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Denise Richards was already mama to two daughters – Sam, 10, and Lola, 9, with ex-husband Charlie Sheen – when the single mom added a third daughter, Eloise, now 3, to her family in 2011. "I felt like I wasn't done having children," the actress told PEOPLE. "And so after my divorce I felt like, 'Oh well, I'm sure I'll soon enough get remarried and have my family [grow],' and that wasn't in the cards at the time, so I decided to expand my family on my own."
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Modern science and teamwork played a big role in creating Neil Patrick Harris's twins, son Gideon and daughter Harper, born in 2010. It involved an anonymous egg donor, two embryos – one each for Harris and then-partner David Burtka – and a surrogate. "We really, really wanted kids," the How I Met Your Mother star revealed to Oprah Winfrey. "We really had thought it through financially, emotionally, relationship-wise. These kids [came] into our world with nothing but love." There was even more love four years later when Gideon and Harper were a big part of their dads' September 2014 wedding celebration.
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For a tough guy, Bruce Willis is certainly partial to the color pink. After having three daughters – Rumer, 26, Scout, 23, and Tallulah, 20 – with ex Demi Moore, the Die Hard actor added another set of females to his flock. In 2012 Mabel (pictured), his first child with wife Emma Heming, was born, and the couple welcomed Evelyn in May 2014. "In general, I think women should be in charge of everything," Willis told PEOPLE. "Women are just much smarter than men."
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Despite being famously caught on tape chastising his then-11-year-old daughter in 2007, Alec Baldwin and Ireland, 18, have a pretty close bond. "My dad and I are very tight-knit, despite what people may think," she told PEOPLE. And these days the former 30 Rock star is enjoying fatherhood once again with wife Hilaria, a yoga instructor: The pair welcomed "absolutely perfect" daughter Carmen in August 2013. "I have always wanted a sibling! I want her to know that I'm here for her whenever she needs," Ireland said.
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How to create an instant family? If you're Jillian Michaels, you adopt a 2-year-old girl, Lukensia, the same week your partner gives birth to a boy! That's what happened in 2012 when the former Biggest Loser trainer and her girlfriend of three years, Heidi Rhodes, found out they would finally become adoptive parents just as Rhodes was heading to the delivery room to give birth to son Phoenix. Things have calmed down for the foursome since that busy week. Said Michaels, "I want to be really present and enjoy all the nuances of their growth and development. I don't want to rush any of it."
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ON THE FAST TRACK
After welcoming son August in 2006, Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay and hubby Peter Hermann tried to adopt a child. But it would take two years of waiting until they could bring newborn daughter Amaya home in April 2011. Surprisingly, six months later, after filing paperwork to adopt another child, they got a call within days and were able to add baby Andrew to their brood. "It was a week that changed our lives," Hargitay said.
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Celeb chef Cat Cora has followed a decidedly different road to parenthood. She and wife Jennifer had their eggs harvested – then implanted in one another! After the births of Caje in 2007 and Nash in 2009, the moms had some paperwork to do. "As a same-sex couple, we had to go back and legally adopt them," the Iron Chef America champ told Working Mother in 2010. "Even though Nash was her biological son, Jennifer had to adopt him. Same with me and Caje." Rounding out the family: Zoran, born in 2004, and Thatcher, born in 2009.
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Having children with longtime partner David Furnish was a secret dream for Elton John. So after a failed attempt at adopting a Ukrainian toddler in 2009, the couple turned to surrogacy. Son Zachary (pictured) was born in 2010, followed by son Elijah two years later (Lady Gaga is godmother to both boys). The couple has since been vocal about their plans to tie the knot, too. "We'll do it very quietly. But we will do it and it will be a joyous occasion and we will have our children," John shared earlier this year.
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ON A HAPPY NOTE
After surviving breast cancer in 2006, Sheryl Crow decided to focus on motherhood, the rocker told Redbook. Crow adopted a boy, Wyatt, in April 2007, and then after several adoptions fell through, became mom to Levi in 2010. "Things always work out perfectly," she said. "Generally, when you let go of your vision of how something is supposed to be, the universe hands you exactly what you need."
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MIX & MATCH
Life has had a funny way of working out for Rosie O'Donnell. Her brood consists of several children – teens Parker, Chelsea and Blake, whom the comedian adopted with first wife Kelli Carpenter; Vivienne, 11, a daughter whom Carpenter gave birth to; and a new daughter, Dakota (pictured), whom O'Donnell adopted with second wife Michelle Rounds in January 2013. And now there is another parent added to the mix: cabaret singer Anne Steele, whom Carpenter married in June 2013. "I am very happy for her – the kids love Anne," O'Donnell shared last year.