Why Isabella Cruise doesn’t have to be grateful (or invite her parents to her wedding).

Another day, another celeb story.

And this time, in the Daily Mail (Britain’s guilty pleasure… think of it like the National Enquirer but with a veneer of respectability, when really everyone knows it’s trash) – the wedding of Isabella Cruise, daughter of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

Wait, I missed out a word.

ADOPTED daughter of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

Because if you’re adopted, you’re not allowed to ever be referred to as someone’s son or daughter. You always need to be qualified, because what if someone thought you were their real son or daughter? It’s not like she was brought up by those parents from a baby or anything… She’ll always be adopted. And she should never forget that. (*Sarcasm)

Here’s Isabella on her wedding day…

Via the Daily Mail

So here’s the thing with Isabella (and to a lesser degree, Connor – Cruise/Kidman’s other adopted child). She doesn’t look like Tom or Nicole. She isn’t a movie star. Some might say she’s homely. (I think all brides look beautiful on their wedding day… I think if you look at her here, she looks happy and glowing and not someone who cares about whether she looks like a movie star or not. More to the point – why should she?) Point is, adopted children don’t look like their parents. And if your parents are movie stars, praised for their looks – well, I’m sure that’s going to be tricky to deal with.

Here are Isabella and her new husband, Max Parker, an IT Consultant (not an actor or a celebrity!) and their friends at their wedding.

Via the Daily Mail

It looks like fun. They look happy. They look like normal people hanging out in London. They’ve got bubbly, they’ve got friends… What more do they need?

Oh… According to the Daily Mail – they need Isabella’s celebrity parents.

Specifically her mum, Nicole Kidman. But also her dad, Tom Cruise, with whom she grew up. And her [adopted] brother, Connor.

What an ungrateful adoptee, the narrative goes. After all they’ve done for her. How dare she?

This whole narrative gets my goat on several different levels.

  1. It’s not up to you or me or the Daily Mail whether Isabella invited her parents or not. Just like the endless debates on wedding forums around whether to invite children or not (I’ve been there… lolz) there is no imperative for inviting your parents or doing your wedding a certain way. Quite frankly, the only thing you need at a wedding are the two prospective spouses of any gender, an officiant and a couple of witnesses. The rest is up to you. A marriage is between two people. A wedding needs about five, minimum. More if you want to do more, but it’s your wedding which means it’s up to you.
  2. I don’t think anyone could blame a bride for not wanting to be upstaged by someone else on the day, particularly if that person happens to be your movie star universally-acknowledged-as-beautiful mum. Regardless of how neo-feminist you might be, I reckon most people would like their wedding day to be about them, rather than about their famous beautiful parent(s) and how not-as-attractive you are in comparison. I can totally see why they wouldn’t want what looks like a very small, intimate wedding to be overshadowed by papparazzi trying to get a shot of Tom and Nicole. The whole thing would be a media circus, and the DM are just mad that they managed to sneak this under the radar without inviting them. (Without inviting the media who have previously been extremely critical of Isabella’s looks… I mean, why wouldn’t she invite them, indeed?)
  3. Tom and Nicole are divorced and not on good terms. It’s bad enough trying to arrange a wedding with parents who are separated without adding the whole celebrity thing into the mix. The reports say that Tom stumped up for the wedding, and that Nicole had dinner with the couple before the wedding. They weren’t uninvolved – they just wanted Isabella to have her own day with Max. And that’s commendable of them.
  4. I don’t believe that children must invite their parents to their weddings. They are adults by the time they get married, and there is no reason to invite them if you don’t want to. Yes, it’s social convention. But there’s no law saying you have to. If you’re estranged, then you don’t have to. If your parents are separated, then people often have to pick which set to invite. And what about step-families? Where do you stop? What I mean is: As I said above, the marriage is between two people – the others are optional.
  5. I don’t believe that adopted children in particular need to be more grateful than bio children. As a person who was adopted – I find it pretty insulting that the majority of the comments are calling Isabella “ungrateful”. The wedding is for the two people getting married, and not for the benefit of anyone else. She doesn’t have to “repay” her parents by having them at her wedding. It’s just weird to think that there’s any type of repayment involved. That’s not how having children works, and it’s not how adopting children works, either.


