Joni Mitchell waited 30 years to reunite with daughter she gave up for adoption

17 December 2021, 11:22 | Updated: 17 December 2021, 11:23

Joni Mitchell gave her daughter up for adoption
Joni Mitchell gave her daughter up for adoption. Picture: Alamy

By Naomi Bartram

The story of the reunion of Joni Mitchell and her daughter Kilauren Gibb...

Joni Mitchell made her name as one of the world’s biggest singer-songwriters after bursting onto the folk scene back in the 1960s.

After releasing songs such as 'Both Sides Now', 'Chelsea Morning' and 'Big Yellow Taxi', she went on to win nine Grammy Awards and was called "one of the greatest songwriters ever" by Rolling Stone.

But Joni liked to keep her personal life out of the public eye, choosing not to reveal that she gave up her daughter for adoption all the way back in 1965.

The star discovered she was pregnant with her ex-boyfriend Brad MacMath in 1964.

Joni Mitchell gave her daughter up for adoption in 1965
Joni Mitchell gave her daughter up for adoption in 1965. Picture: Alamy

Joni claims Brad wanted nothing to do with their child and later said: "[He] left me three months pregnant in an attic room with no money and winter coming on and only a fireplace for heat. The spindles of the banister were gap-toothed—fuel for last winter's occupants."

The following year, the singer gave birth to a baby girl, Kelly Dale Anderson, and unable to provide for her, she gave her up for adoption.

This had a huge impact on Joni and inspired some of her most successful songs on the album Blue.

She reportedly said in 1979: "The Blue album, there's hardly a dishonest note in the vocals. At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses.

“I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world and I couldn't pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy. But the advantage of it in the music was that there were no defenses there either."

Joni Mitchell later admitted her daughter had 'abandonment issues'
Joni Mitchell later admitted her daughter had 'abandonment issues'. Picture: Alamy

While she kept this a secret for most of her career, in 1993 a roommate from Joni's art-school in the 1960s sold the story of the adoption to a journalist.

While her daughter - who was renamed Kilauren Gibb - had already tried searching for her biological parents, the pair finally met in 1997 after medical and adoption records linked them up.

Kilauren also brought her son to meet Joni.

Unfortunately, the pair didn’t have the easiest relationship and they reportedly argued a lot.

Joni said her daughter suffered with ‘abandonment issues’ and they spent some time apart.

She added in an interview with the Toronto Star in 2013: “We’ve worked through all of that. We reminisced about all the little tricks we pulled and the ways we can hurt each other.

“That’s over. We’re going to see each other soon.”