Being a godparent is a huge responsibility, but getting to play a key role in the lives of your favorite little ones is totally worth it. From giving career advice to teaching their godchildren about makeup, celebrities like Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Elton John are up to the task. Click through to see which other Hollywood A-listers have the exclusive honor of being godparents to fellow celebrities' kids.
Dolly Parton to Miley Cyrus
Country legends Dolly Parton and Billy Ray Cyrus are so close that the "Achy Breaky Heart" singer decided to make Dolly the godmother of his daughter Miley. Despite being a music icon, Dolly is Miley's number one fan, and the feeling is mutual; Miley sang a stunning rendition of "Jolene" (one of her favorite songs) during the 2019 Grammys as a tribute to her godmother.
Both women have a lot in common, from their unique senses of style to their love for country music. And Dolly sees a lot of herself in her goddaughter, having been somewhat of controversial figure herself when she was younger. "Back in the day, doing my own things my own way, and dressing sexy and showing my cleavage and all that, I got a lot of criticism," Dolly shared. "[Miley's] a smart girl. She had to go to extremes to get her point across. I think she got the point across."
Joan Collins to Cara Delevingne
Dame Joan Collins has 13 godchildren in total, but quiet as it's kept, model and actress Cara Delevingne just might be her favorite. Joan has been BFFs with Cara's parents Pandora and Charles for decades and has nothing but fond memories from watching Cara and her three siblings grow up. "Cara was an amazing child," the Dame revealed to Tatler Magazine. "Her favorite expression was ‘mine.’"
When Delavigne told her godmother that she was considering making the jump to acting, the Dynasty star had just one word of advice: Don't. “I said to her—from when she said she wanted to be an actress when she was about 16—I said, ‘You know what Jack Nicholson always said in that movie As Good As It Gets? ‘Just what the world needs: another actress.’’”
Quincy Jones to Nicole Richie
Nicole Richie is no stranger to being in the limelight—her father Lionel Richie is one of the most famous musicians of all time. As if her inner circle couldn't get any more star-studded, superstar producer Quincy Jones is her godfather.
Jones happens to share the honor of being Richie's godfather with the late Michael Jackson. The icons have a long history or working together (Jones was an essential part of Off the Wall, Thriller, and Bad), and they collaborated with Richie for the 1985 charity single "We Are the World."
Steven Spielberg to Drew Barrymore
Steven Spielberg has always been a big deal, and even at age 6, Drew Barrymore knew that she needed to get an audience with him. So she did, telling a few major fibs in order to snag a meeting with the director. The lies—which included being part of a rock band and being a prodigious cook—ultimately landed her a role in the classic film ET.
Barrymore's connection to Spielberg only strengthened when she faced a number of difficulties as a teenager, with the Hollywood heavyweight stepping in as her godfather to help get her back on the straight and narrow.
Steven Spielberg to Gwyneth Paltrow
Additionally, Spielberg is the godfather of Hollywood actress and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow. He is also happens to be the one responsible for giving Paltrow her big break. Here's the story:
"We were driving back from the movie theater, and I was going back to work [on Hook] the next day," said Spielberg. "I was looking in the rear-view mirror and [Gwyneth] was talking about [The Silence of the Lambs] and she had this really frightened look on her face, and it suddenly clicked, and I said, 'Hey, you could be the young Wendy! You could be the young Maggie Smith [who plays her].' ...I turned around and said, 'Do you want to make a movie?' She got a SAG [Screen Actors Guild] card because of it."
Simon Pegg to Apple, Chris Martin's Daughter
Paltrow and her ex Chris Martin chose British actor Simon Pegg to be the godfather to their daughter Apple, and for good reason: he never failed to bring the tastiest treats with him whenever he visited. "They eat anything, believe me,” Pegg joked with PEOPLE Magazine. “I go around there with a bag of éclairs every time I see them. They scoff ’em down, and I don’t even get any.”
The feeling is mutual; Coldplay frontman Martin even dedicated a song to Pegg's daughter Matilda when she was born.
