Quite similar to the divisive response public breastfeeding often receives, parents kissing their children on the lips — especially the older they get — causes a large segment of people to lash out in response. While it’s nothing more than an act of love and affection for those who kiss their kids, a shocking amount of people sexualize the innocent parent-child interaction. And just like being shamed for breastfeeding in public or for “too long,” even the world’s most famous individuals experience relentless criticism for sharing a kiss on the lips with their children.
One of the largest-scale instances of backlash for a celebrity kissing their child was when Tom Brady shared a kiss with his 10-year-old son Jack during a docu-series about his life as an NFL player during the off-season. Many called the moment of love “disturbing,” whereas others defended the retired quarterback’s affectionate parenting style.
Brady also publically kissed his own parents on the lips — both his mom and dad — during game days. When he shared a celebratory kiss with his dad after winning the Super Bowl in 2017, the public lost its mind. Because the NFL is so deeply entrenched in the patriarchal identity of America, many machismo fans took major issue with two grown men kissing — even though it was nothing more than an innocent father-son moment, and it’s clearly in the culture of the Brady family to express their love this way. We personally applaud Brady for using his massive platform and legendary reputation to dismantle the stigma around parents and children kissing on the lips, regardless of age.
But some people even take issue with parents kissing their newborn babies on the mouth. When Gabrielle Union-Wade and Dwyane Wade welcomed their daughter Kaavia via surrogate, the overjoyed couple showered the newborn with love — including kisses on her tiny lips.
When sharing these moments on Instagram, the actress and retired NBA player were met with the same divided response Brady received. The reaction seemed to be equal parts support and criticism: many were on the side of “It’s their baby and they can love her however they want,” while others shamed the Wades for potentially introducing Kaavia to harmful bacteria. The Bring It On icon shut down the conversation quickly, ensuring the busybodies — we mean overly-concerned individuals — that she was being conscious of sanitation protocols and didn’t go through the surrogacy journey just to put her child in harm’s way.
For a deeper look at the situations that unfolded with both Brady and the Wades, as well as other celebrity parents who unapologetically kiss their children on the lips and have been criticized for it, read on.
Mommy shamers are relentless when it comes to Coco Austin’s parenting choices, and they came for her for the umpteenth time when she shared a video kissing her 7-year-old daughter Chanel on the lips. One critic wrote, “The kissing is weirddddddd im sorry not sorry.”
Many of the model’s fans did come to her defense though, with one writing, “Showing love and affection with your children is so important for their mental health!! Wish their wasn’t such a stigma about showing affection in past generations! Love this! 🥰”
After sharing that she finds it perfectly acceptable to kiss her children on the lips, Jessica Alba expressed confusion as to why people are so bothered by the action. During a conversation with Redbook, the actress hilariously said, “It’s your baby. People allow dogs to lick at their mouths.”
Hilary Duff received backlash for kissing her son Luca on the lips during a trip to Disney, and the actress shared her thoughts on being shamed for the act of love. “First of all, he was 3,” she told InStyle, per People. Duff added, “Kiss your kids, and anyone who doesn’t like it can hit unfollow. … People just have all these crazy judgments, and I think it’s best to not listen and laugh it off.”
Dwyane Wade & Gabrielle Union-Wade
When Gabrielle Union-Wade shared a photo of her husband Dwyane Wade kissing their newborn daughter Kaavia on the mouth, keyboard warriors attacked the loving father. Some came for him from a health perspective, with one Instagram user lecturing, “I know it’s your baby but don’t kiss the baby on the mouth, you’ve had kids before you should know better.”
Others sexualized the innocent act of love, with another commenter writing, “Take your lips off of that child kids are so sensitive nowadays. The cheek and forehead is good.”
Even with some taking issue with the photo, most people left loving messages of support and well wishes. Many defended the actress and basketball player, with one commenting”People need to shut the F up…. They can kiss [their] baby on the lips all they want.”
After receiving similar shaming regarding a video of herself kissing Kaavia, Union-Wade responded to the haters. “I appreciate all the concern about kisses on the mouth and labored breathing, I am blessed enough to have a nurse here with us while at work,” she wrote. Referencing her surrogacy journey, the actress added, “If you think I waited this long and went thru all this to put my baby in harm’s way … you got another thing coming.”
Victoria & David Beckham
Coincidentally, David Beckham posted a photo of himself kissing his 7-year-old daughter Harper on the lips the same day that Dwyane Wade caused a stir on the internet by kissing newborn Kaavia. As you can probably imagine, people were even more enraged — and shockingly inappropriate — in their responses to the former pro soccer player.
Criticism ranged from “She’s your daughter…why are you kissing on her lips” to an especially unhinged “Parents and kids don’t make out!!” The photo was divisive, with many fans defending Beckham. One person validly pointed out, “If anyone sees anything other than a little girl who loves her dad in this picture it says more about the state of their mind than anything else.”
Victoria Beckham has also shared photos showing her kissing Harper on the lips, which have garnered similar responses. Writing similar words as the individual who defended the athlete, one fan came to the former Spice Girl’s defense in the comments section of a 2016 photo. “It really is shameful how we live in a world where a mother kissing her child is seen as anything other than love and affection,” they opined. Harper was 5 at the time.
During a 2017 Facebook Live, David unapologetically explained, “I’m very affectionate with the kids. It’s how I was brought up, and Victoria, and it’s how we are with our children.” He added, “We want to show our kids love and we protect them, look after them, and support them, and we’re very affectionate with them.”
In the documentary Tom vs. Time, one scene included Tom Brady sharing a kiss on the lips with his 10-year-old son Jack. The show of affection of course sent audiences over the edge, but a source close to the former football player came to his defense during an interview with People.
“They are just loving, super affectionate people,” the insider said of Brady and his ex-wife, Gisele Bündchen. They added, “It’s so sad that the kiss is ‘a thing’ because they are such good parents.”
Throughout his NFL career, Brady would kiss both his mom and dad on the lips on gamedays. Being part of the machismo that is America, a lot of people took issue with the former quarterback sharing PDA with his parents this way. Such is the case with every celebrity who comes under fire for sharing a kiss with their child/parent, many people defended Brady as well. In fact, even people who aren’t fans of the seven-time Super Bowl winner came to his defense.
On Twitter, one user wrote, “I don’t like #TomBrady. BUT. I’m almost 20 and have hugged and kissed and will continue to hug and kiss my parents hello, good morning, goodbye, goodnight, and whatever other random reason I have to show affection for as long as I can.” They added, “It’s okay for parents to love their kids.”
Kourtney Kardashian Barker
During an interview for Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s Rose Inc., Kourtney Kardashian said one thing she’ll never apologize for is kissing her kids on the lips. Earlier in the conversation, the Poosh founder explained why she tends to shrug off public criticism. “No matter what it is that I am doing, someone has something to say, good or bad,” she shared.
“The worst, though, is when people I don’t know give unsolicited parenting advice,” Kardashian added. “No one knows my kids better than me, I’ve got this, I’m good, thanks.”
When her son Otis was 3 years old, Olivia Wilde posted a photo of her kissing him on the mouth during bath time. People again made the innocent act of love out to be nefarious behavior, calling the actress “gross” and deeming the action “not normal.”
A great many people defended Wilde though, with one fan commenting, “Well done for showing your son love. If anyone thinks any different that’s their problem not yours.”
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