Shemar Moore is an American through and through, but his upbringing received a generous dose of international attention. The actor was raised by a single mother whose work as a math teacher took her across the pond when she was a baby, he told The Boston Globe in 2007. By the time he was six, he had experienced very different lifestyles in Denmark. Bahrain and Ghana, he told BET 2013.
After his return to the US, he continued to move around. He and his mother initially settled in Boston for a year before moving to California, where Moore was born, according to The Boston Globe. Although we know and love Moore for his work on The Young and the Restless, Criminal Minds and SWAT, he was originally on the path to becoming a baseball player. After graduating from Palo Alto, Moore secured a baseball scholarship to Santa Clara University, where he majored in communications. However, an injury dampened his sporting ambitions.
He started modeling for magazines to make money — and eventually caught the attention of producers at CBS, a 2001 Ebony profile noted. This is how the baseball player turned print model found his unknown calling. “I could describe my career in two words: who would have thought it,” he told BET. But the path from boy with life experience in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to promising young actor in California was anything but straight. Along the way, Moore experienced bullying over a certain aspect of his physical appearance.
Shemar Moore was teased for being mixed race
According to Ebony, Shemar Moore is the product of a white mother with Irish and French-Canadian roots and a black father. Living abroad during his formative years protected Moore from the stigma of being biracial in America, especially in the ’70s when he was growing up. “Civil rights were a big deal and Martin Luther King had just been assassinated in 1968. There was a lot of rioting,” he told Ability Magazine in 2009.
That was one of the main reasons Moore’s mother moved her abroad. “My mother didn’t want to raise me in a racist environment any more than she had to. It was tough… So she could give us an opportunity and she could get me out of this kind of race riot. he explained. But when they returned in 1977, the situation wasn’t much different than when they left in 1970. “When my mom moved back in with us, it was a very difficult transition.*” he told BET.
Children especially teased him for being raised by the white side of his family. “‘How come your mother is white, how can you be cousins of so and so?'” Moore recalled as kids said. The bullying turned vicious. “That’s how I learned I was good at baseball because the kids would chase me after school, so I started picking up rocks and throwing them to fight back.”
Shemar Moore is grateful for his mother’s efforts
Shemar Moore appreciates all the sacrifices his mother, Marilyn Wilson, made to protect him. “Nevertheless, I am grateful for this time of my life. I’m grateful for the travel and all of that because I think it all instilled values and a sense of big thinking,” he told Ability Magazine. And this shared adventure around the world seems to have forged a deep bond between mother and son.
On Instagram, Moore often expresses his love for his mother, who passed away in February 2020. …and I would say back to her… ‘Naw Ma I cut the line to get to YOU!!!!'” he captioned a September 2021 post to mark her 78th birthday. Wilson suffered from heart disease and multiple sclerosis, according to Essence. “I miss her more than I ever thought possible and I don’t know how to live this life without her but I get my STRENGTH from her and because of HER I will be ok,” he wrote on Instagram .
Moore has never been afraid to show off his close bond with his mother. In fact, he believes this is one of the reasons why he is considered attractive to women. “I think it’s because I love my mom,” he told Ebony in 2001. “Honestly, that’s the truth… that’s the best I’ve got.”