Aretha Franklin to Whitney Houston
Talent attracts talent, and that was certainly the case with Whitney Houston. The singer was a legend in every sense of the word, from her fashions to her fun, bubbly personality to her Grammy-award-winning catalogue. It's no surprise, then, that she made such a strong impact on fellow icon and godmother, Aretha Franklin.
Franklin, who met Houston when she was just a kid, had nothing but fond memories of the late singer. "She knew how to be glamorous and graceful. She had class. She knew where she was going," Franklin wrote about her goddaughter in Rolling Stone after her passing. "It was clear her and her mother both had a similar quality to their voices—the genetics were just unbelievable. Just like her mom, she was one of the great sopranos."
Zach Braff to Donald Faison's Son, Rocco
Not all co-stars are able to translate their on-screen friendships into real life connections, but after meeting on the set of medical comedy Scrubs in 2001, actors Zach Braff and Donald Faison knew they were destined to be friends forever. The pals, who have one the longest running (and possibly the cutest ever) bromances in Hollywood, are super involved in each other's lives; Braff is the godfather of Faison's oldest son, Rocco.
Victor Garber to Violet, Jennifer Garner's Daughter
Remember Alias? The ABC action series featured Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow, the a double agent working for two of the top spy agencies in the world. In the show, Victor Garber played Sydney's father, Jack, and their father-daughter relationship extended to the real world. Garner named her TV-father as the godfather to her daughter Violet.
Years after the end of Alias, Garber and Garner keep in touch and make sure to see each other as often as possible—he's even met her new boyfriend, John Miller! "What’s wonderful is they’re taking their time and they are just enjoying each other’s company," the veteran actor said of Garner's new relationship while talking to Us Weekly. "Her priority is her children, that’s it. She’s focused on that. She’s remarkable.”
Taylor Swift to Jaime King's Son, Leo
Actress Jaime King is known for starring in The CW's Hart of Dixie as Lemon Breeland, but she's also a well-known member of Taylor Swift's girl squad. King publicly announced that Swift would be the godmother to her second child, and the pop star was more than excited to take on the honor of taking care of baby Leo.
Jessica Alba to Jaime King's son, James
King's oldest son James Knight also has a set of famous godparents: Jessica Alba and Topher Grace! For King, mother of three Alba was the perfect choice. "She is such an incredible parent and I chose her because she really showed me what it is like to be a great mom and a great working mom," King said. "It's just so great knowing I have someone that is like a sister that did so much for women and families."
Molly Bernard to Hilary Duff's Daughter, Banks
Younger may be a series about an older woman faking her age to make it big in the publishing world, but there's nothing fake about the sisterhood between Hilary Duff and Molly Bernard. The actresses have formed a bond so strong that, for Bernard, it was only natural that she take up the mantle as the godmother of Duff's daughter Banks.
Bernard shared the brief but charming story of how she got the honors with People. "After [Banks] was born, I was like, ‘Oh, does she have a godmother?’" And just like that, she went to work on her godmother duties, which include teaching her goddaughter the ins and outs of makeup.
Sting to Rocco, Madonna's Son
How ever do you repay the man who introduced you to the father of your son? You make him the godfather, of course! The stars of Madonna and ex Guy Ritchie crossed when Trudie Styler, the wife of rocker Sting, introduced the couple. In 2000, when Madonna and Ritchie's son, Rocco, was born, Madge tasked Sting with the responsibilities of a godparent.
Lady Gaga to Elton John's Son, Zachary
When Elton John and David Furnish's first son Zachary came into the world back in 2010, the choice for godmother was a no-brainer: Lady Gaga. "She's a great role model, she's young, [and] she's been a great godmother to Zachary," Rocketman gushed about Gaga in 2013. "We're all bonkers in this business, but we're human beings at the same time."
Gaga, who connected with John over their love of music as well as their shared flair for all things dramatic. The long-time friends make music together, attend attend award show parties together, and even rock the same outfits from time to time.
Elton John to Victoria & David Beckham's Kids
John himself is a godparent to the children of David and Victoria Beckham, having known the family for almost 30 years. Formerly known as Posh Spice, Beckham credits John for giving her the final push to stop performing as part of the iconic pop group.
