Joni Mitchell’s ex-roommate sold a deeply personal story about him
When Joni Mitchell was a struggling musician in the 1960s, she got pregnant. Her situation – young, poor and single – led her to have her child adopted. Decades later, after Mitchell had a successful career, his former roommate sold this hitherto unknown story to a tabloid magazine. This painful betrayal changed Mitchell’s life.
Joni Mitchell had her daughter adopted before she got famous
Mitchell got pregnant while studying at art school. Due to the social stigma, she tried to keep the pregnancy silent.
“I conceived in art school when I was 20, towards the end of the term,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “The main thing at the time was to hide it. The scandal was so intense. A girl couldn’t do anything more shameful. It has ruined you from a social point of view. You have no idea what the stigma was. It was as if you had murdered someone.
Mitchell hid her pregnancy from her parents and eventually married singer Chuck Mitchell to help raise the child. At first, she wanted to keep her baby, whom she named Kelly Dale.
“I don’t have any money. I don’t have a house. I don’t have a job. When I leave the hospital, I don’t have a roof over my head,” says- her. “But I kept trying to find some kind of circumstance where I could stay with her that wouldn’t be malforming for her and for myself.”
During her second month of marriage, Mitchell decided to give her daughter up for adoption. Although the decision was painful, she now feels that she did the right thing.
Her roommate revealed the story to the tabloids without permission
Three years later, Mitchell found success as a musician. Despite the change in her life, she said she “constantly worried” about her child’s health in the years following adoption. She finally started trying to reconnect, but with no luck. Then, in the 1990s, her former art school roommate sold the story to a tabloid. Mitchell had never spoken publicly about the adoption and was taken aback when the story broke.
“It hurts like hell,” she said.
After the story of Mitchell’s child became public, “the impostors are out of the woods.” Mitchell says even a waitress named Kelly at one of her favorite restaurants checked to see if she was adopted.
Joni Mitchell and her daughter have finally been reunited
Four years after the story began, Mitchell and his daughter, Kilauren Gibb, have reunited. Gibb, who was trying to locate his birth parents, received a package containing general information about them from Save the Children Canada. While the information is general, there were clear links to Mitchell. The report included the fact that she had polio at the age of nine and was a musician.
After contacting Mitchell through his manager, Gibb and his son traveled to California to meet Mitchell.
“Kilauren said I can watch him grow up now,” she said.
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