A selection of the comments regarding Isabella’s perceived lack of gratefulness:

I guess Scientology teaches them not to be grateful for being adopted, cared for, educated, clothed, and fed? How rude.

She seemingly got the golden ticket as far as adoptive children go. Daddy paid for everything, but he’s not invited. She comes off as a total ingrate.

Way to show gratitude….ungrateful mare.

The bride looks dreadful and I think it was very selfish of her to exclude her parents when they have invested so much in her and supported her since she was small. What a way to repay them! Young and selfish. She’ll probably grow up one day and feel bad about what she’s done.

Talk about being disrespectful, ungrateful, selfish and self centered. Horrible human being

This is one VERY SPLIT UP FAMILY, how can you stay away from your sister/daughter’s wedding because you want to keep the wedding “low” key. Who cares about these kids, if you meet her in the friends you will not even recognise who she is. These kids should be grateful they were adopted and given a good rich childhood. This is what happens when people become slaves of religion. Nicole has her won biological kids who loves her unconditionally anywhere

UNGRATEFUL LITTLE KID, How many other A list celebrities get married and they have secrecy surrounding the wedding and venue. EASY COP OUT.

Remind me not to adopt a kid.

Yes it’s the genes. I’ve got a neighbour – had four children two of whom they adopted. They bought them all up the same way – their own genetic children are wonderfully behaved and went to university etc – the two adopted ones got into mischief, didn’t do well at school and one has since become pregnant at 17 and the father’s nowhere to be seen. I would never adopt a child.

Not really Tom & Nicole’s daughter really is it? She’s adopted.


I. Can’t. Even.


Here’s what I think.

When you have children of any provenance, bio or adopted – you take on responsibilities as parents. They include looking after the children, making sure they’re fed, clothed, as healthy as they can be, and that they have somewhere to sleep and they get an education and that they’re loved… Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Nowhere in the giving-birth or adopting or caring for a child is there an obligation for the child to be grateful. Nowhere in all of this is there a greater obligation on that child if he/she was adopted.

It is exactly the same set of obligations for a child who was adopted as for a child who was born to you. (ie None, because as a parent you’re supposed to love unconditionally, and children are largely helpless so shouldn’t be expected to fulfil a lot of obligations just by virtue of being your child. Seriously.)

People generally adopt because they want a child. Either they’re infertile, or they want to give a child a home, or they want to grow their family, or they know someone who can’t care for that child so they take on that responsibility. It is not an entirely selfless act. In many cases, it’s a selfish act (though grounded in the same sort of altruistic, nurturing desire… a human desire, nothing to be ashamed of). People want children, generally. And it’s foolish to pretend that you’d adopt a child if you didn’t want a child!

The child has no choice in being adopted. The child entered no contract to be obligated to the parents, any more than a child born to you entered into a contractual gratefulness obligation. So yes, it’s an honourable thing to adopt a child… but people need to recognise that it is no more honourable than giving birth to a child. Yes, it’s something that you have to work for, and get approved for, and possibly incur a huge amount of expenses for… It’s something you have to want to do. It isn’t an overriding reason for that child to be forever grateful. It’s stepping in as substitute biology… If you have expectations for a bio child’s gratefulness then it would be the same for your adopted child. If you don’t, then ask yourself why you’d have greater expectations for your adopted child. It doesn’t make sense.

An adopted child – he or she has lost something. Their first family, their first opportunity for a life. If they come to you, and you’re nice, and you have enough to look after them, then they are lucky. But they are lucky in the same way as a child born to such parents would be lucky. In the whole scheme of things they’ve already been more unlucky than most children. It’s okay for them to feel some sadness for what they’ve lost. They don’t need to go around feeling lucky or grateful all the time. Really.

Do not ever assume that an adopted child has to be luckier or more grateful than a bio child. All children, all humans who have enough are lucky. And all children, all humans who have enough should be grateful. Regardless of whether they were born or adopted into their lives.