"I went to see him in Vegas doing 'The Red Piano', where David LaChapelle curated the most incredible show with him," Posh told Vogue Australia. "And a few nights later, I was on stage at Madison Square Garden with the Spice Girls and I thought, 'It's almost like a waste that I'm given this opportunity. I appreciate the time I've had with the girls, but I don't have what Elton can have after all these years.'"
Hugh Grant to Elizabeth Hurley's Son, Damian
Would you ever make your ex the godparent of your child? No? Probably not—we all can't be Elizabeth Hurley.
Hurley made headlines in the 90s for being the girlfriend of British heartthrob Hugh Grant, but even after they went their separate ways, and Hurley made her own name as an actress and model, the love between the couple maintained. So much so, in fact, that she named her ex the godfather of her son Damian.
If they're still such good friends, why couldn't they work it out? Well, Grant wasn't always the most fun person to be around. "He used to really annoy me, actually," Hurley admitted to Andy Cohen on a 2015 episode of Watch What Happens Live. "I mean, I love him, but he's very annoying."
Jake Gyllenhaal to Heath Ledger & Michelle William's Daughter
The 2005 romantic drama Brokeback Mountain brought Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal together as cowboy lovers on-screen and best buds off-screen. Ledger's partner Michelle Williams also starred in the film, and when their daughter Matilda was born, the couple didn't hesitate to make Gyllenhaal their child's godfather.
When Heath passed away in 2008, Gyllenhaal quickly stepped in to make sure that both Matilda and Michelle would be be okay. The shocking death of the star totally changed Gyllenhaal's perspective towards his career as well as his relationships with his co-stars. "I think losing Heath and being a part of a family that was something like the movie, the movie we all made together, makes you see that, makes you appreciate that, and hopefully moves you away from the things that really don’t matter to the things that do," he told NPR's Terry Gross.
Busy Phillips to Matilda Ledger
In addition to having Jake Gyllenhaal as a godfather, Matilda's godmother is none other than Busy Phillips, the peanut butter to Michelle Williams' jelly. Best friends for almost two decades, Williams and Phillips' relationship was practically written in the stars. "It was like, you know, how people say love at first sight? We had that thing," Philipps told The Cut in 2018. "We had that friend connection. It was just an immediate: 'Of course we're drinking wine and smoking cigarettes and getting in bar fights.' We just had an immediate love for each other that's continued over the years."
Leah Remini to J.Lo's Twins
The love between New York City natives Jennifer Lopez and Leah Remini runs so deep that J.Lo named her Brooklyn BFF to be the godmother to her twins Max and Emme. But she had a few other options, according to Remini. Before the twins were born, there were a number of different celebrities vying for the honor, so Remini really had to convince her friend. "We’re asking for an audition for godparent roles,” Remini once joked. "We need like a day—because we’re not good at cold-reading—so that we can just prepare.”
B.J. Novak to Mindy Kaling's Daughter, Katherine
Mindy Kaling broke the internet in late 2017 when she announced that she was pregnant, even appearing on The Ellen Show to confirm that she was indeed giving birth to a baby girl. Fans immediately hypothesized that Kaling's former co-star and best friend B.J. Novak was the father—after all, rumors had been swirling that the comedians' close friendship was actually a secret romantic relationship waiting to happen.
Kaling never officially confirmed (or denied) that Novak was her baby's birth father, but she did make her BFF baby Katherine's godfather. So a dad, but different. Not that he needed an official title to be considered part of the family or anything. "The truth is that B.J. is so much more like family now than a platonic friend," the actress and producer explained to Good Housekeeping. "He’s the godfather to my daughter, he comes over like once a week. Sometimes he’ll come over just to hang out with her.”
Meryl Streep to Billie Lourde, Carrie Fisher's Daughter
As the daughter of Carrie Fisher and the granddaughter of Debbie Reynolds, Billie Lourde has always been surrounded by strong, powerful, and talented women, with her godmother Meryl Streep rounding out the pack.
