The 15 wildest celebrity parenting controversies of 2022
Between baby news, divorces and social media dustups, celebrity parents faced plenty of scrutiny and strong feedback this year.
The Kardashians made headlines again and again, Nick Cannon kept growing his family, and moms like Coco Austin and Megan Fox were shamed for silly reasons — and fired back.
These are the most controversial stories involving celebrity moms and dads in 2022.
1. Coco Austin bathed her daughter in the sink and the internet was incensed
In September, Coco Austin shared an Instagram video of her daughter Chanel, then 6, taking a bath in the kitchen sink. “The sink is easiest when you have to be fast,” wrote the wife of rapper Ice-T.
The internet parenting trolls immediately pounced.
"She's not a baby anymore!" and "She's definitely old enough to bathe herself" were just a few of the comments.
Later, Austin, 43, tweeted, "Wow, just wow! Here we go again! Giving my lil' girl a bath in the sink went viral? SMH!"
"People, you gotta know by now that I’m an unconventional mother," she added. "I do what works and is easier on me. Some may want to take some pointers rather than rag on me!"
Austin has put up with her share of internet criticism, notably for pushing Chanel in a stroller, breastfeeding Chanel at age 5 and giving the girl nail tips for a "special occasion."
2. Nick Cannon expanded his family even more
Nick Cannon's family kept growing!
This year, "The Masked Singer" host and father of 12 welcomed a few more babies to his family: Halo Marie with Alyssa Scott, Legendary with model Bre Tiesi, Onyx Ice Cole with film producer LaNisha Cole, Rise with Brittany Bell, and Beautiful Zeppelin with Abby De La Rosa.
In November, it was revealed that Cannon and Alyssa Scott (whose son Zen died in 2021 after a brain cancer diagnosis) were expecting a second baby together. Their daughter Halo was born on Dec. 14. In her Dec. 29 baby announcement, Scott honored Zen.
"Our lives are forever changed. Zen is in every breath I take," Scott captioned her birth video. "I know his spirit was with us in the room that morning. I know he is watching down on us. He shows me signs everyday. I will hold onto this memory forever."
Cannon also shares twins Monroe and Moroccan (born in 2011) with Mariah Carey; Golden (2017), Powerful Queen (2020) and twins Zion Mixolydian and Zillion Heir (2021) with Abby De La Rosa.
3. Kourtney Kardashian ignited a french fry frenzy
Wellness queen Kourtney Kardashian stirred controversy in September when telling the Wall Street Journal that her son, whom the outlet indicated was 12-year-old Mason Disick, hadn't eaten french fries in one year.
"Today I was having my one-on-one time with my son [Mason] and he said, 'Mom, I need McDonald’s french fries today, please. It’s been a year since I’ve had it,'" the reality star, 43, told the outlet. "I was like, 'Today’s not the day, sorry.'"
After Kardashian was called a controlling parent on social media, she clarified her quote during a Vogue interview.
"It wasn’t Mason,” she told the outlet. “I want to clear that up here, with you. It was Reign, my 7-year-old. We make french fries at home. ... I was like, 'This is so annoying; this is why I don’t like doing interviews.' Other outlets then twist it and make it into something else."
"We’re a french fry–loving family, to clear that up," Kardashian added. "We love french fries; we go to restaurants that have fries. Just McDonald’s specifically. I love to avoid fast food when we can."
Married to Travis Barker, Kardashian shares Mason, daughter Penelope, 10, and son Reign, now 8, with her ex-partner, Scott Disick.
4. Tom Brady apologized for comparing football retirement to military deployment
The NFL quarterback was mocked for likening the demands of his football career to serving in the military.
"I almost look at like a football season like you’re going away on deployment in the military, and it’s like, man, here I go again," Brady, a father of three, remarked while co-hosting an October episode of his SiriusXM podcast “Let’s Go!”
"As much as you want to have this playful balance with the work balance, you’re going to end up doing exactly what you’ve always done, which is why you are who you are," continued Brady, who plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Afterward, Brady apologized in a press conference.
"Earlier this week I made a statement about playing football and the military. It was a very poor choice of words,” he said. “I just want to express that to any sentiments out there that people may have taken in a certain way, so I apologize.”
In October, Brady and his supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen divorced. Earlier this year, the former couple celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary.
5. A dad crowd-surfed his baby during a Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson event
A baby girl named Luciana captured Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson's heart in October event during a "Black Adam" event in Mexico City when her father crowd-surfed the infant to the stage.
"Our BLACK ADAM Tour has been electric, fun and emotional," Johnson, 50, wrote on Instagram. "People do cry and they hand me things — I was NOT surprised to be handed this beautiful little baby."
