Roseanne Barr Became a Mom at 18 & Had to Give Up Newborn — They Reunited 18 Years Later, Crying at Hotel Lounge

    Roseanne Barr is a happy and successful woman who has gone through many difficult obstacles on the way to her happiness. After all, what could be more challenging than being forced to be without her daughter for 18 years?

    Roseanne Barr carries many titles. She’s an actress best known for her role in various shows, including “The Roseanne Show,” “The Nanny,” “Roseanne’s Nuts,” and even the animated “Little Rosey.” She is also a mother, a friend, and the author of “Roseanne: My Life as a Woman.”

    And while she has achieved so much over the years to get to where she is, life did not always come easy for her. The critical and brash comic had a tumultuous childhood and struggled to make herself a name in Hollywood. Sadly, even before she knew she wanted a career in comedy, life was already brushing her the wrong way.

    Comedienne Roseanne Barr, circa 1989 | Source: Getty Images

    One of her most significant challenges was getting pregnant at 18. At first, she wanted to keep her baby and even rented a room where she was paying 50 dollars a month. Determined to make the best out of her situation, she got on welfare. However, the room that she was so determined to make a home out of was a dump.

    “The Eyes of the Tammy Faye” actress said she tried turning on the water, and cockroaches emerged from the tap. Drunks always roamed outside her room, and eventually, she decided she couldn’t live there. She packed her meager belongings, moved to Denver, and into a Salvation Army home that housed unmarried mothers.

    Her mother was not supportive, and neither were any other family members. She wanted the best for her baby girl and decided that the only way to give her a better life was to give her up for adoption. Soon after, she gave her daughter up at the Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Luckily, the center found a couple who were the perfect candidates — Stanley and Gail Brown.

    The Bowns had waited seven years for a baby without success, and finally, there was a baby for them. The day they came to take her away, Barr promised her daughter they would reconnect when she had her life in order. She would do whatever it took to reunite with her daughter once she was of age. She remembers whispering in her baby’s ear:

    “You remember this. I’ll see you when you’re 18.”

    Despite the odds being stacked against her, Barr always knew they would somehow be reunited, and the thought excited her a lot. However, at the time, she had to focus on making a better life for herself and reaching for her goals.

    Roseann Barr and Bill Pentland, circa 1990 | Source: Getty Images

    Years passed, and despite the difficulty of giving up her baby, Barr made the best out of her situation. Life was finally looking up for her, and four years after she gave up her baby, she met Bill Pentland, a motel clerk, in Colorado.

    The pair hit it off and married on February 4, 1974. They welcomed three children, Jake, Jennifer, and Jessica. She also started doing well in her comedy career and was landing gigs in clubs in Denver.

    In 1986, she performed on “Late Night With David Letterman,” and in 1987, she had her own HBO special, “The Roseanne Barr Show.” The show became an instant success and went on to win her several awards, including an Emmy, a Golden Globe, a Kids’ Choice Award, and three American Comedy Awards.

    Barr had so much work to do that it was enough for her husband to quit his job at the post office and become the show’s consultant. Pentland and Barr’s sister often accompanied the comic to tapings and were her most significant support system. Barr and her husband often tried to change the script to suit Barr’s point of view.

    However, despite the show’s success, the strain behind its production was causing trouble at home. At some point, the stress was too much for them that it started causing physical strain on them. Barr recalls that her husband had called her from his car earlier that year with terrible chest pains.

    Barr said they had been living under immense stress and were certain he had suffered a heart attack. However, when the doctors examined him, it turned out to be an anxiety attack, so he stayed home for four days. Barr said:

    “There was a lot of pressure on him. It was a soul and gut-wrenching period for us; neither of us did very well with it.”

    That was only the beginning of their troubles. Barr recognized that their marriage was headed for destruction and even tried attending couple’s therapy to try and fix things. Sadly, even therapy could not help.

    American comedian Roseanne Barr with her son, Jake Pentland, attend Barr's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California on September 25, 1992. | Source: Getty Images

    Even though at the very beginning, Barr felt they were meant to be married forever and could work things out, she eventually realized she did not have to stay in an unhappy marriage, and neither did her husband.

    Her troubles were, however, not only confined to her marriage. Barr’s work took so much of her and her husband’s time that they were never there for their children. Jessica, 14 at the time, was already drinking, and without parental supervision, she was sneaking out at night and even taking her mom’s car.

    All this was happening under her parents’ noses, and neither knew it was happening. At first, Barr blamed herself for not being present, but she later realized it could have happened to anyone. Jessica was eventually hospitalized at a Westwood treatment center, where she received treatment for her alcohol abuse.

    Her time there helped her regain control of her life, and Barr was incredibly proud of her. Jessica going into rehab had several outcomes. It helped her quit a vice that would have destroyed her life. However, it also helped Barr realize that she needed to end her marriage.

    While her marriage was technically long over, the “She-Devil” actress and her husband had stayed together for the kids. She soon realized her children were just as messed up as they would have been if their parents had divorced. That helped her reach a quicker decision about ending her union.

