Joni Mitchell, 80, is best known for amazing albums like Blue and epic songs like “River” and “Big Yellow Taxi,” but she is also the biological mother of a daughter, Kilauren Gibb, whom she put up for adoption in the 1960s. The singer is set to perform at the 2024 Grammy Awards for the first time ever on Sunday, February 4, after taking a long time off due to health issues. She suffered from an aneurysm back in 2015 and has continued to recover.
The talented songwriter publicly performed for the first time since her aneurysm at the Newport Folk Festival in July 2022, impressing and inspiring her many fans. Now that she’s set to take the stage again in less than a week, all eyes are on Joni and her life. Find out more about her only child and their history below!
Joni Was Not With Kilauren’s Father During Her Pregnancy
Joni, who was born with the name Roberta Joan Anderson, dated Kilauren’s biological father, Brad MacMath, and got pregnant at the age of 21. Brad reportedly didn’t want to be a father at the time, and moved away to California during her pregnancy. Joni welcomed a daughter she named Kelly Dale Anderson in 1965 but by the time she was six months old, she decided to put her up for adoption.
Joni Put Kilauren up for Adoption Shortly After Her Birth
When Kilauren was six months old, Joni decided to put her up for adoption because she felt she couldn’t handle motherhood and couldn’t provide her what she needed at the time. The baby girl was adopted by David and Ida Gibbs and they went on to change her name.
Kilauren Didn’t Know She Was Adopted Until She Was 27
Kilauren didn’t find out about her own adoption until around 1992, when her parents told her, according to the UK Disability History Month. She was reportedly pregnant with a child at the time. A former roommate of Joni’s also reportedly spilled the secret of her pregnancy and adoption to a tabloid magazine around the same time. The news put Kilauren in a quick spotlight and she was approached by numerous outlets for interviews to tell her side of the story.
Joni & Kilauren Met in 1997
Joni and Kilauren spent time together for the first time in 1997, and it went well. Jazz musician Herbie Hancock recalled the moment he saw Joni with her daughter during the memorable visit, in a documentary special that’s been reposted here, and admitted the “California” crooner was “overjoyed.” Joni confessed she was afraid that Kilauren may not like her when they met, but things fell into place. Kilauren also said they gave each other hugs when they first saw each other and felt like she had “gone away on a trip for a couple months” and was now “coming home,” in an interview in the special.
They both went on to say it felt “healing” to spend time together and Joni also met with Kilauren’s children, Marlin and Daisy Claire Gibbs, (her biological grandchildren,) as well. The two seemed to keep in touch and Joni helped celebrate Kilauren’s 50th birthday with her in 2015.
Joni’s Song ‘Little Green’ is About Kilauren
Joni wrote “Little Green” in 1966, shortly after Kilauren was adopted. The lyrics describe the moment she gave birth to her daughter and how her father, Brad, had moved to California. She also sings about the moment she signed the adoption papers. “I was dirt poor. An unhappy mother does not raise a happy child. It was difficult parting with the child, but I had to let her go,” Joni said about the situation, in a 1998 interview.