A video shared by Johnson showed the crowd handing off the girl to Johnson. The act sparked claims that the father, whose name wasn't made public, endangered his child; others said the stunt was harmless fun.
"Her father caught my attention because he had tears in his eyes when he held her up high and gestured for me to hold her," Johnson captioned his video. "I honestly thought he was holding a toy doll he wanted me to have as a gift.”
“This beautiful, serene, present and trusting angel is Luciana,” he wrote. “One day, I bet she’ll inspire all those around her."
6. Kylie Jenner announced — then changed — her baby son's name (and we still don't know it)
In February, Kylie Jenner announced that she and rapper Travis Scott welcomed their second baby, whom they called Wolf Webster.
The next month, Jenner startled fans with an announcement.
"FYI our son’s name isn’t Wolf anymore," the 25-year-old makeup mogul wrote on her Instagram story. "We just really didn’t feel like it was him. Just wanted to share because I keep seeing Wolf everywhere.”
As of December, Jenner and Scott, who share 4-year-old daughter Stormi, have not yet revealed their son's new name.
"We haven’t officially legally changed the name," Jenner told James Corden in September. "His name is still Wolf. His passport’s Wolf, but that isn’t going be his name. We’re just waiting."
Jenner said the couple favor one name, but "we're just not ready to share yet."
7. Alicia Silverstone defended co-sleeping with her 11-year-old son
"Clueless" star Alicia Silverstone came under fire in July when she said she co-sleeps with her 11-year-old son.
"Bear and I still sleep together," she revealed on The Ellen Fisher Podcast. "I’ll be in trouble for saying that, but I don't really care."
As the self-described "natural mama" explained, "If you were in any kind of wild setting where there are animals, if you put your baby over there, your baby is going to get eaten. So it’s not ideal for the baby to be over there."
In 2020, Silverstone, who shares Bear with ex-husband Christopher Jarecki, told TODAY.com of their sleeping arrangement: "We’ll wake up and snuggle for two or three hours laughing and talking. Then we’ll go make pancakes."
8. Josh Duggar was sentenced to federal prison for sex abuse crimes
In May, former "19 Kids and Counting" star Josh Duggar was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison after he "repeatedly downloaded and viewed images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children," according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In December, Duggar convicted of receipt and possession of child pornography. He pleaded not guilty in 2021.
Duggar and his wife, Anna Duggar, who wed in 2008, welcomed their seventh child in November 2021.
The conservative Christian family, including Josh, his 18 siblings and their parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, starred on the TLC reality television series from 2008 to 2015.
The television show was canceled following claims that Josh Duggar molested underage girls, including some of his sisters, in 2002.
“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret," Josh Duggar said in a 2015 statement posted on the family's official Facebook page. "I hurt others, including my family and close friends."
9. Khloé Kardashian and Tristan Thompson had a second baby, following cheating scandal
Khloé Kardashian and NBA star Tristan Thompson welcomed a son through surrogacy in July, following the 2018 birth of daughter True. Thompson also has a young son named Prince from a past relationship.
As told on Hulu's "The Kardashians," the surrogate pregnancy was already under way when the reality star learned that her on-again, off-again partner had gotten another woman pregnant.
"We can confirm True will have a sibling who was conceived in November. Khloé is incredibly grateful to the extraordinary surrogate for such a beautiful blessing,” a spokesperson for Kardashian told TODAY.com in June. "We’d like to ask for kindness and privacy so that Khloé can focus on her family."
In January, Thompson apologized to Kardashian after a paternity test proved he conceived a child with fitness model Maralee Nichols.
"Khloé, you don’t deserve this," he wrote on Instagram. "You don’t deserve the heartache and humiliation I have caused you. You don’t deserve the way I have treated you over the years.
"My actions certainly have not lined up with the way I view you," he continued. "I have the utmost respect and love for you. Regardless of what you may think."
10. Megan Fox clapped back at a fan who asked, 'Where your kids at?'
Actor Megan Fox had words for a follower who wrote, "Where your kids at?" in response to a selfie she shared on Instagram in October with the post text, "Pick me energy."
"Wait wait wait, I...have kids?!?" Fox, 36, responded sarcastically. “Oh my god I knew I forgot something!!
“Quick, someone call the valet at the Beverly Hills hotel. That’s the last place I remember seeing them. Maybe someone turned them into lost and found," added Fox, who shares three kids with her ex-husband, actor Brian Austin Green.
11. Hilary Duff defended a video of her daughter not using a car seat
Back in January, Hilary Duff's friend shared an Instagram video of Duff's then-3-year-old daughter Banks riding in a car, seemingly without a child restraint seat.
