celebrity

Two adopted kids and an unexpected pregnancy: Inside Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley’s family life.

As the mother of a black daughter, Katherine Heigl is feeling anguish over the death of George Floyd. The actress, who is married to musician Josh Kelley, has posted on Instagram that she’s finding it hard to sleep.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Page 1. I’ve debated posting this. I don’t typically use my platform or social media to say much when it comes to the state of our country. I keep most of those thoughts to myself. I act quietly and behind the scenes. I let those with far more experience, education and eloquence be the voices for change. But I can’t sleep. And when I do I wake with a single thought in my head. How will I tell Adalaide? How will I explain the unexplainable? How can I protect her? How can I break a piece of her beautiful divine spirit to do so? I can’t sleep. I lay in my bed in the dark and weep for every mother of a beautiful divine black child who has to extinguish a piece of their beloved baby’s spirit to try to keep them alive in a country that has too many sleeping soundly. Eyes squeezed shut. Images and cries and pleas and pain banished from their minds. White bubbles strong and intact. But I lay awake. Finally. Painfully. My white bubble though always with me now begins to bleed. Because I have a black daughter. Because I have a Korean daughter. Because I have a Korean sister and nephews and niece. It has taken me far too long to truly internalize the reality of the abhorrent, evil despicable truth of racism. My whiteness kept it from me. My upbringing of inclusivity, love and compassion seemed normal. I thought the majority felt like I did. I couldn’t imagine a brain that saw the color of someone’s skin as anything but that. Just a color. I was naive. I was childish. I was blind to those who treated my own sister differently because of the shape of her beautiful almond eyes. Or her thick gorgeous hair. Or her golden skin. I was a child. For too long. And now I weep. Because what should have changed by now, by then, forever ago still is. Hopelessness is seeping in. Fear that there is nothing I can do, like a slow moving poison, is spreading through me. Then I look at my daughters. My sister. My nephews and niece. George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. The hundreds, thousands millions more we haven’t even heard about. I look and the fear turns to something else. The sorrow warms and then bursts into flames of rage.

A post shared by Katherine Heigl (@katherineheigl) on


“And when I do I wake with a single thought in my head,” she wrote. “How will I tell Adalaide? How will I explain the unexplainable? How can I protect her? How can I break a piece of her beautiful divine spirit to do so?”

Heigl and Kelley are parents to two adopted children, Naleigh and Adalaide, and one biological one, Joshua Jr. Heigl grew up with an adopted sister, Meg, who was born in Korea, and adoption was something she always planned on doing.

“Josh and I started talking about it before we were even engaged,” she told Scholastic. “I wanted my own family to resemble the one I came from, so I always knew I wanted to adopt from Korea.”

Heigl and Kelley became parents to Naleigh in September 2009. Heigl remembers receiving the call about the baby girl, who was born the day before her own birthday in November. She was told the baby had a heart condition.

“The beauty is that Josh’s father is a heart surgeon, and we were able to call him immediately and tell him about the condition,” she remembers.

She says she and Kelley knew they would adopt the little girl, no matter what. Fortunately, it turned out that her condition was able to be corrected, and her heart is now “perfectly healthy”.

As a new mum, Heigl faced some struggles dating back to the loss of her older brother Jason. Jason died at the age of 16 from injuries he received after being thrown from a pickup truck while out with friends. Heigl was just eight at the time.

“When I first became a mother, the idea of loving my children the way I did terrified me, because it could all be taken away,” she told Today Parents.

ADVERTISEMENT

Listen to Mamamia’s daily entertainment podcast, The Spill. Post continues below. 

But her mother, Nancy, helped her through it by talking about how she got through Jason’s death.

“I’ve come to understand that you can survive it, and it doesn’t negate the worthwhile love.”

Heigl and Kelley were planning to adopt a second child from Korea. They began the process, but found that adoptions from Korea had become more difficult. So they looked into adopting a child from within the US. To their surprise, they received some good news very quickly

“My lawyer called and said, ‘There’s a birth mother and she’s due in four weeks. She’s all yours if you want her!’” Heigl told Jay Leno.

She says Kelley had been expecting to wait a couple of years, and was expecting a nine-or 10-month-old.

“He looked at me and said, ‘You’re telling me in a month we’re going to have a newborn?’”

Adalaide became part of the family in April 2012. Four years later, Heigl fell pregnant, unexpectedly.

“I’ve never been determined to experience pregnancy,” she told People. “I think that if it hadn’t been a surprise, I’m not sure I would have done it.”

In December 2016, Heigl gave birth to baby Joshua Jr – by caesarean, due to him being in breech position. She was honest about the ups and downs that followed the birth.

“One minute you’re weirdly obsessed with this baby, like, ‘Don’t take him out of my sight,’ and the next you’re kind of blue, you’re a little sad and a little freaked out. I actually prefer the adoption way because I wasn’t subject to hormones.”

By the time Joshua Jr came along, Heigl and Kelley were already looking after one more child. Heigl’s sister Meg’s teenage daughter Madison, a keen horserider, had moved in with them at their ranch in Utah.

“We’re just part of the village that’s helping raise her,” Heigl told People. “She’s such a good example for my girls. She’s passionate and committed to what she loves.”

In the same interview in 2017, Heigl described Naleigh as “very, very smart, very compassionate, very big-hearted”, while she said Adalaide had “so much just inherent self-esteem”.

“When you’re raising girls, you want them to be confident and you want them to love who they are. With Adalaide, I’m not gonna have any problems with that.”

But in her latest Instagram post, Heigl admits to “weeping” over her concerns for Adalaide. She says when she was young, she was blind to those who treated her sister Meg differently because of her appearance. Now, with the death of George Floyd after his arrest in Minneapolis, her “white bubble” is finally beginning to bleed.

“Because I have a black daughter. Because I have a Korean daughter. Because I have a Korean sister and nephews and niece,” she explains. “It has taken me far too long to truly internalise the reality of the abhorrent, evil despicable truth of racism.”

00:00 / ???