Sinéad O’Connor was one of the most critically-acclaimed popstars of the 90s. The 55-year-old Irish singer-songwriter made her musical debut in 1987 with her album The Lion And The Cobra, and she quickly rose to fame with her 1990 sophomore effort I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, which included a chart-topping cover ofPrince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” After a controversial appearance on Saturday Night Live, which included her ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II, Sinéad faced serious backlash. Despite the controversy, she’s continued to release music, with her most recent album being 2014’s I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss, and she’s anticipated to drop what she described as her final album No Veteran Dies Alone in 2022.
Throughout her life, Sinéad had been married four times and has had four children. The singer sadly shared that her third child Shane had died by suicide at age 17 in a January 17 tweet. “My beautiful son, Nevi’im Nesta Ali Shane O’Connor, the very light of my life, decided to end his earthly struggle today and is now with God,” she wrote. Find out everything about Sinéad and her children here.
Sinéad’s first marriage was to record producer John Reynolds who produced her debut album. The singer gave birth to her oldest son Jake Reynolds, 34, in June 1987. While Sinéad and John’s marriage didn’t work out, the pair have continued to collaborate on a number of albums since the 1991 divorce, including Sinéad’s 2014 record. Jake has a child of his own, making Sinéad a grandmother. She announced her son’s child’s birth in a 2015 Facebook post, per Independent.ie. “This for Lia and Jake and their little angel, who flew about with me in Vegas last week as I was singing the Foggy Dew,” she wrote.
While Jake has mostly stayed out of the spotlight, his mom made a few since-deleted public Facebook posts about him regarding a custody battle in May 2016, via NBC News. The mother and son appeared to have an occasionally tumultuous relationship. “Jake, kindly go to the court on Tuesday and take custody your brother from [Irish Child and Family Agency] Tusla,” she wrote. “Do not abandon your brother or any other of my babies again. What you have done to your brother and your mother is LITERALLY criminal.”
After Jake was born, Sinéad opened up about having an abortion in a 1991 interview with Spin. She admitted that the song “My Special Child” was about the experience. She admitted that even though she wanted a second child, the baby’s father seemed absent. “We were fighting. I was on tour, and I was feeling sick all the time. I didn’t know what to do, and he wasn’t really interested in the child. So I was left with the decision of whether or not to have the child, knowing that the father wasn’t going to be around,” she told Spin. “I decided that it was better not to and that I would have a child at a later stage when his father would be around and involved. I didn’t feel that I could handle it by myself.”
After her marriage to her first husband ended, Sinéad started seeing Irish journalist John Waters, and the pair had a daughter Roison, 25, in March 1995. Sinéad and John had a long custody battle over their daughter, which led to the singer attempting to commit suicide in 1999, according to Biography.
After a brief marriage to writer Nick Sommerlad from 2001 to 2004, Sinéad had her third child Shane with Irish folk singer Donal Lunny. Shane was found dead at age 17 two days after he had gone missing on January 6, 2022, via The Guardian. The singer mourned her son’s death in a series of now-deleted tweets. After an alarming thread where she seemed to imply that she planned to take her own life, Sinéad wrote in a since-deleted that she was being taken to a hospital for care following Shane’s death.
After the alarming tweets, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” singer apologized to fans for the shocking tweets, and she continued to mourn her son’s death. “I’m very upset. My son was the love of my life. I am sorry I’ve upset tusla and just about every other human being on earth also. I am ruined without my son. I am sorry I’ve upset anyone,” she wrote.
Sinéad had her youngest son Yeshua, 15, with Frank Bonadio in 2006. Not much is known about her youngest child, but the singer is clearly a doting mother. She posted a photo of the boy congratulating him for coming in first place for a Halloween cake-decorating competition in October 2019, per Mirror.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.