We countdown 17 of the most influential and visible teenage mothers of recent years.
#17 Carol McCormick
Though Carol may not get much screen time on South Park, she does wear a funny t-shirt. That not enough? OK, she birthed Kenny, he of many deaths, a victim of innumerable poverty jokes, and a man who speaks audibly very rarely, when she was only thirteen. Carol, a loving mother, has yet to be able to rise up out of the poor South Park neighborhood in which she and her family lives.
#16 Novalee Nation
Novalee Nation sounds like a fairy tale, or some stupid sports fan association. It is neither. It is a name. In 2000, Natalie Portman starred in a film called Where the Heart Is, in which she played a teen by the name of Novalee Nation. In the film, Novalee gets knocked up, left on the side of the road by her boyfriend, and ends up living in a Wal-Mart. This, once again, proves that Wal-Mart is both the best and worst thing America has to offer.
#15 Cheyenne Hart-Montgomery
Before Joanna Garcia was Privileged, she was a little bit more country and a little bit more promiscuous. As Cheyenne Hart-Montgomery on Reba, Garcia showed that 17-year-olds can get impregnated by the star high school football player at age 17, and still make bad jokes that induce a laugh track. Added bonus – baby daddy is a guy called Van, which makes the Palin children’s names look creative (Aw snap!).
#14 Emily Annabeth Locke
In one of the oddest teen pregnancies ever told on TV, Emily Annabeth Locke gave birth to her son at the age of 16 after being hit by a car. She was only 6 months pregnant, though her premature baby ended up turning into an often-psychotic bald-headed hunter-gatherer named John Locke. Since giving birth, Emily has been hospitalized often for schizophrenia. This would be sad if she weren’t a fictional character on Lost.
#13 Theresa Diaz
Theresa Diaz, as played by one Navi Rawat, holds a great deal of sway over the brooding man-child Ryan Atwood. Former lovers on The OC, Diaz keeps Ryan’s baby a secret from him. Still in high school, knowing Ryan would want to help with it, Theresa makes up a lie, forces Ryan away, then has the baby on her own. Right decision, wrong decision, Navi Rawat is still Navi Rawat. It’s a cooler name than yours.
#12 Danielle Van de Kamp
Danielle Van de Kamp has a long name and a longer list of annoying teenage transgressions. Her parenting unit on Desperate Housewives had their hands full with Danielle (you know, typical stuff, like bedding the history teacher at school) , and that was before she got pregnant following random sex with a guy named Austin. Sent to a convent as punishment, Danielle is now happily married to a lawyer. See how awesome things can work out on TV.
#11 Tess Harding
Tess Harding was a hated character on a little watched, yet loyally beloved showed called Roswell. Tess was mostly featured in that series’ first season. She was an alien, a relatively evil one, and she wanted to return to her home planet with the seed of Max (main character). She wins, and got pregnant, and left Earth. Though Tess’s story is not all Mike and Ike’s – upon her return to earth, death awaited her. Ah, the perils of intergalactic, hybrid-human teen pregnancy.
#10 Tracy Clark
Tracy Clark kept a secret from our favorite dad/principal Harry Wilson for decades on 90210. Once a high school item, these two broke up after graduation. Harry was unaware of the baby boy Tracy went on to have (he thought she was merely out of the country during pregnancy). Tracy then waits until Harry comes back to the famed zip code of the show’s title to inform him of this. Tracy is also crazy. The boy was given up for adoption, but is now grown up and poised for a return. Soap operas are fun.
Asia Nitollano went from being a teenage mother at age 16 to making a career as a New York Knicks dancer/cheerleader. Then, unfortunately, she won Pussycat Dolls: The Search for the Next Doll. But, she’ll be back on track in no time, I swear. (Oh, wait – being a member of the Pussycat Dolls is better than being a Knicks dancer? Really? This seems counterintuitive. Usually, the classier the dancing, the better off you are. But, OK, I’ll trust you.)
#8 Amy Juergens
Amy Juergens, one of the major characters on The Secret Life of the American Teenager, got pregnant at age 15 by a guy named Ricky, who plays the drums and was sexually abused as a child by his father (Wait – this show is on ABC Family? What the hell? Has Nickelodeon starting playing re-runs of Oz? Is the Disney Channel airing Tila Tequila marathons now? Remember when the most scandalous plot line in a kids show was whether or not D.J. would feel comfortable wearing a swimsuit at a friend’s party? Those were the days).
#7 Ann Dunham
Ann Dunham is a name that many do not know, though it will be forever remembered in the pages of history. Ann was the mother of president-elect Barack Obama, a white woman from Kansas who moved to Hawaii and married a man from Kenya. She was a heavy influence on Barack, and that influence will help shape the course of history over the next handful of years. Though she died young, her legacy will live on longer than most.
#6 Haley James Scott
Haley James Scott is a character on One Tree Hill, which means her big life moments are too numerous to list here. She birthed the son of Nathan Scott while in high school. One thing deserves recognition, though – her eventual son, Jamie, likes to wear a cape, and this is OK by Haley and Nathan. Kids everywhere should be allowed to wear capes. I wish I had pictures of a young me wearing a cape. As it stands now, I only have pictures of a young me wearing overalls, suspenders and Ghostbusters regalia.
#5 Fantasia Barrino
Fantasia Barrino’s is a true, wonderful, often sad story. Raped in high school, she dropped out of school. At 17, Fantasia became pregnant, gave birth to a baby girl, and eventually broke up with the father citing physical abuse. None of this held her down, as she went on American Idol season 3, wowed audiences nationwide, and eventually ended up winning the whole thing. Her career has since been steady.
#4 Bristol Palin
Bristol Palin shouldn’t be famous, and I’m guessing she didn’t really want to be (but, in the day of sex tapes and reality TV, who knows), but she is, at least for now. The 17-year-old daughter of Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Bristol became a news sensation when, after her mother was put on the Republican presidential ticket, the story of her pregnancy was unearthed. The baby daddy is a hockey dude who loves to hunt. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2008 Republican Party!
#3 Jamie Lynn Spears
Jamie Lynn Spears is the sister of Britney Spears. Right before Jaime Lynn was knocked up, it looked as if she was the classy sibling. She was the star of a popular Nickelodeon series called Zoey 101, and looked to have a fine career ahead of her. And then, she got pregnant at the age of 16. These things didn’t happen twenty years ago. She sold the rights to her baby pictures to OK Magazine for one million dollars. Paparazzi giveth, and paparazzi taketh away.
#2 Juno MacGuff
Juno MacGuff, the titular character in Diablo Cody’s tale of teenage pregnancy in a Minnesota suburb, is the most adorable pregnant teen the country has ever seen. She talks on a hamburger phone! A hamburger phone, people! You can’t buy that sort of cute-ness. Instead of keeping the baby, she gave it away to Jennifer Garner and started dating Michael Cera. The last we saw of Juno, she was singing a song by The Moldy Peaches and watching the cross-country team run by in slo-mo.
#1 Lorelai Gilmore
Lorelai Gilmore is, quite possibly, the most beloved former pregnant teen in the history of mankind. It helps that she gave birth to Rory Gilmore, quite possibly the most beloved teen mother offspring in the history of the world. The duo’s relationship formed the basis for, quite possibly, the most beloved TV show ever about a teenage mother and her daughter in the history of the universe. Gilmore Girls was awesome.