Celebrity Godparents

Elton John wasn't joking—Lady Gaga really is his son's godmother. And she's not the only star with famous godchildren. See who Drew Barrymore, Bono, and Nicole Kidman are responsible for.

Gary Miller, FilmMagic / Getty Images; Donna Svennevik / ABC via Getty Images

Gary Miller, FilmMagic / Getty Images; Donna Svennevik / ABC via Getty Images

Lady Gaga

Last week, Elton John confirmed to Barbara Walters what he had joked about on Saturday Night Live on April 2— Lady Gaga is godmother to his son, Zachary. It "is ironic," John said in his SNL monologue, "because I've always said that Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids. And Gaga loves Mars. She says Mars has good schools and great discos." And John knows a little something about godparenting himself. He is godfather to Victoria and David Beckham's sons Brooklyn and Romeo, as well as Elizabeth Hurley's son, Damian.

AP Photo; Claire R Greenway / Getty Images

Johnny Depp

For more than 20 years, Johnny Depp has been the muse for director Tim Burton—they have collaborated on seven films, most recently Alice in Wonderland. But in 2003, Depp took on a more personal role when he became godfather to Burton's son with Helena Bonham-Carter, Billy. In the foreword to Burton on Burton, Depp wrote of their friendship: "What more can I say about him? He is a brother, a friend, my godson's father. He is a unique and brave soul, someone that I would go to the ends of the earth for, and I know, full and well, he would do the same for me."

Joel Ryan / AP Photo; AP Photo

Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman

Rupert Murdoch may live in the United States, but the Australian-born mogul ensured that his daughters with wife Wendi Deng have solid Aussie godparents. In 2010, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, who starred together in Baz Luhrmann's Australia—a Twentieth Century Fox film—formalized the godparent relationship when they attended the baptism of Murdoch and Deng's daughters, Grace and Chloe, beside the River Jordan, which is believed to be the site of Jesus' baptism. After the ceremony, attended by Keith Urban, Ivanka Trump, and other celebrities, Jordan's Queen Rania told Hello! magazine: "I am happy to be sharing this land that I love with my friends. We're a small country but we're rich with history and culture."

AP Photo; Newscom

Jennifer Aniston

When it came time for Courteney Cox to select a godmother for her daughter, Coco, she chose her best friend, ex- Friend Jennifer Aniston. In a 2008 interview with The Daily Mail, Cox described the special relationship between the two: "Coco calls her Noona, which is Greek for godmother; they see each other and play together every weekend. The other day Jen came over with her yoga teacher and Coco stuck it out for an hour doing yoga with them!"

AP Photos

Michael Jackson

Long before he had children of his own, Michael Jackson became godfather to Lionel Richie's adopted daughter, Nicole. (Her other godfather is music producer Quincy Jones.) In 2003, Nicole Richie famously came to Jackson's defense when he was accused of pedophilia. She told Access Hollywood of being invited over to the Neverland Ranch for many sleepovers during which, she said, nothing inappropriate ever happened. "It was like, absolutely nothing more than just an adult kind of wanting to be a kid again."

AP Photos (3)

Steven Spielberg

Director Steven Spielberg is evidently such a good godfather that he holds that honor with two A-list actresses. During the filming of E.T. in 1982, Spielberg became a mentor to his 6-year-old star, Drew Barrymore, and he took on a more formal role in her life. He "was—and always will be —the dad I never had," Barrymore has said. And having Spielberg as a godfather also worked out well for Gwyneth Paltrow—in 1991, the director cast Paltrow in her first movie role, playing young Wendy in Hook.

Jennifer Graylock / AP Photo; Newscom

Sting and Trudie Styler

In 1999, Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler, introduced Madonna to director Guy Ritchie at a dinner party at their Scottish estate. The following year, when their son, Rocco, was born, Madonna and Ritchie honored their Cupids by asking them to be his godparents. And in 2001, when Ritchie and Madonna walked down the aisle, Styler read a poem at the ceremony while the former Police man sang "Ave Maria." "They're two wonderful people," Sting said at the time. "They're a great couple, and that's why they got together. It was their idea, really."

