What do Aretha Franklin, Sofia Vergara and Justin Bieber's mother have in common? The answer might surprise you.

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Georgia Hageman's heartfelt open letter about her teen pregnancy struck a chord with many Herald readers and resulted in an outpouring of support. Here are 10 famous women who were teenage mothers and proved motherhood in your teens can be far from the end of the world.

1. Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin. Photo / AP Aretha Franklin got pregnant with her first son when she was 13-years-old and had her second son when she was 15-years-old. She went on to have two more sons in adulthood. She has also won 18 Grammys.

2. Sofia Vergara

Growing up in Barranquilla, Colombia, Sofia Vergara started modeling as a young girl when she was discovered by a photographer. At the age of 18, she married Joe Gonzalez and gave birth to her son, Manolo, the same year. The couple split up the following year, but Vergara's career continued to rise - first on television in Colombia and then internationally where she is best known for her role on Modern Family.

3. Suzanne Somers

Suzanne gave birth to her son, Bruce, when she was 19-years-old. Somers is now best known for her television roles as Chrissy Snow on Three's Company and as Carol Lambert on Step by Step.

4. Shashicka Tyre-Hill

Shashicka Tyre-Hill dropped out of high school when she became pregnant at the age of 15. Her entrepreneurial streak emerged after her grandmother died and she became more involved in the world of home care. Her business, Miracle Home Care, was started with $700 from her tax return to offer 24-hour assistance to patients. The business now has a market value of $7 million. Tyre-Hill also works as a motivational speaker, inspiring others to pursue their dreams.

5. Pattie Mallette

Singer Justin Bieber, right, with his mother Pattie Mallette. Photo / AP Pattie Mallette was 17-years-old when she gave birth to her son Justin. She raised him as a single mother in Stratford, Ontario. Mallette raised her son in low-income housing on government assistance, and soon discovered his musical talent. Before long, he became known worldwide. Yes, that's Justin Bieber.

6. Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou. Photo / AP One of the world's most celebrated poets, Maya Angelou's tough upbringing inspired her to create timeless works such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. At 17, she became pregnant and gave birth a boy three weeks after she graduated high school. Angelou passed away at the end of May this year, aged 86.

7. Fantasia Barrino

One of the most memorable contestants on American Idol became a mother before she was famous. Fantasia Barrino grew up rough, dropping out of high school after being assaulted by a classmate. At the age of 16 she gave birth to Zion Quarri Barrino. When he was three, Barrino won the third season of Idol.

8. Solange Knowles

Solange Knowles. Photo / AP Before her hit song 'Losing You' came out (and long before the video leaked of her hitting her sister's husband, Jay Z, in an elevator), Beyonce's sister - Solange Knowles - was married at 17 and soon had a son. She called him the best unplanned blessing.

9. Niki Taylor

Supermodel Niki Taylor married her arena football linebacker boyfriend right after high school and gave birth to twin boys when she was 19-years-old. Just two years later the couple split, but Taylor went on to become a world famous model, spokeswoman, and activist.

10. Natalia Vodianova

Natalia Vodianova was born to a poverty-stricken Russian family. She lived with her single mum and worked at a fruit stand to support the family. At 15, she enlisted with a modeling agency and rapidly rose to fame. She moved to Paris at 17 and sent money back home to help her mother and siblings. At 19, Vodianova found out she was expecting a child with British heir Justin Portman, and the pair married eight months later. She's regularly appeared in lists of the world's top-earning models, bringing home around $5 million per year. Next story - Georgia Hageman: My life as a pregnant teenager - nzherald.co.nz