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Five children and five miscarriages: Inside James Van Der Beek's family life.

This article was originally published on October 9, 2019. It was updated in November 2019 and June, 2020.

Content warning: This post discusses miscarriage, and may be triggering to some readers.

James Van Der Beek and his wife Kimberly Brook have suffered another heartbreaking miscarriage, just months after very publicly living with the loss of another baby while the actor appeared on the popular American reality show Dancing With The Stars.

“After suffering a brutal, very public miscarriage last November, we were overjoyed to learn we were pregnant. This time, we kept the news to ourselves. But last weekend, once again, 17 weeks in… the soul we’d been excited to welcome into the world had lessons for our family that did not include joining us in a living physical body,” the Dawson’s Creek actor wrote on Instagram yesterday.

“To all the families who have gone through this… you are not alone,” he added alongside a photo of his wife and daughter.

 

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After suffering a brutal, very public miscarriage last November, we were overjoyed to learn we were pregnant. This time, we kept the news to ourselves. But last weekend, once again, 17 weeks in… the soul we’d been excited to welcome into the world had lessons for our family that did not include joining us in a living physical body. • We rushed @vanderkimberly to the hospital by ambulance for another harrowing night of blood transfusions. And as I stood by, grateful for the good people who navigated the maze of regulations to save her life – but helpless to do much for the woman I loved other than massage her feet and try to keep her warm (with my #DWTS robe, ironically) – something kept running through my head, again and again, which I now feel compelled to share: • We’ve got to take better care of each other. • The world is in pain right now. There’s denial, shock, numbness, anger – all the old patterns we cling to when deep trauma is unearthed. And there are no words to ease that pain… to make the process hurt less or to solve it quickly. But the way out of it? Starts with an open, broken-hearted contemplation of this question: • How can we take better care of each other? • And to all the families who have gone through this… you are not alone. ????

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America celebrated Father’s Day over the weekend, which Van Der Beek also wrote about on his page:

“To all the fathers out there, to the would-be fathers, the expectant fathers and the fathers who have lost… Happy Father’s Day. Here’s to jumping in, learning on the job, and evolving as best you can, no matter what life might throw at you. May we all find a little bit of kindness for ourselves today, so we can share it with others.”

 

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In November last year, just one month after the couple announced that they were expecting their sixth child, they suffered a miscarriage while Van Der Beek was appearing on Dancing With The Stars.

They’d excitedly allowed the reality TV cameras to film their ultrasound appointment, only to have to make a public announcement about their loss.

“My wife Kimberly and I went through every expecting parent’s worst nightmare. We lost the baby,” said Van Der Beek in a video package on the show.

 

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Wrecked. Devastated. In shock. That’s how we’re feeling right now after the soul we thought were going to welcome into our family in April… has taken a short cut to whatever lies beyond this life. We’ve been through this before, but never this late in the pregnancy, and never accompanied by such a scary, horrific threat to @vanderkimberly and her well-being. Grateful that she’s now recovering, but we’ve only just begun unpacking the layers of this one. Thank you to all of our friends and co-workers (and dance partners) who have shown up for us so beautifully during this time. As many of you have said, “There are no words…” and it’s true. Which is why in a time like this it’s enough to know that you’re there. Grieving AND counting our blessings today.

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“The little soul that we had expected to welcome into family took a shortcut to whatever lies beyond,” he continued.

“You never know why these things happen, that’s what I’ve been telling my kids. All you know is that it brings you closer together, it breaks you open, it opens up your heart, it deepens your appreciation.”

Van Der Beek also shared a post to Instagram, adding that they would’ve welcomed their new addition in April.

“We’ve been through this before, but never this late in the pregnancy, and never accompanied by such a scary, horrific threat to Kimberly and her wellbeing,” he wrote on Instagram.

Following Van Der Beek’s heartbreaking news, we took a look back at his family – and the additions they’ve welcomed over the years.

James Van Der Beek’s marriage.

After his breakout role in Dawson’s Creek in the late ’90s, James Van Der Beek went on to marry actress Heather McComb, who played Scout in TV series The Outsiders.

Need a hit of 90s nostalgia? Mamamia Reviews revisits the best bits from your favourite teen drama, Dawson’s Creek. Post continues after podcast.

The pair were married on July 5, 2003, but the couple separated after six years together, citing irreconcilable differences in April, 2009.

Just months later, Van Der Beek met business consult and producer Kimberly Brook in Israel.

After finalising his divorce from McComb in March 2010, Van Der Beek and Brook announced that they were expecting their first child, before they married in an intimate ceremony at the Kabbalah Center in Tel Aviv, Israel in August 2010.

“Best day of my life so far,” Van Der Beek tweeted following the wedding. “The woman I love did me the honour of [becoming] my wife today, I look forward to earning her for the rest of my life.”

 

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In 2019, Van Der Beek shared an insight into his nine-year marriage in a lengthy post shared to Instagram.

“Sometimes we fight. Sometimes we bicker. We go to bed angry, usually over stupid stuff that doesn’t really matter but somehow does at the moment,” the 43-year-old wrote.

“But the one thing that seems pretty clear so far is that relationships are not so much about who you are – or who you were when you met – but how you evolve,” he continued.

“It’s important to afford your partner room to change. To not define them by their past actions, or tendencies, or even current limitations, because that puts them in a box which may not allow space for a better, more fully realized version of themselves to take root.

“But pairing up with another flawed human (myself excluded, obviously – I’m perfect) means, in no small way, to transcend science. To love, care, and evolve beyond logic. And to allow your partner to do the same.”

 

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The couple’s five children.

Since their wedding day in 2010, James Van Der Beek and his wife Kimberly have welcomed five children together.

They have four daughters and one son – nine-year-old Olivia, eight-year-old Joshua, six-year-old Annabel Leah, four-year-old Emilia and Gwendolyn, two.

 

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Speaking to People in 2017, Van Der Beek opened up about being a father.

“The second I had kids, they immediately became my priority and everything I did existed to support the life that was all about them in a good way,” he told the publication.

While appearing on Dancing with the Stars, the actor was regularly spotted leaving dance rehearsals with his children in tow.

 

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The couple have dealt with five miscarriages in nine years.

Over the course of their nine-year relationship, Van Der Beek and Brook have suffered the heartbreak of miscarriage five times now.

Speaking to People after they announced their pregnancy in October on Dancing With The Stars, Van Der Beek referenced his wife’s previous three miscarriages.

“We’ve had a few appointments where we found out we were not adding to our family and so Kimberly decided to do it on camera, to open it up and allow people to go through the experience – good result or not good result,” he explained.

“You just have to let yourself go through it and go through the journey and be there for each other,” he added, sharing how he has dealt with miscarriage in the past.

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“Know that you can’t judge the pain, you can’t judge the process. For us, thankfully, we also have three rainbow babies. It’s life.”

 

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Van Der Beek also spoke about how he has shared the miscarriage news with his children in the past.

“I think they saw how we were feeling. Our approach is to be as honest as possible. Don’t try to sugar coat anything. They get the light and the dark. You tend to think, ‘They’re too young to understand.’ But they do,” he said.

Posting to Instagram on Tuesday, the actor shared that he decided to share his family’s story “in an effort to chip away at any senseless stigma around this experience and to encourage people who might be going through it to open themselves up to love and support from friends and family when they need it most.”

If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24 hour support line on 1300 072 637. 

You can download Never Forgotten: Stories of love, loss and healing after miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death for free here.

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