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How AGT Judge Heidi Klum Navigates Being the Mother of Four "Cool" Children
The German supermodel has been vocal about raising four children, whom she's kept from the public eye.
Long-time America’s Got Talent Judge Heidi Klum knows what it takes to be a busy parent. With four children ranging from ages 13 to 19, Klum has been vocal about the challenges and pride involved with raising a family, especially as a super-successful model, designer, and television personality.
Being a fierce mama bear to the children she shares and co-parents with her former husband Seal, Klum continues to navigate the world of motherhood and fame, all while keeping it stylish as ever.
Here are some invaluable takeaways we can glean by looking back at Klum’s parenting style.
Who are Heidi Klum’s children?
Klum’s eldest mini-me is up-and-coming model, Leni Klum. Born in 2004, Leni is the biological daughter of Italian businessman Flavio Briatore, though Briatore and Klum parted ways shortly before Leni’s birth, according to People.
Shortly after Leni was born, Klum entered a relationship with British musician Seal (whose real name is Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel). The pair married in 2005, four years before the "Kiss from a Rose" singer adopted Leni as his own.
In the interim, Klum and Seal had three children: Now-17-year-old Henry Günther Ademola Dashtu Samuel, 16-year-old Johan Riley Fyodor Taiwo Samuel, and 13-year-old Lou Sulola Samuel, all of whom were born in Los Angeles.
Klum and Seal divorced in 2014, though they remain a united front for their children.
“I’m sure it’s not easy to step into an immediate family, having all of a sudden teenagers,” said Klum. “They were easier when they were younger, for sure. Every age comes with its challenges.”
Though Klum and Kaulitz have no children of their own, Klum entertained the idea of possibly having more, saying, “It depends [on] what day it is.”
Heidi Klum on Motherhood and Work
In 2011, Klum discussed her fool-proof advice for raising young children: the importance of sharing, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ and having little chats when the young’uns aren’t on their best behavior. She told Good Housekeeping that parents must “be consistent when teaching kids.”
“Keeping it all together as a modern woman means multitasking, especially when you work,” she said. “I think you always need to try your best, but at the same time, you can only do what you can do, and you don’t need to beat yourself up about it. I’m not white-picket-fence perfect.”
In 2014, she told PopSugar, “I think most moms agree that time together is the best gift.”
Now that her children have grown into teens, no longer having to be taught to mind their Ps and Qs, Klum told People about the number one rule in their household:
“Rule number one is always to look cool, and rule number two is don’t forget about rule number one,” said Klum. “We have other rules… but the number one rule is to always look cool.”
If the children are anything like their mother, that should be no problem.
Keeping Them Out of the Spotlight
Klum has insisted that her children not be photographed in the public eye. She told Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa in a 2017 episode of Live with Kelly and Ryan that she was “definitely” a protective parent, especially when it came to the kids taking their own photos, per Entertainment Tonight.
“It’s different when we do it — I feel like we’re grown-ups,” said Klum. “But I want to try and keep them children as long as possible.”
When Klum does post family photos on Instagram, the children will either have their backs turned toward the camera, or she’ll slap graphics on the picture to hide their faces, such as during their recent trip to Italy. Other times, Klum gets creative, including a Christmas photo when the minors used gifts to hide their faces.
She’ll sometimes share rare throwback photos of the gang on special occasions, such as this photo for a Mother’s Day post.
Leni Klum's Modeling Career
Part of motherhood requires watching your children find their footing in life, which is the case for her eldest, Leni Klum. Leni moved to New York City in August 2022, and Klum said on The Late Late Show with James Corden, “Already, the worrying is starting.”
“First, they have a car, and they drive, and that’s hard,” Klum confessed. “Then they move across the country, and that’s harder.”
Leni is twinning with her mother and establishing herself as a serious model in the industry, just as Klum did as a supermodel for Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated, to name just a few. Leni was the mirror image of her mother on the 2020 cover of Vogue Germany and stunned on the cover of Glamour Germany exactly 20 years after her mother.
When proudly sharing the Vogue cover, Klum had some sound mother-daughter advice.
“I hope that no matter where it takes you, you always carry within you what I have given you over the past 16 years. For the big decisions in life, but also for the little ones,” Klum wrote in German. “And while you often don’t want to hear your mom’s smart advice, here’s another one: Never do anything you don’t want to do, and always listen to your gut.”
Like any good parent, Klum is navigating motherhood without an instruction manual, and that’s OK! In 2018, she told US Weekly that raising four kids was “definitely a learning curve.”
“So, for me, it’s getting used to figuring out who they are as a person,” she said. “I’m learning as I’m doing.”