If you’re expecting your biological child to be grateful, you’ll probably be disappointed.

If you’re expecting your adopted child to be grateful, you’ll probably be disappointed.

If you think your job as a parent is to force an obligation of gratefulness on your child, you’ll probably be disappointed.

We get paid to do jobs; we don’t get paid to be carers. Because caring isn’t about you, and it’s not about the cared for person feeling grateful. It’s what makes parents and family different from non-family. It’s the idea that you do this caring and give of yourself without expectation of reward, without expectation of gratefulness.

That is why it is insulting to say that Isabella Cruise is ungrateful, because she was adopted and she didn’t invite her parents to her wedding so she must be a terrible person. Maybe she is; maybe she isn’t. But you’re assuming a whole lot, based merely on the fact that she was once adopted as a baby.

The fact of her having been adopted does not obligate her any more or any less than any other child, adopted or not, to invite her parents to her wedding. By all accounts, she involved her parents – and she got married her way, with her man, and without listening to what the tabloid press and other commentators had to say. Nicole and Tom were probably just as happy for her as any parents would be for their child. And it looks like they respected their child’s wishes for her wedding not to be a media circus. As any parents, adopted or whatnot should – it’s about your child, not you.

Good for her, I say. Congratulations Isabella and Max. Be happy.



    • Nara

      Thanks! I guess it was a bit of a rant but it just really irks me that adopted people are expected to be grateful. It kind of negates the point of adoption if you’re just doing it expecting to be lauded for your charity (which I’m sure the majority of adopting parents are not!).


      • mamajo23

        All of the adopting parents feel like they are more fortunate than anyone else in the relationship so I think it is just the media getting it wrong. I can see why this would totally strike a cord.


      • Nara

        Yes exactly! I’ve never met anyone who did it just for the giggles. They have to go through a fair amount to get to adopt children, so it would seem very odd to then force those kids to feel grateful! All the people I know who’ve adopted are very nice people though so we wouldn’t even think about it!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Aww thanks Courtney. I don’t profess to be an authority on anything… It’s just that articles like this elicit strong feelings in me, and the comments are so insulting as an adopted person! I actually had a good chat with my dad today about adoption and made him realise I’ve been lucky (in a non grateful-adoptee way) to have had supportive parents and not been treated as a second class citizen – he assumed all adopted children had the same treatment as we did! He was confused that anyone wouldn’t be treated as a normal child and human being! 🙂


  1. Pingback: Why Isabella Cruise doesn’t have to be grateful (or invite her parents to her wedding). | All the Sun For You
  2. Arwen

    As ever you write a brilliantly insightful post. Firstly I think she looks gorgeous and happy and I think she is very pretty indeed, not that that matters of course.
    Secondly the Daily FAIL is written and edited by complete morons who can’t tell their arse from a chocolate hobnob.
    Finally. You rock. As ever. Of course NO CHILD, regardless of their provenance needs to ever feel grateful. Absolute kudos to her for doing things her way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Thanks chick! As a Brit I know you know how crappy the DM is! 🙂 I do find it entertaining to read in a trashy way, but the comments are the alarming bit… I’m amazed there are such idiots wandering around the place.
      I do think Isabella looked very happy and lovely. Not my taste of wedding dress but then my point is that it’s none of my business. She doesn’t owe anyone anything! If she and her husband are happy on their wedding day then I really don’t think it matters what the DM think. I find it odd that society thinks otherwise!


  3. elizabetcetera

    Wow! Who can focus on the adoption issue and Daddy Tommy and Mommy Nikki not being invited when the wedding attire is so ugly. These people are going to look back on that photo (not the bride really) and say, “What the hell were we wearing? Why did we think pouchy, pleated, peach pants were a good idea?” Oh, well, looks like they’re having fun … maybe they’re making a mockery of weddings … we’ll never know … just as we’ll never really know why Mum & Dad aren’t there … and who cares because ADOPTION has nothing to do with it!