Lourde dished about her renowned godmother in a recent appearance on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live. When asked what the most magical thing about being Streep's godchild was, Lourde's answer was simple but all-encompassing: "I mean, she's Meryl Streep!"
Sia to Maddie Ziegler
Dance Moms breakout star Maddie Ziegler graduated from dance school to the big times when she caught the eye of pop sensation Sia. The singer, a huge fan of the Lifetime reality series, tweeted Ziegler a request for the then 11-year-old to star in her "Chandelier" music video, and boom—instant chemistry. Since then, the two have been inseparable, with Ziegler appearing in several more of Sia's music videos, joining her on tour, and even borrowing some of her cool wigs.
Today, Ziegler has nothing but praise for the musician. "She is the best person in my life," the teenager raved on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. "If anything were to happen, she would take me in."
Kathie Lee Gifford to Kendall & Kylie Jenner
Kendall and Kylie Jenner's godmother, Kathie Lee Gifford, and their mother Kris Jenner go way back. The Hollywood moms met by chance in the 1970s and clicked almost immediately, bonding over their growing families and their Christian faith.
Gifford recalls the Kardashian home as the place to be back in the day. "It was an insane environment. I would be there with Frank and we would be walking in and the Jackson Five would be walking out," she recounted fondly. "And then as I’m leaving, Wayne Gretzky would be walking in and then an uber-model would be, and a rapper. It was like central casting."
Nicole Kidman to Simon Baker's Kids
Aussies in Hollywood stick together—just ask Simon Baker and Nicole Kidman. The duo from down under have been close friends from years and are always supporting each other's children and endeavors; in 2010, Kidman and her hubby country star Keith Urban serenaded the blue-eyed The Mentalist star at the star-studded G'Day USA Ball.
Naomi Watts to Simon Baker's Son, Claude
Fellow Aussie Naomi Watts is also a godmother to one of Baker's children, but things weren't always copacetic between the pair. Watts wasn't a fan of him constantly interrupting her quality time with his wife, Rebecca Rigg. "My wife and [Watts] are really good friends and I'd just started hanging out with [Rigg], but she said to me after a week of about spending every moment together, she said, 'Oh, by the way, my girlfriend is coming back from the States next week, you're gonna have to make yourself scarce.'"
Now, Watts is the godmother of their son Claude. All's well that ends well!
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.
Charlotte Tilbury Is Honoring the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee With a "Timeless" Limited-Edition Collection
You can already scoop up a few pieces from the royal-inspired set.
By Samantha Holender
Fashion Brands That Recycle, Resell, or Upcycle Your Old Clothes
Here's what to do with your unwanted pieces.
By Rachael Noll
What I Wear to Work: Emily Tisch Sussman
The podcast host of 'She Pivots' embraces brights, patterns, and pieces from her past.
By Sara Holzman
Who Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Fiancé Riley Roberts?
AOC's husband-to-be is an "easygoing redhead" who lives with her in D.C.
By Katherine J Igoe
68 Times the Kardashians Posed Fully Nude and Owned It
And we mean fully nude—as in, not a shred of clothing.
By Bianca Rodriguez
Who Is Jonathan Owens, Simone Biles's Fiancé and NFL Player?
"The easiest yes!" Simone wrote about the couple's engagement.
By The Editors
Surprise! Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas Are Parents
They welcomed a baby via surrogate.
By Neha Prakash
Meghan and Harry Share First Photo of Their Daughter Lilibet Diana
The Sussex's holiday card is here!
By Rachel Epstein
The 50 Best Celebrity Couple Halloween Costumes Ever
Honestly, we're impressed.
By Charlotte Chilton
Alicia Keys Gets What She Wants
With her jazzy new album, Keys, the singer stopped worrying about everything except what matters: Her own opinion.
By Jessica Herndon
Brooke Shields on Reinventing Yourself, Making Friends in Your 40s, and More
The actress and CEO shared inspiring advice during a panel at 'Marie Claire's' "Power Trip: Off the Grid" conference.
By Rachel Epstein