When Joni Mitchell rose to stardom, she went from rags to riches. Unfortunately for her, fame came too late.
Joni Mitchell was so poor at one point in her life that she gave up her daughter for adoption because she couldn’t provide for her child.
But Mitchell didn’t give up looking, and neither did her daughter Kilauren Gibb, and they were reunited after 32 years apart.
Joni Mitchell Abandoned Her Daughter
According to Cheatsheet, Mitchell gave birth to her daughter in 1965, which is a completely different era. Unmarried mothers were relatively uncommon back then.
When she asked her child’s father to marry her, he refused.
She had yet to make a name for herself as a musician. She lacked the financial resources to raise and provide for her daughter.
So, with a heavy heart, she placed her baby for adoption, a decision she soon regretted. She once stated to Hot Press:
I had a house and a car soon after I’d given up my daughter for adoption, and I’d become a public figure.
She’d tried searching for her child for years, but the trail eventually came close.
When a childhood friend sold her secret childbirth to the press, it generated a lot of attention, but that was it.
The Search for Kilauren Gibb’s Mother
On the other hand, Gibb admitted to the Toronto Sun (via Joni Mitchell’s website) that she frequently asked her adoptive mother why she didn’t have photos from the time she was born.
To keep the adoption a secret, the Gibbs — David and Ida Gibb, two Toronto teachers — had to feed her with a few explanations.
Gibb discovered she was adopted when she was 27 years old, and her search for her biological parents began.
Thankfully, her adoptive parents left her with a referral to the Children’s Aid Society. As a result, she reached out.
However, it would take the institution five years to provide Gibb with the file she requested, and even then, the name of her birth mother was only a description.
Her mother, she discovered, was born in Saskatchewan, the only child of Norwegian-Scottish parents. She had polio as a child and met Kilauren’s father in art school in Calgary.
Her CAS profile described her as a successful Canadian folk singer.
Gibb, on the other hand, was not a fan of the genre for which her mother was famous and couldn’t make the connection on her own.
On February 1, 1996, she came across an article describing Mitchell’s search for her daughter.
The timeline was ideal. Gibb noticed the resemblance as well: blue eyes, blonde hair, long legs, and high cheekbones.
She called Mitchell’s agent in the hopes of seeing her mother before her mother’s birthday on February 19. It turned out that she wasn’t the only “daughter” calling. The agency was required to screen all claims.
Gibbs returned home one day to find a message from her mother on the answering machine. It said: “Hello, my name is Joni. Please contact me. I’ve arrived. I’m completely overwhelmed.”
On March 13, 1997, the mother-daughter duo reunited after 32 years apart.