnell family.
Parker Years O’Donnell, 27
O’Donnell adopted her first child, Parker O’Donnell, in 1995. He was born on May 25, 1995. The comedian was initially a single mother to Parker, but her ex-wife Kelli Carpenter later also became his legal parent.
Parker enrolled in the Valley Forge Military Academy and is currently in the Marines. “How do you annoy your leftist, liberal, pacifist mother? You become a great soldier,” she joked. The view in 2014.
He is also a devoted partner to his longtime love, Hannah. In October 2021, O’Donnell a sweet photo shared from the couple with the caption, “happy 7th birthday to parker n hannah #kidsgrownup.”
Chelsea Belle O’Donnell, 25
Chelsea Belle O’Donnell was born on September 20, 1997 and was adopted as a baby by O’Donnell and Carpenter. Though they seem to have reconnected, The view Alum and her eldest daughter have not always had the easiest of relationships, as they were estranged during Chelsea’s teenage years and early adulthood.
In August 2015, O’Donnell announced: Chelsea was missing from their home in New York. She was found a week later and then moved to Wisconsin to live with her biological mother, Deanna Micoley. “Chelsea made the decision when she turned 18 that she wanted to go to her birth mother. This was her choice,” O’Donnell’s publicist Cindi Berger told PEOPLE.
although a representative of O’Donnell told PEOPLE at the time when the situation was “heartbreaking on every level,” the comedian insisted her wish for her family was one for “love and peace.”
In 2017, Chelsea sat down for an on-air interview with Inside edition alongside her then-husband Nick Alliegro. “Growing up, I never really got along with her and when she kicked me out, I was just kinda done,” she said. “I miss the rest of my family very much, but I think there is some much needed space between me and Rosie. It was nice to have that,” she added.
Next year, O’Donnell and Chelsea are back in touch about Chelsea’s pregnancy. After Chelsea’s friend Jacob Bourassa shared a photo of the ultrasound on Facebook, an O’Donnell representative told PEOPLE: “Yes, she’s pregnant. We’re back in touch.”
Chelsea gave birth to a daughter, Skylar Rosein December 2018. The comedian was overjoyed to be a grandparent for the first time, tweet“My daughter chels – Jake – and Skylar rose my first grandchild !!! #love #life #NANA,” along with a photo of Chelsea and Skylar in the hospital.
“It was something very beautiful,” O’Donnell said I was going to be a grandma. “It’s very banal, but it’s what everyone says – when you’re a grandparent it’s like [having] a baby times a million. And that’s how it felt.”
In 2018, the star candid about her relationship with her daughter On The conversationsaying, “I think my relationship with my daughter, Chelsea, (the relationship that was tested made it stronger) because we’ve been through some really public hard times. She’s doing better now and we’re both communicating with each other. When someone does something unforgivable for you and you can forgive them and they can forgive you, there’s a kind of grace that descends on both of you in there.”
Blake Christopher O’Donnell, 22 years
Blake, the youngest boy in the O’Donnell group, keeps his life very private. Born on December 5, 1999, he was the third child O’Donnell and Carpenter adopted together during their relationship.
Dropped my boy off at college. Hard to believe, she tweeted in 2018, when he attended Marist College in New York. A year later, O’Donnell told the sweet story of when Blake first watched her 1992 film A competition of its own: “My son was at a party and he comes home and says, ‘Mom, I saw you on TV. You were at a baseball game and you were a teenager,'” she said. shared with Page six. “I’m like, ‘Honey, that was my first movie. I wasn’t a teenager. I was 29 years old.’ ”
Blake rarely appears on his mom’s social media, like this sweet Instagram carousel from August 2021 with his sister Dakota and girlfriend Teresa, who captioned O’Donnell: “we r family #la.”
Vivienne Rose O’Donnell, 19 years old
When Vivienne graduated from high school in 2021 her mother could not contain her pride. “Vivi and Jackie – while Vivi is graduating from hs – hard to believe – I’m so proud of you baby – you are an amazing young woman #vivi #graduation #love,” O’Donnell wrote on Instagram.
Vivienne and her mom share a passion for social media, as O’Donnell revealed they spent time learning TikTok dance during quarantine. “I’m in the middle of a pandemic with a 17-year-old trying to make her happy,” she says told Seth Meyers.
In 2022, Vivienne made headlines after saying her upbringing was not “normal” on TikTok. She told her followers, “I love all these comments about how Rosie kept my life ‘normal.’ No offense, Mom, that never happened. She just didn’t really inform us, for absolutely nothing.”
O’Donnell readily admitted that Vivienne’s childhood was “not normal like all her friends.” In a candid TikTok, the roseanne actress said, “It’s okay, you’re allowed to express your feelings in our family, even if you do it in a funny way online.”
In another TikTokVivienne told the hilarious story of how she realized the family friend she knew as “Mo” was none other than Madonna. “At my birthday parties, this beautiful woman would always come up, and I was like, ‘Yeah, there’s Mo,'” she said. “I never had any idea who the f— she was. … Then I found out it was Madonna all these years.”
Dakota O’Donnell, 9
Less than a year after O’Donnell married her second wife, Michelle Roundsadopted the couple Dakota, who was born on January 5, 2013. “We are pleased to announce the arrival of our daughter Dakota – #withloveandthanks – AMEN,” O’Donnell announced on Twitter.
in 2015, O’Donnell files for divorce van Rounds on the grounds of “an irreparably broken relationship,” according to documents obtained by PEOPLE at the time. Rounds sought custody of Dakota, but then tragically died of suicide in 2017. “I am saddened to hear about this terrible tragedy,” O’Donnell told PEOPLE in a statement. “Mental illness is a very serious issue that affects many families. My thoughts and prayers go out to Michelle’s family, her wife and their child.”
Dakota, the youngest of O’Donnell’s children, is a much sought-after mainstay on Rosie’s social media. In a series of dear TikToks, O’Donnell shared the reason why it’s so important to her to get Dakota out of school.
“You know, I worry a lot about that,” she said of the pick-up time. “I think because my mom died when I was little and my dad, after work, it was hard to get picked up on time. So I have a thing for being picked up on time.”
September 2022, O’Donnell wrote an emotional essay for PEOPLE and for the first time candid about Dakota’s autism diagnosis.
“I didn’t want Dakota to be ashamed of her diagnosis,” O’Donnell wrote. “I told her from the start that autism is her superpower.”
She added: “I’m learning to have a much deeper compassion than I’ve ever done before. Really listening and communicating in a way I’ve never had to do with my other children. The sense of vulnerability that comes with having a child with autism has been a gift to me, she teaches me.”
The comedian also recalled the moment Dakota asked her to meet her birth mother. “We’re in touch, so Dakota gets FaceTime and says, ‘Are you the lady in whose belly I was? I just wanted to let you know I’m the kid that was in there, and when I was born, my mom held me and I squeezed her little finger, and I’m with her. So I just want you to know that that happened to me. Bye,'” O’Donnell recalled.
“I was in tears, as was her birth mother,” she wrote. “That’s a pretty intense, complex, emotional thing for a little girl to put together.” Speaking of all her children, O’Donnell added, “I think about the birth mothers every day.”