Mental Floss

5 Reasons Jamie Lynn's Kid might have a Chance

Stefanie Fontanez
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Yesterday, a tabloid addicted world oohed and aahed as Britney's kid sister, the 17-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Well, there was more oohing than aahing. And while some are using the opportunity to point out the scary statistics and difficulties that accompany teen motherhood (and/or being born into the Spears family), we're trying to look at the bright side. Here are five people, born to teenage moms, who did just fine.

1. Jackie Joyner-Kersee

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Joyner-Kersee went on to attend UCLA and in 1984 she won her first Olympic medal, in the heptathlon. She spent the next 18 years winning medals (three gold, one silver, two bronze) and setting and breaking world records. She retired in 2001, her place in history solidified as the first lady of track and field.

2. Jack Nicholson

The three-time Oscar winner was raised by his grandparents, and told that his mother was his older sister. In 1936, June Nicholson, a 17-year-old showgirl, was pregnant and in love with a 27-year-old man who was separated but still legally married. Nicholson's grandparents decided to raise Jack as their own.

Nicholson only learned the truth in 1975.

A Time reporter working on a cover story stumbled across the true nature of Jack's birth and called him with the stunning news. By the time he figured it out, both June and his grandmother had passed away, taking with them the secret that they hid for nearly 40 years.

3. Daunte Culpepper

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4. Bob Marley

In 1945, the prolific artist credited with bringing reggae to the world was born to a teenage black Jamaican mother and a white Jamaican father in the village of Nine Mile. At the age of 10, Marley's father died of a heart attack and the family was forced to move to the slums of Trenchtown. Bob quickly found his niche, making friends with musicians in the area; he spent his time recording and would soon form the group that would later become The Wailers.

Bob spread his message of love, peace and music in Jamaica before becoming an international sensation in the mid-seventies. It was then that a soccer injury would lead doctors to find a cancerous tumor in Marley's toe. They suggested amputation, but as a devout Rastafarian, it was out of the question for Bob. The cancer spread and Marley succumbed to the disease in 1980. Earlier this year, Martin Scorsese announced plans to produce a documentary on the well-loved singer to be released on February 6th, 2010—the date that would have been Bob's 65th birthday.

5. Eric Clapton

The three-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee (The Yardbirds, Cream & solo) was born in 1945 in Surrey, England. His mother was 16; his father was a 24-year-old Canadian soldier. Like Nicholson, Clapton's grandparents decided to raise the child as their own, telling Eric that his mother was actually his older sister. Clapton, however, learned the truth when he was nine. He searched for his biological father for years, eventually learning the true identity (and news of his death) from a Canadian journalist. As for Clapton's father, who died in 1985, he never knew that the famed music legend was his son.

Stefanie Fontanez is an occasional contributor to mental_floss.

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