Duff was criticized for not securing her daughter. According to car seat experts, children should ride in rear-facing car seats until the minimum age of 2 or until they outgrow the product's height and weight requirements, then transition to a forward-facing seat.
Duff responded to the criticism in a February Romper interview.
"It’s not like I’m driving on the 405 with my kids in the backseat without a car seat. You have no context," she said. "You don’t know where I am."
Duff added, "Do you know how many times I let my kids sit on my front seat once we get [close to our driveway] to pretend like they’re driving home? You’re telling me you’ve never put your kid in the back seat to drive a block before with an adult back there? I’m like, 'Happy New Year to you, too.'"
12. Chris Pratt revealed that backlash to his 'healthy daughter' comments made him cry
In June 2022, Chris Pratt said backlash toward his November 2021 Instagram post — intended to celebrate his wife Katherine Schwarzenegger and their infant daughter, Lyla — made him cry.
In the tribute, the "Jurassic World" star said of Schwarzenegger, "She’s given me an amazing life, a gorgeous healthy daughter..."
Many felt Pratt's comment was insensitive considering that his now 10-year-old son Jack, whom he shares with actor Anna Faris, was born premature and spent the first few weeks of life in the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU).
Pratt spoke out about the situation in a Men’s Health interview.
"A bunch of articles came out and said, 'That’s so cringeworthy. I can’t believe Chris Pratt would thank her for a healthy daughter when his first child was born premature. That’s such a dig at his ex-wife,'" Pratt said.
"And I’m like, That is f----- up. My son’s gonna read that one day. He’s 9. And it’s etched in digital stone. It really f----ing bothered me, dude. I cried about it. I was like, I hate that these blessings in my life are — to the people close to me — a real burden."
13. Britney Spears' ex-husband Kevin Federline criticized her parenting in a tell-all interview
Britney Spears' ex-husband Kevin Federline told ITV News in August that her relationship with their two sons, Sean Preston, 17, and Jayden, 16, was on thin ice.
"The boys have decided that they're not seeing her right now," Federline said in the interview. "It's been a few months since they've actually even seen her — they've made the decision not to go to her wedding."
Spears and fitness trainer Sam Asghari wed in June 2022. She was married to Federline from 2004 to 2007.
Federline also told ITV that Spears' videos made their sons uncomfortable.
“I apologize for them, to them, for them because I can’t imagine how it feels to be a teenager, having to go to high school,” he told the station. “Who knows how many people ask them about it or talk to them about it?"
Spears responded to Federline on Instagram: "It saddens me to hear that my ex-husband has decided to discuss the relationship between me and my children ... Only one word: HURTFUL ..."
In September, Jayden told ITV that he hopes to reconnect with his mom. "I 100% think it can be fixed, of course," he said. "It’s just going to take a lot of time and effort but I really want to see her again."
14. Kanye West accused Kim Kardashian of allowing nannies and 'cameras' to raise their children
This year, Kanye West and The Game released a song called "Eazy" containing lyrics suggesting that "cameras" and "nannies" supervise West's children, North, 9, Saint, 7, Chicago, 4, and Psalm, 3, whom he shares with Kim Kardashian.
A "source close to the Kardashians" told People the claims were a "low blow" for West, adding, "A lot of her friends don’t think it was right either."
The source continued of Kardashian, "Of course she has nannies. She has four kids. Kim is living her life. She’s juggling her career, her dating life."
In March, a judge declared Kardashian, 42, legally single. And in late November, Kardashian and West settled their divorce almost two years after filing.
On Dec. 26, 2022, Kardashian broke down in tears while discussing how hard it is to co-parent with West.
“No matter what we are going through, I have to have that smile on my face and blast his music and sing along with my kids,” Kardashian told Angie Martinez, host of the “Angie Martinez IRL” podcast. “(I can) act like nothing is wrong and as soon as I drop them off, I can have a good cry.”
15. Jessie James Decker defended her children's bodies
In November, an Instagram photo of country singer Jessie James Decker's children wearing bathing suits made people gossip.
In response to a follower who said Vivianne Rose, 8, Eric Jr., 7, and Forrest, 4, were too muscular and their "ripped" bodies require "a special kind of diet and exercise" which "looks strange on a child," Jessie wrote:
“From one mother to another. Please don’t call my children’s appearance strange just because they don’t look the way you think they should? It’s unkind.”
Later, the mom wrote on Instagram that the reaction was “bonkers” and that her children were just “being silly flexing on the beach.”
“We preach about body positivity and acceptance but my kids having a mass amount of genetic and built muscle from athletics is ‘weird’?" she wrote, adding: "Let’s not pick and choose what we normalize regarding bodies and be accepting of all people and children.”
This article was originally published on TODAY.com