    • Nara

      Well… It’s not my choice of outfit but then that’s the point, isn’t it? Everyone has the right to pick what they want for their wedding. And as a non celebrity, Isabella deserves just to enjoy her wedding without having it criticised and picked apart by the media. I kind of feel like weddings are off limits – they’re not fashion or public events. They’re private celebrations. And I do stand by what I say – she may look slightly unconventional but she looks happy, and happy to me is attractive.

      And anyway, it doesn’t matter whether I or the DM thinks she’s attractive. Physical beauty is really overrated in the whole scheme of things. I find people I love intensely beautiful. Maybe they aren’t objectively as appealing as I think they are. But to me they are perfect.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. waitingbetweenthelines

    I 100% agree with you and would add that suggesting that adopted children should be grateful is insulting and hurtful and stupid not just to the children (for all the reasons you state), but to the parents as well as it frames the adoptive bond as charity rather than as the deep parental bond that it is. Unfortunately I don’t agree that she looks amazing… A white dress and black stockings don’t do it for me… But no less or more than if she were jo blogs next door.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nara

      Yes! Exactly. And I’m with you on the dress : rights combo… Not my taste, but also, not my wedding! As I said above… I think happiness and niceness makes people appear attractive. And it’s not the biggest deal anyway. Like you say: she’s Jo Bloggs. There’s no reason for any of us to be appraising her attractiveness!


  5. My Perfect Breakdown

    So, I tend to miss most things in life when it comes to celebrities – I just don’t care to follow their lives and not having facebook also means that I miss a lot of this stuff. So, thanks for sharing this because I appreciate hearing the dialog. This topic hits home for me as I am so afraid that people will pressure our future child to feel a certain way about us because we chose to adopt them, and I just don’t want that to be the case.
    As I suspect you know, I am 100% adamant that no child, adopted or not, has to be grateful to their parents. The fact is, many children, adopted or not, shouldn’t be grateful to their parents who maybe didn’t take care of them in the way that I believe all children deserve.


    • Nara

      Well, Isabella isn’t a celebrity… She is a child of a celebrity who didn’t choose that life. So I think it’s unfair for her to be judged on her appearance (as movie stars tend to be) quite aside from the fact that she’s supposed to be grateful! Just my opinion but I bet it would suck to be the daughter of Tom and Nicole. Even if you have a lot of money! I’m happy for her that she’s made herself her own “normal” independent life. And I agree with you that many children have a right not to be grateful!


      • My Perfect Breakdown

        When I said I don’t follow celebrities I do realize Isabella isn’t a celebrity herself, but her parents are and that’s why she became a subject of mass media. I didn’t even touch on the subject of judging her appearance because I don’t think it’s anyone’s business or right to judge. I’m sure some people thought I looked great on my wedding day and other’s didn’t. Heck, I’m sure some people would say the same about me today, and it’s just not something I tend to get hung up on.
        I guess I was just focused on the adoption side of your post.
        I think you make an interesting point about being a child of a celebrity who didn’t choose that life – I think there are so many factors about the lives that children are born into whether they are adopted or not. It sounds like you and I are the same in that the idea of being a celebrity’s child would not be my idea of fun. But I have to say, it also wouldn’t be my idea of fun to be the child of someone who couldn’t afford food or a shelter.


  6. anawnimiss

    Nara, I’m glad you brought this up. I am normally more of a quiet spectator around here, but this one made my see red. It is unbelievably insensitive of people to talk like this.
    In my opinion, whether or not to have/raise children is always a choice that parents make, and it’s not as if they’re doing the kid a favor. Also, a biological child has more to be grateful for because of the trouble his/her parents took to get pregnant, stay pregnant, and give birth. All of this is in addition to the “raising”, which is difficult, to say the least.
    And to all the people who insist Isabella’s dress is unfashionable, all I have to say is – get a life. She likes it, and she doesn’t care if you do, too. Why does it matter what she’s wearing? What business is it of yours anyway?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: #notyouradoptionposterchild | From zero to zygote
  8. Wannabe Mama UK

    Those comments are disgusting! I’m shocked people actually think like that, and that they’re unashamed at expressing such messed up attitudes! Blaming not going to university, or getting pregnant at 17 on being adopted? How stupid!


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