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…
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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?)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.