AP Photo (2)

Willie Mays

When your godfather is Hall of Famer Willie Mays and your dad is Giants great Bobby Bonds, much is expected of you on the baseball diamond. Indeed, Barry Bonds once admitted, "I've always played for the acceptance of my godfather and father." Bonds lived up to those high expectations—in 2004, he eclipsed Mays' 660 home runs on the all-time list on his way to hitting a record 762—but steroid allegations and a perjury trial have forever tarnished Bonds' baseball legacy. Still, The Say Hey Kid has always defended Bonds: "Sometimes he says things before he thinks," Mays once said, sounding like a godfather should. "That's why I'm here—to remind him other people have feelings, too."

CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images; AP Photos (2)

Paul Newman and Jamie Lee Curtis

Having Paul Newman and Jamie Lee Curtis as your godparents all but ensures you'll want to grow up to be a movie star. And that's exactly how it worked out for Jake Gyllenhaal, who once got an early driving lesson on a racetrack with Newman. And Gyllenhaal also has the honor of being godfather to Matilda Ledger, daughter of his Brokeback Mountain co-stars, Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams—which means that by the transitive property, Matilda's grand-godparents are Curtis and Newman.

AP Photos (2); Newscom

Bono and Mindy Cohn

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have so many children that it takes a village of celebrities to be godparents. The couple most recently tapped Bono to be godfather to their twins, Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline, and according to a British tabloid, Jolie's ex-girlfriend, model Jenny Shimizu, was also asked. ("I'd love to be that responsible that someone would ask me to do that, but even I was shocked," Shimizu said of the rumor, adding that "maybe [Angelina] called me and I didn't get the message.") But it was the news that '80s sitcom star Mindy Cohn was also a Jolie-Pitt godmother that shocked Brangelina watchers. According to Us Weekly, the couple even gave Cohn a huge diamond necklace to thank her. Then again, who better to teach your kids about the facts of life?

AP Photo; Andreas Rentz / Getty Images

Timothy Leary

Winona Ryder's father knew just who to ask to be godfather for his newborn daughter—his boss, Timothy Leary. (Michael Horowitz was the longtime archivist for Leary and has edited several books on the LSD guru.) In 1996, when the counterculture icon was on his deathbed, Ryder was among those who made the pilgrimage to say goodbye. For the past few years, she and her father have been trying to make a movie about Leary's life.

AP Photos

Aretha Franklin

Whitney Houston may be the daughter of a famous singer (Cissy Houston) and the cousin of one (Dionne Warwick), but the onetime queen of pop calls the queen of soul her godmother. (The two queens even recorded a duet, "It Isn't, It Wasn't, and It Ain't Ever Gonna Be," for Franklin's 1989 album Through the Storm.) Recently, Franklin thanked talk-show host Wendy Williams for giving her goddaughter some tough love about her drug problems. "I would like to say, I think you did a very good thing for Whitney in speaking in the way that you did at one point," Franklin said on Williams' show. "[It] paid off. She's doing very well, very well. And sometimes all it takes is just someone to say certain things."

AP Photos (2); Getty Images

Drew Barrymore and Michael Stipe

In addition to being the goddaughter of Steven Spielberg, Drew Barrymore has the honor of being godmother to Frances Bean Cobain, daughter of the late Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. And though Michael Stipe once sang, "Losing My Religion," he is Cobain's godfather.

AP Photo

Kay Thompson and Ira Gershwin

"When Kay Thompson held me at my christening," Liza Minnelli once said of her godmother, "I knew my life was going to be wonderful." The daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli, Liza has long been considered a model for Thompson's beloved literary creation, Eloise, but Thompson was also a veteran actress and nightclub performer. (In her Broadway show Liza's at the Palace, Minnelli recreated Thompson's old cabaret act.) And just to solidify Liza's musical pedigree, her parents chose Ira Gershwin as her godfather.