In 2014, Sofia Vergara's ex sued her for their frozen embryos. Then he wrote an article about it.

Sofia Vergara's seven-year marriage to Joe Manganiello ended last year, after the pair saw different paths forward for their family.

"My marriage broke up because my husband was younger," Vergara told Spanish newspaper El País this month. "He wanted to have kids, and I didn't want to be an old mum. I feel it's not fair to the baby. I respect whoever does it, but that's not for me anymore."

Vergara is 51, while Manganiello is four years younger at 47.

This reasoning is not completely surprising. When the couple's divorce was reported in July 2023, reports soon emerged that hinted at this being the reason. A source told Page Six that Manganiello 'always wanted to be a dad and those feelings have only intensified in recent years'.

Vergara became a mother to son Manolo Gonzalez Vergara 32 years ago, at the age of 19, and this shaped her current perspective.

"I'm almost in menopause; it's the natural way of things. When my son becomes a dad, let him bring the baby to me for a while, and then I'll give it back to him and go on with my life; that's what I have to do," she told El País.

Joe Manganiello and Sofia Vergara in 2019. Image: Getty. 


It's a firm, definitive and completely understandable stance — though everyone should be able to make their own decisions about their lives and bodies, regardless of whether anyone else understands.

But with Vergara, it feels particularly poignant to hear her speak so openly, without ambiguity, about her position towards motherhood. Because for years, discussions of her feelings towards parenthood happened openly and antagonistically — in court, on social media, and in newspapers — against her will.

In 2011, Vergara began dating New York socialite Nick Loeb, heir to the Loeb and Lehman banking dynasties. 


Two years into their relationship, they fertilised and froze two embryos together, but they parted ways in 2014 having never used them. Soon after, Loeb sued her for custody of the embryos, which were stored in cryopreservation in a Californian medical clinic.

He sought to have the embryos implanted into a surrogate, and to raise them as a solo parent, despite Vergara's desire to leave them frozen. In an op-ed on the issue in The New York Times, Loeb argued that was "tantamount to killing them".

Loeb eventually withdrew his Californian lawsuit in December 2016. He attributed the decision to his refusal to identify two ex girlfriends who had undergone abortions — a step the court deemed necessary to establish his pro-life position.

But Loeb did not give up, with the legal battle continuing for five more years.

Almost immediately, a second suit used a quirk in the Louisiana legal system that deems embryos to be "juridical persons", giving embryos the right to sue or be sued, to claim that by not being born they were being denied inheritance set aside for them in a trust fund established by Loeb.

This suit was dismissed in August 2017 when the judge reportedly found the court had no jurisdiction over the case as the embryos were "citizens" of California and neither Loeb nor Vergara had permanent ties to Louisiana, TMZ reported.


Vergara then filed documents hoping to block Loeb from being able to use the embryos without her written consent.

In 2021, a judge ruled in her favour. Loeb objected to the ruling, but a judge rejected his final attempts to beat the lawsuit.

While Loeb regularly spoke about his position, including in his Times op-ed, Vergara rarely engaged publicly.

"I really want to make this, like, the last time I talk about it because I don't think it’s fair," Vergara told ABC News in an interview in 2015.

"I've been working very hard for 20 years to get to this point where I am... I promote all my movies, all my work, but I don't like promoting my private life and I don't understand why this person — I don't want to allow this person to take more advantage of my career and try to promote himself and get press for this.

"This shouldn't be out there for people to give their opinion when there's nothing to talk about."

Sofia Vergara's fertility and position on motherhood have been cultural conversations for more than a decade. In her interview with El País, Vergara's conclusion hoped to draw an end to that.

If her next romantic partner wants children, "he has to come with children", she said.

Feature image: Getty.

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