    At the same time, she was also talking more and more to her friend, Tom Arnold, who had always offered her a shoulder to cry on whenever she faced hard times. And the more he comforted her, the more she realized that, perhaps, her future belonged with him. So much was happening. Here she was, marriage failing, daughter in rehab, and with a new love interest.

    American actress and comedia Roseanne Barr with her husband, actor Tom Arnold, circa 1990. | Source: Getty Images

    Barr and Arnold had known each other for six years, and whenever they were together, Barr always had a prevision that something was bound to happen between them, but they always intentionally backed off. So, when Barr and her husband eventually separated, Arnold was already in “waiting.” They would talk for hours, and they even began admitting their feelings for each other.

    Things were already looking up for the actress. She had found a new love, and before she could even settle into her new bliss, a tabloid called to tell her that they had found her daughter. It had been 18 years since she had given up her baby for adoption, and now, she had been found.

    While it should have been good news for Barr, she was angry at the tabloid for investigating the matter behind her back. They knew where she lived, schooled, and who her adoptive parents were.

    They had also told her daughter that her birth mother was someone famous. They were asking questions, following her daughter, and scaring her adoptive parents. Barr did not want her daughter to read about her from the media and hired a private detective to track her down.

    Two days later, she called her daughter, who was now known as Brandi Brown. They planned to meet that May and arranged for a reunion at the Westwood Marquis hotel. Barr said she and her sister Geraldine walked into the hotel lobby to a sight that brought tears to her eyes. Once they got to the lounge, her sister said: “Oh, my God, there she is.” Barr recalled:

    “I turned around and felt this powerful magnet. We started running toward each other…”

    Actress Roseanne Barr (R) and her daughter arrive at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's "An Evening With Women" at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on May 19, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

    Mother and daughter hugged for a long time as neither wanted to let go. They held on to each other for so long, just staring into each other’s eyes and crying. The actress said:

    “I had missed her for so long.”

    Barr confessed that she saw a lot of herself in her daughter. Much like herself, Brown trusted her feelings and perceptions and was intuitive. She was also incredibly similar to Barr’s other kids.

    This was a moment she had waited for nearly two decades, and her life could only get better. Soon after the reunion, she and Arnold and the kids moved into a new house, and she liked how much her kids liked him. They were working on a relationship and were excited to see how far they would go.

    They married on January 20, 1990, four days after her divorce from her first husband was finalized. She remained on good terms with Pentland, despite this.

    However, her marriage to Arnold did not last very long, and the two divorced in 1994 after only four years together. She married her third husband, Ben Thomas, in 1995, and the pair welcomed their son, Buck.

    American comedian Roseanne Barr (in black) with her children (Brandi Ann Brown, Jake Pentland, Jennifer Pentland, and Jessica Pentland) and partner, Ben Thomas, in New York City on September, 8 1994 | Source: Getty Images

    Today, Barr has accomplished so much. Besides her enviable career, she is a dedicated mother to her five children. She has also found love with her longtime partner, Johnny Ardent, whom she started dating in 2003.

    The “Nanny” actress is proud of her children and their chosen career paths. Her first-born daughter Brown took after her mom and is an actress known for her appearance in the 1997 episode of “3rd Rock from the Sun.”

    Roseanne Barr and son during the world premiere of "Superman Returns" at Mann's Village and Bruin Theaters in Westwood, California | Source: Getty Images

    Besides acting, she worked behind the cameras and is also a producer for “Katie” and “The Dr. Oz Show.” She has also worked as a production assistant on “Dark Faith,” “The Jackie Thomas Show,” and “Roseanne.”

    After her stint with alcohol, Jessica turned her life around and completed school, also opting for a career in Hollywood. She is a researcher, producer, and writer and has helped write an episode of “Childhood Thoughts” and “Roseanne.” Her other producing credits include “The Real Roseanne Show” and “Black Girls Heart Charlie.”

    A year younger than Jessica, Jennifer has worked with her immediate older sister to produce her mom’s show. She is also a writer and released her book “This Will Be Funny Later: A Memoir” in 2022. Jennifer, who lives close to her mom, loves spending time with her five sons and husband, Jeff.

    Barr’s first son, Jake, has also followed in the family’s footsteps and is a director, editor, producer, and writer. He has worked on numerous projects alongside his siblings. When he is not producing shows, he is a doting dad to his daughter, whom he welcomed in April 2021.

    Barr’s youngest child, Buck, born in 1995, loves living away from the spotlight. He only ever appears in the limelight whenever his mom posts photos of them on Instagram.

    Proud as Barr is of her children’s accomplishments, she is also a doting grandma to her six grandkids. She is grandma to Jennifer’s five sons, Jake’s daughter, and a seventh grandchild she has never disclosed.

    Now 70, her career is not as vibrant as it used to be, but she has plenty of activities to fill her time. She loves spending time with her grandbabies and captures her favorite grandma-grandkids moments on her Instagram, which is filled with photos and videos of the “Blue in the Face” actress dancing with her grandbabies or spending time on her farm.

    Despite a challenging beginning, everything has come full circle, and Barr could not be happier with how things turned out for her and her children.

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