Angelina Jolie, Vanessa Bryant, & More Celebrity Parents Who Talked About Their Kids Going to College
College is a big deal, for both the kiddos going and parents sending them off. It’s a major step for everyone involved, and it signals a change. Maybe you prepared for it, maybe you didn’t, but when it happens, you quickly realize nothing can really prepare you for those emotions.
Like we said: it’s a big deal to go to college; and it’s something to celebrate! And while we know so many parents are so proud of their collegiate kids, we know they’re feeling all the emotions as they get one step closer to the “empty nest’ syndrome.
Now with celebrity kids, so many of them decide to follow in their parents’ footsteps, whether it be with acting, singing, modeling, or a variety of entertainment professions. However, just as many, if not more, celebrity kids decide to go the more academic route and attend university.
From touching Instagram posts to vulnerable interviews soon after they dropped them off, these celebrities are sharing all the emotions that come with dropping off your kid to college. Check out the few (of many) celebrities who’ve talked about their kiddos going off to college and starting off the next chapter of their lives.
See the top celebs below:
Kelly Ripa has spoken multiple times about how she and Mark Consuelos’s three children have been college-bound, with their youngest being the most recent one to go to college. In a previous episode of Live, per Hello, she talked about how their youngest Joaquin worked so hard to get into college.
“Joaquin is trying to decide on a college right now and he has a lot of options,” she said. “Mark and I were Facetiming the other night, and you’ll be surprised to know – because you’re nothing like this at all – Mark got very emotional and choked up and said, ‘I never thought he would be able to go to college,’ because he was profoundly dyslexic and dysgraphic.”
Joaquin is attending Michigan State University, and as for his older siblings: his older brother Michael attended New York University, per EOnline, and Lola also attended New York University, per People.
When Angelina Jolie’s eldest daughter Zahara decided to go to Spellman College, she was her biggest supporter (much like how she is with all of her kids)! She was seen dancing during parents day, getting her daughter all ready, and even getting misty-eyed as her little girl went onto the next step in life!
Back in Aug 2021, Vanessa Bryant shared a series of photos of her eldest daughter Natalia going to start school at University of Southern California. “Today was rough. This was before the tears came down. Missing ✌?forever. I love you @nataliabryant BE EPIC and FIGHT ON.” According to the USC website, “Fight On” is the school’s battle song, and you can see the photos here!
Soon after Heidi Klum’s daughter Leni announced she was going to college, Heidi went on the Today show to say how proud she is. “She’s moving to the Big Apple. It’s kind of my first stomping grounds, so I feel like she’s doing it all over again. I’m so proud of her!”
Brooke Shields shared every emotion she felt as she sent her daughter Rowan into her college dorm. She wrote; “My unique and extraordinary baby girl spreading her wings. I love you so. We are so proud of you.” She added, “This was the saddest drive away from anywhere I’ve ever had to make. But my baby is BEGINNING one of the most important adventures of her life to date…NOW!”
She posted another tribute again in 2022, per Page Six.
Rowan attends Wake Forest University, and Shields’ two other children aren’t attending college yet.
Candace Cameron Bure
Back in 2021, Candace Cameron Bure was feeling all the emotions as she sent her lookalike daughter Natasha off to college. She wrote on Instagram, “College bound!!! I’m so excited for him, although as his mama, and him being the baby, I’m so ?. Go @maksim.bure Go!! Be great for God!!”
Bure also shouted out her sons when they went to college; like when Lev Valerievich Bure graduated with a degree in Biblical and Theological Studies and when Maksim Valerievich Bure enrolled at Liberty University, per People.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Back in 2021, Sarah Jessica Parker shared a poem alongside photos of her son James starting his first year at Brown University. She shared the photos with the caption reading, “In the span of 7 days. One crosses the threshold into his freshman year of college. The other 2 into 7th grade. The house is different. We are different. They need us more. And far less. So many know. Gutted at the time passed. Passing. Exhilarated by the possibilities that await them. The love. The love. The love. X, SJ.”
Both Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas’ children Dylan and Carys are Brown University alums or attendees, and Zeta-Jones has talked about how she stays in touch. In a previous interview with ExtraTV, she said: “Facetime isa great thing and we’re on the phone all the time. He’s having such an amazing experience. Of course I miss him, terribly.”
Back in 2019, Dwayne Johnson was so proud when his daughter Simone went off to college at New York University. In an interview soon after, he said on Live with Kelly and Ryan that they have an “awesome relationship” and that “she earned it.”
Before Teresa Giudice’s daughter Gia went to Rutgers University to study criminal justice, she revealed to People how they stayed in communication.
“You’re always going to worry, but you have to tell them to always communicate with you because they’ll be living on their own,” she said. “I would check in with her all the time,” she says. “She would always check in with me, because she’s that type of kid.”
And of course, she posted major updates on her social media along the way like any proud parent would!
Reese Witherspoon’s two children with Ryan Phillippe named Ava and Deacon both attend college with Ava going to U.C. Berkeley. In a previous interview with People, she talked about how proud she is if her kids’ success and choice to go to college, saying, “It means you did your job right. And I’m so proud of my kids. They’re thriving in the world and I’m so happy for them.”
Barack & Michelle Obama
Former US President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s daughters both went off to college: Malia attended Harvard University, and Sasha attended University of Michigan.
In a previous interview with TODAY, Michelle Obama revealed that she cried while dropping off her daughters. “There were. We were really good about it, you know, we didn’t want to embarrass her because she had roommates,” she said. “When we got into a car … and then Sasha drove off on her own and said that last goodbye, that’s when we were like (crying noises).”
Ree Drummond and her husband Ladd Drummond have five kids named Alex, who attended Texas A&M University, Paige, who attended the University of Arkansas, Bryce, who attended the University of North Texas, Todd, who attended the University of South Dakota, and Jamar, who attends the University of Central Oklahoma.
Drummond Has been open about everything that comes with being a parent of college kids, from the emotional Instagram posts after sending them off, to the empty nest activities she and Ladd did when their youngest Was preparing for University.
She even said to People that when her daughters were off to college, “There was an immediate difference in the culture of our house.”
Laura Dern shouted out her daughter Jaya Harper ahead of her attending New York University on a sweet Instagram post, saying, “The most amazing milestone to experience. My baby graduated high school. Thank you @newroadsschool for being an extraordinary space that honors social justice as a core to curriculum and growing empathy. A true and diverse representative community. Thank you to all the teachers and administration for your profound gifts and influence. Jaya. I’m so proud of you and your incredible heart and voice. I’m in awe of you.’
Chip & Joanna Gaines
When Chip and Joanna Gaines’ son Drake decided to go to college, Joanna talked about it in a touching essay for the Magnolia Journal per People, saying, “Soon, our oldest son, Drake, will be leaving home for college,” the mom of five wrote. “In the grand scheme of heartbreaking things, this one comes with a lot of gratitude and excitement. But still, my first child is moving away, and our family dynamic will change because of it, and that can feel like a loss of its own.”
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